Sunday, June 30, 2013

Photo of the Day

Sirens are beckoning the crew of Ulysses' ship from THE ODYSSEY (1911)

This is a 45 minute silent film of Homer legendary's story. The copy that's easily available only has inter-title cards which are in anything but English. I'd love to have English subtitles of the cards. This scene is cool. A relic for sure but interesting nonetheless. 

Cleopatra: Scientist, Not Seductress?

Medieval Arabic texts suggest that Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII was a brilliant early mathematician, chemist and philosopher who wrote science books and met weekly with a team of scientific experts, according to a forthcoming book. If historians can verify the medieval accounts, then the real Cleopatra likely bore little resemblance to the sexy seductress described by Greek and Roman scholars.

The book, "Egyptology: The Missing Millennium, Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings," will be published in January by the University College London Press. For the book, author Okasha El Daly, an Egyptologist at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College London, found previously undiscovered medieval Arabic texts, translated them, and analyzed the texts based on his knowledge of early Egyptian history.

Technical goof

In 7 SLAVES AGAINST ROME, one of the moments which started the slaves revolt in the story was with the scene in the screenshot above. A slave falls to his death, which upsets everyone and they overturn the oppressive Roman forces. Well, the scene in the top screenshot was originally in PONTUS PILATE and re-used in 7 SLAVES. And as you can clearly see the man is shirtless. But for the following in 7 SLAVES AGAINST ROME, below, the man is wearing a full tunic. As the man falls you can see he's not wearing many clothes so when you see the following shot with him fully clothed well it stands out for all the wrong reasons. This is a peculiar goof as the scene was already done and the film crew for 7 SLAVES knew the man was not wearing a tunic so why the change?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Photo of the Day

Richard Roundtree shows new gladiator Cecil Humphreys which gladiator to practice with in A.D. ANNO DOMINI

A sprawling mini-series from the 1980s with a big cast including Ava Gardner and James Mason, just to name a few. I remember the ads for this back then but never watched it. Someone uploaded the series on Youtube but the audio is out of sync. I'll fix it and play it on PEPLUM TV one day.

Raffaella Carrà, pop star

Last March, Raffaella Carrà was PEPLUM Babe of the Month, for her brief but still notable career as an actress in the PEPLUM genre. Most of her roles were demure nice girls so I always get a kick out of watching her as the famous over-the-top pop star she later became known as. What a contrast!

Good beat!


Lancelot & Guinevere - Through the years

The story of King Arthur is famous the world over and the doomed love story within that legend, between Lancelot and Guinevere, has often been portrayed at the movies. I could have easily made a post about the love triangle between King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot but decided only on the two latter. Which one is the best in your mind?

Robert Taylor & Ava Gardner in KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

Cornel Wilde and Jean Wallace in SWORD OF LANCELOT (aka Lancelot & Guinevere)

Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero in CAMELOT

Nicholas Clay and Cherie Lunghi in EXCALIBUR

Richard Gere and Julia Ormond in FIRST KNIGHT

Ioan Gruffudd and Keira Knightley in KING ARTHUR

Friday, June 28, 2013

Photo of the Day

Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan in BIRD OF PARADISE

It's interesting that these South Seas adventures are almost always about European men shaking up with beautiful native babes, rarely the other way around. The two make a handsome couple. The film also stars Jeff Chandler. 

Lobby Cards set: THE MINOTAUR

U.S. Lobby cards set for THE MINOTAUR. Excellent set with a couple of repetitive cards: #1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 make the film look like it takes place in the same dungeon. Card #3 is a scene that's not on any copy I have. But even with these liabilities it's still pretty good and I would want me to check it out. Remarkably there's a card with the actual Minotaur, which must fetch more money than the other cards.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Photo of the Day

Queen Moluya (Helga Liné) stands in defiance behind a row of spears thrown towards her by the ten gladiators in TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS

This scene is great. Brilliantly directed by Nick Nostro. It didn't make it in the top 30 Greatest Moments of PEPLUM Cinema but it's cool nonetheless.

PEPLUM imagery in non-PEPLUM films

The 1980s teen comedy MY SCIENCE PROJECT has brief scenes with a Cleopatra-like queen on a Roman litter and an angry gladiator who attacks the teen heroes. The science project, obviously, has to do with some time traveling distortion thingamajig. Both the Queen and the gladiator are not credited.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photo of the Day

Jessica Lange is about to get drenched in KING KONG (1976)

The 1970s version of KING KONG was the most hyped film in history. Bar none. I was young enough back then to remember the massive publicity campaign which lasted forever even though I never saw the film in 1976. Nothing today compares to the level of hype this film had. Many were disappointed by the final result, that it hardly lived up to the hype (of a working 40 foot tall mechanical Kong, etc...) but this scene, and ONLY this scene, lives up to the hype. It's quite magical actually. You can view it on Youtube here.

