Thursday, January 28, 2016

By the Gods!

Richard Harrison, as Perseus, walks amongst men who were turned into stone in PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (aka Medusa vs the Son of Hercules)

The Spanish title for this is EL VALLE DE LOS HOMBRES DE PIEDRA, which translates as THE VALLEY OF THE MEN OF STONE. Nothing about Perseus or the Medusa being responsible for turning men into stone. The Spanish version is also different to the the Italian one during many instances. Made before CLASH OF THE TITANS which was obviously inspired by this excellent PEPLUM.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

By the Gods!

Reg Park, as Ursus, swings into action in URSUS & THE TERROR OF THE KIRGHIZ

This film is mainly known as HERCULES, PRISONER OF EVIL. I prefer the original title. How to explain this story of this film in just a few words? Impossible!

Anyway, some scenes from this film were used in an erotic film in 1973 called LA VIE EROTIQUE D'URSUS. Does anyone have this film? I'd like to see it.


Dominique Boschero and Georges Marchal prepare a scene in ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES. I don't know if the man in the sunglasses is the director Mario Caiano. One of my favourite PEPLUM films.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

By the Gods!

Pharaoh Nemorat / Keops (Corrado Pani) has eyes on Shila (Debra Paget) as the Queen Mother (Yvette Lebon) watches on in CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER

This little gem of a film is a perfect example of what a "PEPLUM" film is supposed to be. I really like it and consider it one of the best. I have the US English version in standard 4:3 aspect ratio. I also have a widescreen version of it taken from a VHS source, which is great but not pristine. Still looking for a great copy of it in order to make a Fan Dub with it.

The real "PEPLUM X"

When the sexual revolution exploded in the late 1960s and on to the 1970s, a new kind of PEPLUM films were being made : the X rated kind.

This new trend of having soft-core or hardcore porn films set in Antiquity was something unimaginable just a few years back, during the Golden Era of the genre. An endless number of films were made and the trend would continue on well into the 1980s certainly after the most notorious film of them all, CALIGULA was released in 1979 and made headlines all over the world.

Sex and PEPLUM films seem to be made for each other : orgies were common in Roman times. People wore skimpy clothes or nothing at all. But there's a world of a difference between suggesting something sexy and showing something explicit. For the most part though, the majority of Italian PEPLUM sex comedies of the 1970s had nudity in them and were sexy but they rarely used explicit sex to sell their films.

Except for CALIGULA, the quality of these films were pretty low grade and few of them are noteworthy. But they are an interesting footnote on the genre. More on this subject in the following weeks.

Permanent page : The real PEPLUM X


Monday, January 25, 2016

By the Gods!

Hercules (Kirk Morris) is about to go on an adventure in HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES

This film was directed by Pietro Francisci, who also wrote and directed the two classic Hercules films starring Steve Reeves. There was a third film planned but because of scheduling issues with the director, the third Steve Reeves / Herc film was never made, to the disappointment of everyone. I've detailed the information here at the blog : PEPLUM Mystery #1 solved : HERCULES AGAINST THE GODS

A couple of years after this failed third outing came HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES. Francisci decided to return to the world of Hercules. And instead of Steve Reeves reprising the role, Kirk Morris took over. Fulvio Carrara and Willi Colombini (in background) also reprised their roles, presumably as Castor and Pollux (they're never identified in the film itself). That's Stefania Sabatini (who wasn't in the other films). So this is an "unofficial" sequel to the other 2 previous Herc films.

I like Kirk a lot and he does a commendable job in this fun film but no one could step in Steve's shoes, eh, sandals as Hercules. Steve was irreplaceable.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for KNIGHTS OF TERROR

A film I haven't seen yet. Good cast.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

By the Gods!

Hercules (Lou Ferrigno) creates the Strait of Gibraltar in HERCULES (1983)

Psst : this film is an unintentional comedy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

By the Gods!

A young Helen Mirren poses seductively before the gaudy set of CALIGULA

A type of film they simply couldn't make today, which on one hand is a good thing since it was so over-the-top trashy, but on the other hand, it's sorta sad since everything today is so damn predictable. Not one of Helen's best efforts.


Steve Reeves hangs out with the cast and crew of HERCULES (1958). That's Fulvio Carrara, who played Castor, on the far left. You see, that's Steve's real beard (for those who believe it was fake).

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

By the Gods!

Jole Fierro (as Poppea) and Carlo Tamberlani (behind Jole, right) star in NERO & THE BURNING OF ROME

I haven't seen this very rare film yet so I'm assuming that's Jole Fierro. But I'm certain that's Tamberlani behind her. It looks like such an interesting pre-HERCULES epic that's simply impossible to get a hold of.

