Friday, January 31, 2014

Photo of the Day

Gabriele Tinti is about to set Enzo Fiermonte on fire in SODOM & GOMORRAH

This torture device is often used in PEPLUM films which makes it a cliche for sure. The contraption can be slightly different but the idea is similar. By the time this scene occurs, just before the catastrophic destruction of Sodom, I'm usually left indifferent about it all.

Back on Monday!

Then and Now : Germano Longo

Germano, star of SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON, ROLAND THE MIGHTY and many others. Photo from 1966; the most recent photo of Germano.

My PEPLUM film

In the 1980s I helped a University teacher with the production of a short film based on Oedipus. I'm the fellow on the right in the photo above (and the last photo below). I'm making that face for the 'role'. I don't even remember their names and sadly I've never seen the finished product. But I have these photos. I also played a cheesy monster, as seen in the photo below. That's the university teacher, as Oedipus, next to me. He loved dressing up in PEPLUM costumes. He was Italian. I pretty much look the same today, after all these years.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photo of the Day

A dance number from THE LOST WORLD OF SINBAD

A Japanese PEPLUM film produced by Toho studios. The influence of Italian/Euro PEPLUM films were felt around the world and this film is pretty much a straight up Sword & Sandal in the Italian fashion.

After work activities

A photo by a paparazzi taken in Rome of a crying Anita Ekberg with producer Guido Giambartolomei, producer of THE MONGOLS.

Vintage French article

A couple of pages from a French magazine on Mark Forest.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo of the Day

A slave (Bruce King) gets punished by by his master (William V. Mong, far right) in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1935)

Bruce King is the best thing in this version of the often told tale. Bruce, as the Scythian prisoner, is one of the most impressive actors in any PEPLUM film, in Europe or the US. He was perfectly cast and totally believable in his brief role. Now had he been the main actor of the film well it would have rocked but they went with Preston Foster who looks like a softy next to Bruce. In this version Preston adopts a kid which humanizes him but Preston is already a nice guy; having someone like tough-as-nails Bruce adopting a orphaned kid would have worked better, it would have been more affecting.

Egyptian pharaoh unearthed after 3,600 years

Discovery of King Senebkay’s tomb is regarded as first material proof of the previously unknown Abydos Dynasty

The remains of a previously unknown pharaoh have been uncovered in southern Egypt, providing the first material proof of the existence of a royal dynasty dating back over three millenia, archaeologists say.

The skeleton of Woseribre Senebkay, a king from the forgotten Abydos dynasty, was discovered this month by a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania. He had lain largely untouched for 3,600 years on the site of the ancient city of Abydos, 300 miles south of modern-day Cairo.

Although ancient grave robbers had pulled apart Senebkay’s once-mummified body, the archaeologists were able to piece together his skeleton, minus an absented jaw bone. Hieroglyphs on the wall of his 60-tonne sarcophagus chamber described him as “king of Upper and Lower Egypt”.

Archaeologists now believe that Senebkay’s quartzite sarcophagus had been recycled from a tomb previously built for another pharaoh, most likely Sobekhotep I, the first king of Egypt's 13th Dynasty. The importance of this latest discovery lies in the fact that it “puts flesh on the bones of a theory,” says Nigel Hetherington, a British archaeologist based in Egypt.

The Telegraph

Painted decoration in the burial chamber of Senebkay is pictured left. Archaeologists examine Senebkay's skeleton on the right.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Photo of the Day

 Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum) leads a defensive charge in THE EAGLE (2011)

Nice shields. Not many shields in this film so this is as good as it gets. Not bad but a bit on the slow side. The film's main drama is about Marcus saving a gladiator (played by Jamie Bell) from being killed which sets the stage for a friendship/bromance between the two amidst the tough environment of old Briton. 


Behind-the-scenes photo of Burt Lancaster in action while filming THE CRIMSON PIRATE. Great photo.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Photo of the Day

Hiram (José Suárez, right) and friend cut down part of a mast to pass the barrier in CARTHAGE IN FLAMES (1960)

This scene is one the few exciting moments in the entire film, which is not saying much. It's not a bad film but flawed with horrendous dubbing (which should be redone). The main problem is the story is too murky to be memorable. 

