Monday, September 30, 2013

Photo of the Day

Lady Edith Plantagenet (Virginia Mayo) and Queen Berengaria (Paula Raymond) ride the desert in comfort in KING RICHARD AND THE CRUSADERS

Now this is a realistic way of traveling through the desert, unlike this film. Of course this scene was shot in a studio with real location footage filmed ahead of the production time and projected in the background.   Would it be correct to say that the superwidescreen used in this film and in so many films in the early days of CinemaScope was a disadvantage because they were TOO widescreen, that everything was shot at the distance and there were rarely close-ups or tight shots used. This beautifully filmed production suffers from this which might explain why no one seems to like it.

Movie Poster Mondays

Japanese poster for THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS

Great stuff! In 'Supercinescope'.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Photo of the Day

Sybil Danning is one of THE 7 MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS

Though her costume is skimpy (as usual) Sybil keeps her clothes on in this film (sorta unusual) which was rated PG even though it was more PG-13.

Posted at my other PEPLUM blog, PEPLUM X

Back on Monday!


Great cover

Opening Credits : TERROR OF THE RED MASK

Opening credits for TERROR OF THE RED MASK, from a German print, which has the title in German but the rest is in Italian. Great cast and crew. The opening credits for the English copy I have in my collection is pitiful so this one is a nice change.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Photo of the Day

Chelo Alonso and Steve Reeves are lovers in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS

They make a hot couple!

Tragic Stars : Henri Vidal

French actor Henri Vidal, who appeared in a couple of high profile PEPLUM films such as FABIOLA (below) and ATTILA (above), died at the age of 40 from a heart attack in 1959. Henri was still popular and whose career was still thriving when he unexpectedly died. He was married to Michèle Morgan, also in FABIOLA in the picture below. He died just as the PEPLUM explosion started and one can only wonder what films he would have made in the 1960s.

Posted at the TRAGIC STARS page.


US lobby cards set for CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER; this set is excellent. Aside from the repetitious 7 cards with characters leaning down or on the floor, the set really captures the entertaining aspects of this little gem. No complaints. Thumbs up!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Photo of the Day

Goliath (Maciste in original; Gordon Scott) is surrounded by guards in GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES

From this photo the film should be called GOLIATH AND THE DISPOSABLE GUARDS. He smashes up so many of them in this that it might be a PEPLUM record. Fun film!

Roland the Mighty media

 A rare program in English with the title of ORLANDO and not ROLAND.

September is about to end and with Rosanna Schiaffino being Babe of the Month here's something before the month ends: a couple of selection of printed media for a very rare PEPLUM film, ROLAND THE MIGHTY (aka Orlando...), directed by Pietro Francisci and co-starring Rik Battaglia.

 The official Fotoroman for ROLAND THE MIGHTY

Rosanna and Rik from ROLAND THE MIGHTY

'Spartacus Saga: Uncut' is coming to STARZ

All four seasons of Spartacus, with extended episodes, will air on STARZ beginning Saturday October 26th.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Photo of the Day

Samson (Santo, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta) is about to be demasked on the orders of Tandra (Ofelia Montesco) in SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRE WOMEN

The Santo films were sold as 'Samson' films early on probably to capitalize with the many PEPLUM films released in the early 1960s. One of the only four 52 Santo films dubbed into English. SANTO VS THE MARTIAN INVASION, believe it or not, is one of the most PEPLUM-like of the series. Fun escapist stuff.

Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns - Bacchanal dance

From the Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala in 1983. Quite spectacular and sexy.

PEPLUM Location : Postojna Cave

The Postojna cave in Slovania (in former Yugoslavia) has been the setting for PEPLUM films, including TAUR THE MIGHTY, THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN and others.

Joe Robinson and Harry Baird in TAUR THE MIGHTY, filmed at the Postojna cave

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo of the Day

Gianni Musy and Gordon Scott prepare some deadly contraption in DUEL OF THE TITANS

Every time I watch this scene from DUEL I always wonder: would this actually work? They seem too wobbly and unreliable, and difficult to manoeuvre with the multiple horses to be really effective.

PEPLUM Recycling

These fotobustas for MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA take the customary PEPLUM recycling to an all new level: potential audiences are already treated with recycled scenes from different films even before seeing the actual film! The background shots behind an unrecycled Mark are from CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS (top) and from THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII.

Doubts cast over Masada myth

Story of Jewish rebels taking their own lives while under siege in desert fortress was either exaggerated or untrue, say experts

Herod the Great's fortified complex at Masada was a winter retreat but also an insurance against a feared rebellion of his Jewish subjects or an attack from Rome. Luxurious palaces, barracks, well-stocked storerooms, bathhouses, water cisterns sat on a plateau 400m above the Dead Sea and desert floor. Herod's personal quarters in the Northern Palace contained lavish mosaics and frescoes.

But by the time the Jews revolted against the Romans, Herod had been dead for seven decades. After the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the surviving rebels fled to Masada, under the command of Eleazer Ben Yair. Around 960 men, women and children holed up in the desert fortress as 8,000 Roman legionnaires laid siege from below.

Using Jewish slave labour, the Romans built a gigantic ramp with which they could reach the fortress and capture the rebels. On 15 April in the year 73CE, Ben Yair gathered his people and told them the time had come to "prefer death before slavery". Using a lottery system, the men killed their wives and children, then each other, until the last survivor killed himself, according to historian Flavius Josephus's account.