KING KONG is a real mishmash of genres: it's part South Seas adventure, Jungle adventure, Lost Civilization adventure, Monster adventure, Monster-on-the-loose, Fantasy, Gigantism, Beauty & the Beast, a bit of Sci-Fi and Macrophilia (Google it). It does fall under the PEPLUM umbrella mainly due to the first hour of the story with the South Seas adventure, Lost Civilization and GULLIVER'S TRAVELS aspects, such as sacrificial offerings, dancing and ritualistic ceremonies with people in skimpy costumes, small humans vs gigantic ape, etc. Once the story moves to New York city it's pretty much not a PEPLUM anymore.

The film was produced by Dino de Laurentiis, who produced many PEPLUM classics, and the special effects of the mechanical arm and such were designed by veteran effects maestro Carlo Rambaldi, who also designed the Medusa from PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE, posted here

HERCULES TV series trading cards

Ah yes...the gold old days of trading cards. Do they still make these for kids today? I always like collecting them back in the day but always felt gypped by those hard-to-get cards and eventually stopped buying them. I've never been a fan of the HERCULES TV series starring Kevin Sorbo, whom I always thought was miscast in the role, and I wouldn't have bothered purchasing any of these in the 90s but I still feel nostalgic whenever I see any trading cards.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Photo of the Day

A High Priest (Nerio Bernardi) is about to sacrifice the beautiful Manto (Alessandra Panaro) to the goddess Demeter for some much needed rain in THE BACCHANTES

One of my favorite PEPLUM films of all time. This film needs to be seen on a big screen as the direction by Giorgio Ferroni is subtle and one can appreciate the details and the beautiful camerawork throughout the film, including this beautifully composed shot, only when viewing it from a proper big transfer. This scene was also used in HERCULES VS MOLOCH, which I also like.

First pictures from new HERCULES film

Dwayne  'The Rock' Johnson is starring in a new Hercules film directed by Brett Ratner called HERCULES: THE THRACIAN WARS.  It's set to be released in the summer of 2014. Dwayne shared some photos on his twitter account: in the top photo he shows his shoulder and longer hair for the fHercules character. And in the bottom photo are some props from the film. The Daily Mail has additional photos and details about his crazy diet: he eats seven meals a day in order to stay in this kind of shape

Monday, June 24, 2013

Photo of the Day

Gordon Mitchell as The Robber in FELLINI'S SATYRICON

He's one of the few stars from the PEPLUM explosion who had a role in this epic PEPLUM film by Fellini. I don't know what to make of his role though. It's also interesting that two of the genre's masterpieces, SATYRICON and the mini-series ODISSEA where made when the PEPLUM genre was just about dead. Those two productions, as good as they were, didn't spawn a new long lasting trend of epic films. 

Movie Poster Mondays

British quad for CLEOPATRA

This poster is entirely different than the US one. I like the SEE! SEE! SEE! You never see one of these type of posters anymore today.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Photo of the Day

Athletes, including real kickboxer Jérôme Le Banner (centre), getting ready for the Olympics in ASTERIX AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

This film was a success at the box office but critics (and eventually, audiences) destroyed it. Production wise the film is excellent (it cost 78 million Euros) but the humour was, to the majority of the French audience, lacking, saying that ASTERIX MISSION CLEOPATRA was much better. They also said the film should have been called BRUTUS & THE OLYMPIC GAMES as the Brutus character had more screen time than anyone else, including Asterix who doesn't do much in this. The controversy of this artistic failure of this film is sorta fascinating and a bit perplexing. Personally, the Asterix films have always been too broad and watching real actors play comic book characters such as Obelix are always difficult to take (see also POPEYE starring Robin Williams for a horrific example). Personally I prefer this film (which is not saying much) because it's simply more visual and also because Alain Delon plays Caesar which was brilliant casting. I probably chuckled three or four times. The producers hired real athletes willing to appear in cameos, such as Michael Schumacher. David Beckham was scheduled to appear in a cameo but didn't make it in the final cut.

Same statue, different films

SALAMMBO was made first so COLOSSUS & THE AMAZON QUEEN borrowed it from the previous production. In COLOSSUS the statue is used during the over-the-top dance sequence I recently posted: Dance number.

