Thursday, October 31, 2013

Photo of the Day

The hand from the angel of death ('the destroyer') from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Probably the scariest scene in any PEPLUM film or any film in general: one of the plagues Moses commanded God to enact: all first borns will be killed. To prevent the hand of death to reach inside homes they have to mark front doors with the blood of lambs. Creepy stuff for a Biblical film which terrified me as a kid and is still chilling.

Happy Halloween!

Owls in PEPLUM films

Owls and Halloween are made for each other. Owls are nocturnal creatures and so their appearances  often happen in spooky settings, including in many PEPLUM films. The examples here are mostly from children's films so they're not really threatening.

The 'dancing' owl from SLEEPING BEAUTY


A behind-the-scenes photo of FELLINI'S CASANOVA with Fellini sniffing something.

The legendary Bubo from CLASH OF THE TITANS (seen briefly here in the remake)

An owl spooks Arthur (Nigel Terry) in EXCALIBUR

PEPLUM Halloween costumes

For the ladies...

...and for the gents

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Photo of the Day

Paulette Goddard is apprehended by Richard Ney in BABES IN BAGDAD (1952)

I have this film in my collection but I haven't watched it yet. One of those Arabian Sword & Sandal adventures which are mostly forgotten today.



with Arlene Dahl


with Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren


with Rik Battaglia and Chelo Alonso


with Wandisa Guida and Gerard Landry

If you have any fotonovela covers to share post them at the PEPLUM Forum

Then and Now : Yann Lavor

Yann as Ursus in SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE; a recent photo of Yann

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Photo of the Day

Mahor (Yann Larvor), Sirione (Fernando Calzado) and the Phoenician Ambassador (Antonio Casas) all conspire together for some nefarious plot in COLOSSUS OF RHODES

Fernando Calzado, Antonio Casas and Conrado San Martín (as Thar, not pictured) all look alike in this film. If it wasn't for their costumes I wouldn't be able to tell them apart. The convoluted story (from my review: Rebels want to overthrow the King of Rhodes because of corruption and the lack of justice but then people within the Kingdom also want to take over the goofy looking King by overthrowing him and his army with a group of Macedonian "slaves" captured by Phoenicians who are actually soldiers and are brought within Rhodes, sorta like the Trojan Horse ploy. The Rebels fight the Rhodes soldiers. The Rhodes soldiers fight the Macedonian "slaves". The Macedonian "slaves" fight the Rebels...) adds to the general confusion of this great but flawed film.

Yann made a couple of PEPLUM films before disappearing from the face of the earth. He was billed as the French Hercules even though he doesn't seem too massive compared to bodybuilders of today.

Roman sculpture of eagle plucked from the London earth

An 'exceptional' Roman sculpture of an eagle clasping a serpent in its beak has been discovered by archaeologists in the final hours of a dig at a London building site.

Experts have declared that the object, which was found in the City of London before the site's redevelopment into a 16-storey hotel, 'the finest sculpture by a Romano-British artist ever found in London'.

Archaeologists also unearthed foundations of a mausoleum on the east London site and believe that the statue, dating from the first or second century AD and made from oolitic limestone from the Cotswolds, once adorned it.

Daily Mail

It's amazing that they keep finding these Roman artifacts in England.


Mark Forest lifts Gaby André during a cocktail party for GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON

Unusual to see Mark in modern duds.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Photo of the Day

Narona (Maria Gandini) tells Idamis (Cristina Ruspoli), Spartacus' sister, that she won't be a slave anymore in SPARTACO (1913)

This photo comes from a wonderful series which shows the film's set in stunning details, more so than the actual film. The film is 100 years old this year. I have it in my collection. There were several Italian films made about Spartacus, decades before Hollywood took over and then claim Italian films copy Hollywood stuff. The nerve.

Happy 100th anniversary.

Movie Poster Mondays


I'm trying to figure out what the artwork on this colorful poster has anything to do with the actual film. I could have posted this under Cinematic Confusion.

GODDESS OF LOVE - Beginning...

I uploaded the first 11 minutes of GODDESS OF LOVE (1957) starring Belinda Lee, Jacques Sernas and Massimo Girotti.

This is very rare. I've been working on a Fan Sub (adding subtitles manually) but I'm a slow typist. :-)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Photo of the Day

Jason Scott Lee and Sandrine Holt in a publicity photo for RAPA-NUI

A mess of a film which was plagued with production problems. Director Kevin Reynolds claims that this his worst film...this coming from the director of WATERWORLD. He said that the production often ran out of food for the cast and crew as there was only one flight per week to the island (you'd think that would be easy to fix...or charter a boat). The film's only, uh, asset is the eye candy: the entire cast wears minimal clothing, as this photo shows. Aside from that, the film is almost a totally worthless endeavour mainly due to the risible screenplay (which reduces the whole story into some sort of brawny Fratboy-ish antic) and historical re-enactments which are not very convincing. The incongruous multi-ethnic cast doesn't help much as well. 

Back on Monday!

PEPLUM Trick of the eye

A scene from SOLOMON AND SHEBA. Interesting lighting on those columns...ah!

Gladiator of Pompeii - Trailer

I have this film and I'll give a brief overview soon after I watch it. Visually it looks good, better than most cheap productions made today or in the 1980s. But I doubt the acting and screenplay are compelling.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photo of the Day

Dogmatix is in a precarious situation in ASTERIX & OBELIX VS CAESAR

Move over Steve Reeves! Ok, seriously, it's funny to see Dogmatix caught in a true PEPLUM Cliché! I've posted this image at the PEPLUM Clichés page.