The Romans advanced but found only "an awful solitude, and flames within and silence, they were at a loss to conjecture what had happened Here encountering the mass of slain, instead of exulting as over enemies, they admired the nobility of their resolve". Josephus recorded that two women and three children survived to tell the tale.

After the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, Masada took on a new significance, symbolising heroism and sacrifice. "It is a place of ancient doom which time has turned into a symbol of the pride of a new nation," wrote Ronald Harker in the Observer book on Masada, published in 1966.

Newly enlisted soldiers were taken to the desert fortress to swear their oath of allegiance, including the shout: "Masada will not fall again!"

But some have cast doubt on the "myth of Masada", saying it was either exaggerated or the suicide story was simply wrong.

The Guardian

Monday, September 23, 2013

Photo of the Day

Edmund Burns and Leatrice Joy in MADE FOR LOVE (1926)

A rare film that's not really a PEPLUM per se but includes a big Sword & Sandal moment : the story is about an archeologist working in Egypt and how he neglects his visiting wife (Joy) who in turn tries to spark romance between each other. The film includes an elaborate flashback scene set in Ancient Egypt (pictured above) some say rivals the stuff made by DeMille. Sounds interesting.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for ROMULUS & THE SABINES

Rare poster. It's a bit distorted but still pretty good. Probably the best of the many different versions for this film. Pictured on the poster is September Babe of the Month Rosanna Schiaffino even if she only  appears for a few minutes in the final film. This is just to show how popular she was during that period.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Photo of the Day

Hercules (Steve Reeves) wonders where he is in HERCULES UNCHAINED

THE Hercules!

Back on Monday.

What movie?

Can you ID the movie from this screengrab?

Incorrect timeline in ALI BABA AND THE 7 SARACENS US cut

One of the most baffling films in the PEPLUM genre is the US cut of ALI BABA AND THE 7 SARACENS. The beginning doesn't make any sense at all. After studying it for a while I finally figured out what was so baffling about it: the order of the scenes have been re-edited incorrectly for the US broadcast (it never made it to theatres). I uploaded a corrected version on Monday (scroll down) but here's a quick rundown:

1 - The US cut starts with this scene. Gordon Mitchell's character and his concubine talk about  how he was infatuated with Fatima, the Bella Cortez character. They argue about this. We wonder who they are talking about. Very odd way to start a film.

2 - We then see two men tortured for information. We don't know who these men are.

3 - The torturer tells Gordon Mitchell that Ali Baba will be arriving soon and Mitchell tells the torturer to send soldiers to greet Ali Baba.

4 - Ali Baba waits with his men. They are ambushed by Mitchell's henchmen.

5 - Gordon Mitchell then inspects the men who will be part of a tournament.

6 - We then see men on horseback arriving at Mitchell's palace, with two men in chains.

7 - The next scene shows Mitchell practicing his sword play.

8 - The following scene shows Gordon Mitchell meeting members of different tribes including one headed by Bella Cortez, whom he's infatuated with. They also talk about the upcoming tournament. They also meet the two men who were captured as seen in scene 6.

As you can see the whole order of sequences is illogical. The film is supposed to start at scene 6, with the men on horseback arriving to the palace with the two men. 7 and 8 follow correctly and then it should be followed by scene 1, where Mitchell and the concubine argue over Mitchell being infatuated with Fatima/Bella Cortez (scene 8). It doesn't make any sense to start the film with scene 1. The two kneeling men we see in scene 8 are the two men tortured in scene 2. Also in scene 8 they talk about who's going to be part of the tournament, the very men we see in scene 5. The correct order is scene 6, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 which continues correctly for the remainder of the film (at the 20 minute mark). There are a few other scenes that needed to be re-arranged but the bulk of the messed up sequences are those listed here.

Whoever re-arranged the actual order of those scenes for US TV was either drunk or plain stupid. This messed up cut of ALI BABA AND THE 7 SARACENS is the ONLY copy sold in North America or viewable on Youtube (well, except mine). It's amazing that no one has noticed this by now.

I fixed the film and unsurprisingly the quality of it improved as well.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Photo of the Day

David Carradine battles it out with Anthony De Longis in THE WARRIOR AND THE SORCERESS

Kung Fu master David Carradine looks more like a killer Ninja than someone from Sword & Sorcery films. Like other films from the 1980s, sex and violence are on the menu. In today's PEPLUM films, the violence is still there but the sex is decidedly gone. Is it too early to have another all 1980s day on PEPLUM TV?

Sleeping Leonora

It seems that every time Leonora Ruffo is in a PEPLUM film we always find her sprawled from head to toe because of exhaustion, a spell, she fainted or is crying over a loved one. Here's a brief overview:

From THE QUEEN OF SHEBA :  Leonora is exhausted after a big battle.

In SWORD WITHOUT A COUNTRY : Leonora is resting because she's sad.

In SWORD WITHOUT A COUNTRY again : Leonora is sprawled on the ground after fainting.

In GOLIATH & THE DRAGON : Leonora faints from a spell/fright/exhaustion

In GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES : Gordon Scott is sad that Leonora is caught in a spell/might be dead

In HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD : Leonora is seemingly brought back to life at the start of the film.

In HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD : Leonora faints after battling with Christopher Lee with magic.

In HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD : During the film's climax, Leonora is to be sacrificed by Christopher Lee.