SFWA cover brouhaha

This cover on the 200th issue of the Science-Fiction Writers of America made a big fracas recently when subscribers, mainly female, complained about the overt sexism of the cover and some of the writers of the magazine. The number of complaints was unprecedented and unexpected. As a note, the cover itself has nothing to do with any of the articles within that issue. In other words, it's totally gratuitous.

I don't subscribe to the SFWA magazine and I'm not a member so I can't say exactly what's going on or wrong with the whole sexism debate even if the cover does seem a tab outdated with its 80s Heavy Metal aspects BUT I just hope that anyone who made the complaints don't find this blog, PEPLUM X or the PEPLUM genre as a whole.

The Guardian

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Photo of the Day

Marina Berti as Areta in THE ODYSSEY (1968) mini-series (Odissea) 

Marina was in QUO VADIS (1951) and she was one of the main charaters in it and then had a supporting role in THE QUEEN OF SHEBA and that was pretty much it. She appeared briefly in BEN-HUR, a role without any lines, which was disappointing. And 17 years after QUO VADIS she starred in THE ODYSSEY mini-series looking stunning and all, as if she hasn't aged a day since QV. What an odd career. Why she never became a big star is a mystery.

The mini-series, which is playing right now on PEPLUM TV, is filled with many actors from the PEPLUM genre, many of them not credited, including Bella Cortez.

Separated at birth

What's Justin Bartha (right) doing in COLOSSUS & THE HEADHUNTERS? (that's Luigi Esposito on the left)

An event dedicated to Mimmo Palmara

Paolo Belocchi, a regular reader of this blog, sent me some great photos of an evening dedicated to PEPLUM star Mimmo Palmara which took place on June 8. They showed THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. Looks like a great evening. Mimmo looks good! Some photos posted at Facebook.

Grazie Paolo!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo of the Day

The cyclops during the climax of MACISTE IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (aka Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops)

The cyclops is a popular monster in the PEPLUM genre. I actually like the way he was designed here in this film. Like so many PEPLUM films of that era the action is good but brief...compared to today's drawn out action scenes. This scene was re-used in MACISTE IN HELL. The special trick in this shot is actually pretty clever but not fool proof so it's a very dark scene.

PEPLUM stars with iPhones

First attempt...more to come

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photo of the Day

Ulysses (Bekim Fehmiu) is about to enjoy a feast in L'ODISSEA (The Odyssey) TV mini-series

I finally finished making a Fan Sub of the entire series: I added English subtitles to the Italian TV production which wasn't dubbed in English in 1968 (but it later was dubbed in the 1970s via the CBC) and is nearly impossible to obtain with English subtitles. This is sorta like the Holy Grail of PEPLUM enthusiasts and it's never been easy to obtain in any format. I spent over a week working on this and I have all 8 episodes ready. I'll be playing this on PEPLUM TV this weekend. So 6+ hours of programming!

Costume sketches

Costume sketches for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, the Errol Flynn classic. Costumes were designed by Milo Anderson. I love these.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photo of the Day

Rosita (Rosalba Neri) and Hercules (Samson in original; Alan Steel) meet in private for a little mutual affection in HERCULES & THE BLACK PIRATE

It's Rosalba's birthday today so happy birthday!

Rosalba plays a good girl in this film. She often plays evil queens or femme fatales but it's good to see her in a role in which she's not trying to kill someone.


Photographer gladly took several photos of Steve Reeves during a break from shooting HERCULES. At one period Steve was probably the most photographed man of all time at that time.

Posted at PEPLUM X

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Photo of the Day


Sherifa has a small role in KINDAR...she appears at the very beginning of the film and that's it. But her look fits in perfectly with the story set somewhere in some desert location. She should have made more PEPLUM films. I uploaded KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE at the PEPLUM TV Youtube channel (see a few post below).  Sherifa is (was?) a singer and dancer. You can see her in this Youtube video.

After work activities

Joe Gold and Chuck Pendleton aka Gordon Mitchell hanging out on the beach somewhere in California in the 1950s.

Joe Gold is the founder of Gold's Gym and World Gym. Both men were long time friends and both worked in Mae West's act and were good friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger. After Gold and Mitchell both passed away (Chuck died September 20, 2003...Joe died 11 July 2004 ) Arnold, along with other friends, spread their ashes off the coast of Marina Del Rey on August 20 2004 (L.A. Times).