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (aka Triumph of the Son of Hercules)

Great poster except there are no bending prison bars scene in this film and that surely doesn't look like Kirk Morris but the famous feat of strength scene is captured brilliantly.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Photo of the Day

Pietro Torrisi an Emilio Messina and friends are rebelling against the powers that be in THE TEN GLADIATORS

Great photo. Hard to say who the other two gladiators are. I like the checkered-look on the subligaculums they're wearing.

Back on Monday!

Who wore it best?

Sylvia Lopez in HERCULES UNCHAINED; an extra in ESTHER AND THE KING; the main dancer in REVAK THE REBEL

Lobby Cards set: SON OF SAMSON

US lobby cards for SON OF SAMSON : fantastic set. Every card is excellent…well no 6 is a bit dull but that's okay because the rest is so good: great photos of Mark Forest and Chelo Alonso. This is the way to do a lobby card set. Well above average and one of the best of the bunch.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Photo of the Day

Steve Reeves, as Sandokan, in a publicity photo for SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA

Steve, you look serious. He plays a rebel and on this ship he wins the favour of the captain (played by Pierre Cressoy, not shown) after going against the tyrannical villains who tried to take over the ship. 

If Steve was a rebel he'd be the best looking rebel of all time. But with his good looks someone like Steve would never become a rebel because his looks would open doors and make his life generally easier than your average joe.

Gladiator action figure

Pretty cool.

Update: Cambyses’ Still Lost Army

Almost 4 years ago I posted a story about the possibility that the legendary lost army of Cambyses might have been found. The incredible story of an army of 50,000 soldiers whom died after a massive sandstorm. The Discovery channel report below shows what they thought was new evidence back in 2009 but...

…apparently the entire thing has been dismissed as a hoax. Those who found the so-called remnants were the twin brothers Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni, famous for the shockumentaries or MONDO films like MONDO CANE. So the credibility of the findings were in doubt and another person connected with the discoveries, Dario Del Bufalo, also has a dubious reputation. So the legendary lost army may still be, well, lost: link

An artist's depiction of the sandstorm which killed the 50,000 men

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Photo of the Day

Mathos (Jacques Sernas), Salammbo (Jeanne Valerie) and the captain of the mercenaries (Raf Baldassarre) in SALAMMBO (1960)

Great photo of the sexy actors! Costumes are excellent and over-the-top.

PEPLUM recycling

A scene from HERCULES (1958) was used as the basis for the artwork for a French poster of GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS

This is how the scene looks like in HERCULES

Movie theatre advertising

Some Greek theatre showing MACISTE IN THE LAND OF CYCLOPS. Impressive.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photo of the Day

Amahil (Vanoye Aikens) hands a goblet filled with blood to Kobrak in GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961)

This scene, which is very effective, reminds me so much of Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA, made 16 years later.

Vintage Magazine cover

Reg Lewis, star of COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE, on the cover of an Italian bodybuilding magazine, ERCOLE (or Hercules) along with his 'moglie' or wife.


Elizabeth Taylor takes a break during the filming of CLEOPATRA (1963)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Photo of the Day

Eve (Ulla Bergryd) will bring the downfall of humanity in THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING…


The best part of this film is the Adam and Eve segment but sadly it's so murky that you can hardly see anything half of the time. I never understood this direction decision by John Huston. The apple is made to look like…(those two hotspots on it makes it pretty obvious).

Movie Poster Mondays


Spectacular…and sexy.

The suggestive image of Richard Harrison and Moira Orfei was taken from this still. It wouldn't pass censors today.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Photo of the Day

The ladies made to stand all night tied to posts in HERCULES AGAINST THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON

Shot in the popular Tor Caldara location. I already posted a screenshot from this films months ago but here it's from a different angle. Always thought this scene was unusually cruel for a sorta lightweight PEPLUM.

Back next week. I'll be posting sporadically next week.

Location : Temples at Delphi

Delphi is a popular location in PEPLUM films and here are some of the remnants of different temples that can still be found there. They rarely filmed there though, just studio sets or some location in Italy. Would love to go there one day.