Gods of Egypt Official Trailer

Trailer for the film I posted about almost 2 years ago starring Gerard Butler.

Some of the least convincing CGI I've seen in a long time. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

By the Gods!

Turhan Bey and Gloria Grahame squabble over a spy in PRISONERS OF THE CASBAH

This film is basically a comedy. If you don't get it, you won't like it. I like it.

Movie Poster Mondays

Belgian poster for POPPEA'S HOT NIGHTS

Ah yes orgies. A PEPLUM cliché! Not to be confused with POPPEA - A PROSTITUTE IN SERVICE OF THE EMPEROR

Thursday, January 14, 2016

By the Gods!

A thirsty Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is given water by an unseen Jesus (Claude Heater) in BEN-HUR

Jesus often remained hidden in several biblical films made in the past, like he did in this film. It's almost as if it was blasphemous to show his face. Things would change considerably with the release of a couple films made after this, such as KING OF KINGS and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Things would change even further with the TV mini-series JESUS OF NAZARETH directed by Zefferelli.

I actually like this approach. It gave Jesus a mysterious and mystical aspect few films or TV productions mentioned above were able to achieve. I don't know if an entire film on his story would work this way but making Jesus too human often robbed him of this special aura. 


Liana as Delilah showing her moves

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

By the Gods!

Brett Halsey and Conrado San Martín duel amidst the spectacular setting of Venice in THE AVENGER OF VENICE

The film is well made (beautiful costumes and sets, etc) and it's solid entertainment but it's a mostly studio bound effort. Until the end with this duel. The film needed more of scenes like this to be more memorable. This was Gianna Maria Canale's last film.

Before and After : SPARTACO - SINS OF ROME

The first frame is from the old public domain copy and the second is from a restored version.

Gianna Maria Canale and Massimo Girotti are the actors.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

By the Gods!

Part of the cast from SON OF PARTACUS

From left to right : Franco Balducci, (short man uncredited), Roland Bartrop, Jacques Sernas, Gianna Maria Canale, Ombretta Colli and Steve Reeves. Cleaner is uncredited. 

Nice scene. Shows the Romans as rich people wasting their time doing nothing important. 

The Young Messiah - Trailer

Trailer for new Biblical film to be released in March, before Easter. Part of it was shot at Cinecittà.

Monday, January 11, 2016

By the Gods!

Massimo Girotti has a stern hold on Mylène Demongeot in GOLD FOR THE CAESARS

Everyone hates each other in this film. The title could be The Hateful Bunch. IMO, Massimo's role is never really defined. Mylène's hairstyle are totally anachronistic. That's Giulio Bosetti in the background. A solid film nonetheless if a bit unspectacular.

Movie Poster Mondays

Original Italian poster of HERCULES (1958)

Looks great!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

By the Gods!

Solomon (Yul Brynner) welcomes Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida) in SOLOMON & SHEBA

Great production values (costumes, sets, etc) but terrible script. The film was plagued with problems, including the death of Tyrone Power who was to play Solomon. Gina looks like a million bucks here. Gina is still alive today, which is remarkable when you think about it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

By the Gods!


The identity of Frank Gordon has been a mystery for a very long time. This is his ONLY film credit so it's difficult to figure out who he is. Word on the street says his real name is Franco Gori. The beautiful Liana Orfei is related to Moria Orfei, who died recently. Liana is still alive. 


Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves goof around while filming  DUEL OF THE TITANS

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Helen of Troy

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Rossana Podestà

(this is my last PEPLUM X post. I'm trying to make changes for 2016 and I'm retiring this series)


PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Diane Kruger

The Lion of Thebes

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Yvonne Furneaux

The Trojan Horse

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Steve Reeves - Edy Vessel

The Trojan Women

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Irene Papas

The Loves of Three Queens

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Hedy Lamarr

The Private life of Helen of Troy

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Maria Corda

Helen of Troy (TV)

PEPLUM X Tuesdays

Sienna Guillory

Monday, January 4, 2016

By the Gods!

Tamara Lees and Carlo Ninchi in QUEEN OF BABYLON

One of the things I love about the PEPLUM genre are the costumes. Even if the film is so-so, if the costumes are wonderfully executed, it can save it from disaster. I have a beau fitful German copy of this film and I'll try to make a Fan Dub with the English track, which is so-so but the film looks quite good in its original state. This film wasn't shot in widescreen.

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster for THE PRODIGAL

Looks more exciting than the actual finished product