PEPLUM Cliché : Seeing double (update)

Twins or doubles can be considered a cliché even though this plot point doesn't happen too often in PEPLUM flicks. Here's a few films with twins, usually one good and one evil, or bad guys morphed into the likeness of our Hero. I've updated the list from a previous post.

Posted at the PEPLUM Clichés page

Laetitia Casta as Falbala in ASTERIX AND OBELIX VS CAESAR

Maria Montez plays twins in COBRA WOMAN; Tollea, left, is the good peasant and on the right, Naja, the evil Queen.

Rosanna Schiaffino plays estranged twins in THE MINOTAUR; it's a good role for her.

Gordon Scott fights with himself, in one of the best scenes in PEPLUM history, as evil Kobrak takes his shape, from GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES.

Richard Greene times two in THE BANDITS OF CORSICA. Good film.

Robert Malcolm plays a dual role in SINBAD AND THE CALIPH OF BAGHDAD

New comic book : Asterix and the Picts

New Asterix comic book available since yesterday (link). The story this time takes place in Scotland. The first comic book in 8 years headed by a new writer-illustrator team – Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Photo of the Day

Michael Rennie as Father Junipero Serra, Richard Egan as Jose Mendoza and Anthony Quinn as Capt. Gaspar de Portola in SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD

I never saw this film and from reading the synopsis of the story (the founding of California) I always thought it was a Western but just looking at this photo it's clearly not and along with these great actors the cast listed at IMDb includes Jeffrey Hunter and Rita Moreno, among others. This seriously looks good. It's available on iTunes and Amazon download (which I don't like to purchase because of the DRM protection thingy which limits the ways one can view it).

Gladiatori di Roma 3D - Trailer

This Italian made computer animated film about gladiators. From what I can see it's family friendly. I'll give a brief review another day. There's already another film called GLADIATOR(S) OF ROME starring Gordon Scott made in 1962.

Cinematic Confusion

As I was searching for images from a particular film I came across this cinematic confusion which made me laugh out loud. The film listed is THE LAST GLADIATOR (aka Messalina vs Son of Hercules) and the image is from HERO OF BABYLON. I was like WTH? I thought the blame was squarely on the website designer but then I came across this Italian lobby card form THE LAST GLADIATOR and it has the image from HERO OF BABYLON staring Gordon Scott, not Richard Harrison. One of the most egregious examples of Cinematic Confusion.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photo of the Day

The Oracle in MESSALINA (1951)

This scene played seriously but also for laughs, in a theatrical way, to show that people in the past were superstitious. In this scene Messalina doesn't take the Oracle too seriously. Now if I could only find an English dub or subtitles for this film.

The hairy armpits of PEPLUM stars

Another time, another place when women could sport a little (or in Silvana's case, a lot...) of armpit hair which wasn't uncommon in Italy (or Europe) in the 1950s/60s. Yes, this blog covers everything. Ah!

Superstar Sophia Loren wasn't shy about her hairy armpits

Silvana Mangano, star of ULYSSES and BARABBAS

Maria was in a couple of PEPLUM films including GODDESS OF LOVE

Mystery actor spotted (updated)

With Italian/European PEPLUM films, trying to figure out who played who (or whom played who?) is sometimes a challenge. Case in point this mystery actor who has a big role in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY including dialogue and action scenes and yet his identity remains unknown. Well the other night I watched TERROR OF THE RED MASK and lo and behold the same actor appears briefly in it. He doesn't have any dialogue and in one scene we see him fully (last photo below). Because this is a small role he's obviously not credited for it but at least I know he wasn't a one-hit-wonder with THESSALY.

The mystery actor is a Gypsy in TERROR OF THE RED MASK


Mystery actor appeared briefly in THE PIRATE AND THE SLAVE GIRL. So that makes 3 films but still no credits.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Photo of the Day

Morgana (Helen Mirren) sprinkles some magic on her son Mordred (Robert Addie) in EXCALIBUR

There are so many great things about this and also so many bad things as well. By the last act the film is derailed by the choppy script. One of the victims of this choppy script is Mordred, a character that's thrust upon us without knowing much about him. It's a shame because the start was pretty amazing.

Robert died 10 years ago of lung cancer at the age of 43. Helen was born Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironoff.

Gladiator board game

Blog reader Louis sent me these photos of a board game about Gladiators. Definitely different game than SWORD OF ROME but the basic board game looks sorta identical. Cool.

Then and Now : Ken Marshall

Ken in the critically acclaimed early 1980s MARCO POLO mini-series; a recent photo of Ken

Monday, October 21, 2013

Photo of the Day

Semiramis (Rhonda Fleming) tends to a wounded Amal (Ricardo Montalban) in QUEEN OF BABYLON

I recently got a beautiful print of this film and I'm making a Fan Dub with it. The English copy I have is  in bad shape and the movie always got low ratings on PEPLUM TV but a new updated version will show how fun this pre-HERCULES PEPLUM is.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of ESTHER AND THE KING

Odd looking artwork. It looks like some Fan art. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Photo of the Day

Iole (Sylva Koscina) tries to wake up Hercules (Steve Reeves) in HERCULES (1958)

The film which started the 'PEPLUM explosion' in the late 1950s which spawned hundreds of action movies from Europe, mainly Italy. Great photo.

Back on Monday.

The Twelve Labors of Hercules

Different titles of same film : HERCULES (1958)

Along with the new banner from HERCULES (1958) here are some of the opening titles from a couple of different sources of the same film.

Original Italian version!

German title of HERCULES

International English title, taken from the French DVD. Unfortunately the French title wasn't included.

The US Avco Embassy opening title with the animated constellation of stars