The Tholos at the sanctuary of Athena Pronoia

Above and below : The Temple of Apollo

The view of Delphi

Then & Now : Tina Louise

The beautiful Tina Louise in SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS; Tina back in 2011

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo of the Day

Abucar (Bruno Piergentili aka Dan Harrison) is about to die from a torture device in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES

Bruno also starred in a couple of other PEPLUM films including ALI BABA AND THE SEVEN SARACENS. Dunno what happened to him. After his PEPLUM films, like so many other actors of the genre, went on to do Spaghetti Westerns but his last film is dated at 1978 (according to IMDb). This is a great shot and is one of a myriad of torture devices or situations seen in this peculiar but entertaining PEPLUM set in Africa.

Different opening credits

Here are 4 different opening credit titles of HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN…the German one is so different.

Original Italian version

English/International version

French version

German version…so different. Courtesy PEPLUM PARADISE

Westerns and Peplums

What is it with PEPLUM films' connection with Westerns? I personally don't get it but I've come across more than once how PEPLUM films are like Westerns. For me they can't be more polar opposite of each other but I digress. Director Anthony Mann, famous for his Westerns made in Hollywood, including MAN FROM LARAMIE, WINCHESTER '73 and other classics said he approached his Sword and Sandal epics the same way, as Westerns set in Europe. Mann directed EL CID, FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE and was the original director for SPARTACUS before being fired by Kirk Douglas and replaced by Stanley Kubrick.

Of course Italian PEPLUM films gave way to Spaghetti Westerns when the genre died around 1965 and a glut of SW films, like the numerous PEPLUM productions, were made one after the other. The pattern of the stories were somewhat similar but the PEPLUM genre delt with Gods and the supernatural or if strickly grounded stories were about long established cultures set in Antiquity mostly dealing with massive wars and the shifting of powers between groups through marriage and such. Not very Western-like which is more about white men settling across North America displacing or conquering the Native population found there, with guns, guns and more guns. Again I don't see the parallel.

The one film that's clearly inspired by Westerns is DUEL OF THE TITANS starring Steve Reeves and Virna Lisi (below). It reminds me a lot of WESTWARD THE WOMEN starring Robert Taylor (above), a brilliant and overlooked Western in which Taylor has to transport a group of women to marry men across the US. Both films take place almost entirely in the exterior with few indoor settings. In both films people die gradually as they travel to their respective destinations. It's pretty obvious DUEL OF THE TITANS' director Sergio Corbucci, who would later on direct a slew of Spaghetti Westerns including DJANGO, was inspired by this film.


Make sure to check out my other PEPLUM blog:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Photo of the Day

Samarra (Lana Turner) is about to kiss a sacrifical offering (stuntman George Robotham) to the gods of fertility in THE PRODIGAL

Super kitsch!

This scene is the highlight of sorts of the movie. It's grand with a vivid technicolor palette but sorta goes nowhere. The film needed more excitement and that costume on Lana wasn't enough excitment.

After work activities

An undated photo of Reg Park and wife Mareon in Hawaii.

Semele's death

Some are famous for their remarkable lives while others are famous for their remarkable deaths. In Greek mythology, Semele's death is one of the most famous ever. This story always cracks me up. It's filled with customarily Greek mythological elements, like tragedy, dark humour and life lessons, this one being of the ego being your own worse enemy and working against you. Even though she was deceived by Hera, Semele's ego got the best of her. From what I can tell it's never been filmed but a short film on this would be cool.

From Wikipedia:

"Zeus' wife, Hera, a goddess jealous of usurpers, discovered his affair with Semele when she later became pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that her lover was actually Zeus. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele's mind. Curious, Semele asked Zeus to grant her a boon. Zeus, eager to please his beloved, promised on the River Styx to grant her anything she wanted. She then demanded that Zeus reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his divinity. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he was forced by his oath to comply. Zeus tried to spare her by showing her the smallest of his bolts and the sparsest thunderstorm clouds he could find. Mortals, however, cannot look upon Zeus without incinerating, and she perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photo of the Day

Antinea (Tamara Lees) is seduced by Antonio Sapore (Toto) in TOTO THE SHEIK (1950)

Like so many Italian PEPLUM films of that period I haven't seen it. What's interesting about Tamara Lees is that she wrote the English script for the dubbing for some PEPLUM films including MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA.

Back on Thursday!