Friday, June 24, 2016

By the Gods!

Zorro (Pierre Brice) confronts Samson (Alan Steel ; Maciste in the original) in SAMSON & THE SLAVE QUEEN

You know who's the hero in a PEPLUM film? He's the one without a shirt. Okay, in this case Zorro is also a hero but Maciste (aka Samson) is the hero with the heart of gold. Fun film, with excellent production values and action, including this excellent scene. I tried to make a Fan Dub of this but couldn't. The English audio is mostly crap and there are simply too many missing scenes between the two different versions. It's sad because this is a film one can watch repeatedly.

Retro Friday : The Strange Casting of Genghis Khan

Manuel Conde was the first to play Genghis Khan (according to IMDb). Manuel was born in the Philippines which, I guess, is the closest to Mongolia than any other actor.

Marvin Miller in THE GOLDEN HORDE

In possible the strangest casting decision ever, John Wayne played the legendary Mongolian ruler in THE CONQUEROR that bombed at the box office.

Ronaldo Lupi played Genghis Khan in two movies: THE MONGOLS (above) and below, HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS

Lastly, there's Egyptian actor Omar Sharif in another inaccurate adaptation in GENGHIS KHAN

Thursday, June 23, 2016

By the Gods!

Rossano Brazzi, as Archimedes, meets Tina Louise for the first time in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE

Archimedes is holding what's left of Diana's clothes after he accidentally burned her toga with his mirrored weapon while she took a bath in a lake. This is the set-up for an epic and episodic love story which spans decades. Louise has multiple names in this since her character suffers from amnesia for most of the story. Brazzi, a famous actor in Italy and Hollywood, is a blond and they had to darken  his hair for this film. It's a Pietro Francisci film, so of course I like it, but I suspect many people wouldn't because it's a combination of genres (romance, war, etc) : not enough action for those looking for action and the romance is a bit unusual for those preferring romantic films.


Cool scene from HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN with that famous gong!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By the Gods!

Joe Robinson and Cameron Mitchell in ERIK THE CONQUEROR

Film directed by Mario Bava. Like almost all of Bava's color films, the color gels are used to excess here. Purples, reds, greens, yellows, blues, etc. The film ends up looking artificial. I know many people admire this and consider it one of the signature aspects of his films, and most of the times they're quite effective (certainly in his horror films) but in this film, it makes everything look like a Haunted House ride at an amusement park. The star of the film is Cameron and George Ardisson (not shown) but Joe should have been the main star. He eclipses the two other actors whenever he's on screen. The big problem I have with this film (aside from the colours) is the structure of the story. It's lopsided. Bava made another Viking film with Mitchell, KNIVES OF THE AVENGER, and that one looks more realistic but the story is dull.


Rik Battaglia looks over the script of ROLAND THE MIGHTY. Rik played the main role.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

By the Gods!

Giulio Donnini, Gianna Maria Canale and Paul Muller star in CONQUEROR OF THE ORIENT

Gianna probably shot her scenes ruing a weekend. She's the main star, along with Rik Battaglia (not shown) but her role is very pointless. It's an odd film in the PEPLUM cannon. A lot of critics (read morons) who automatically trash these films because they're Italian productions and always dismiss them as cheap are always wrong. In fact most of the films are pretty solid and impressive...well, except for this one. This one IS cheap looking.

Identify the movie

Can you identify this PEPLUM film?

It's from the Samson & Delilah story in GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE...or I Grandi Condottieri

Monday, June 20, 2016

By the Gods!

Charlton Heston as EL CID

El Cid was a leader who gained fame by taking the city of Valencia from the Spanish Muslims back in da day. In our current political state around the world, is El Cid a hero or a villain?

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of CAESAR & CLEOPATRA

Beautiful artwork. I like tis film even though everyone seems to hate it. One of the few PEPLUM films of the 19040s

Friday, June 17, 2016

By the Gods!

Sybil Danning, Lou Ferrigno and Brad Harris in THE SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS

A PEPLUM version of the THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, which was itself a Western version of the Japanese film, SEVEN SAMURAI. This is another example of the odd connection of PEPLUM films and Westerns some have attempted to make. I guess many thought Antiquity was the Wild West of Europe...but it wasn't.  The film itself is fun to watch but it's sorta forgettable, even by 1980s standard.

Retro Friday : Fantasy Casting...that almost was

The debacle that was CLEOPATRA started out with a completely different director and cast. The brilliant Rouben Mamoulian was set to direct and Peter Finch was set to play Caesar and Stephen Boyd was initially cast as Mark Anthony. Because of production delays that lasted nearly a year, all three opted out of the project and then the casting problems occurred. The biggest casting issue, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, never changed so she still would have been a liability in either productions. But the film's biggest problem was the script itself and if it was the same, had it been this cast or the cast they ended up with, well, they couldn't have saved that terrible script. But one can only imagine how this version would have been. I suspect it would have been much better and very atmospheric, like most Mamoulian films.

Peter Finch as Caesar.  A much better choice than Rex "school principal" Harrison. 

Above and below: Stephen Boyd as Mark Anthony. 

Keith Baxter, Stephen Boyd and director Rouben Mamoulian in a test shot. British actor Keith Baxter was set to play Octavian but was replaced by miscast Roddy McDowall. 

A test shot. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

By the Gods!

Mickey Hargitay, as Hercules, is made to go through a test (with Jayne standing as prop) in THE LOVES OF HERCULES

One of the better scenes in this somewhat goofy but entertaining PEPLUM. Hargitay wasn't much of an actor and he often comes across as, well, goofy which is not what I think the filmmakers wanted to achieve. Don't get me wrong, I like this film and I've watched it repeatedly but it is, well, goofy. That's Massimo Serato on the far left. A great actor, probably wondering what he's doing there. The two tall men behind him in tiny tunics are unidentified. They both could have been PEPLUM stars. Another PEPLUM mystery.


Scene from THE LOVES OF HERCULES starring Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay. Who needs 3D?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By the Gods!

Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) spins a web of deceit around Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in CONAN THE DESTROYER

The best thing about this (then) neo-PEPLUM was Sarah. Unfortunately, her role was limited but acted around everyone in this very campy high budget B-movie. As for Arnold, when they made the first film, director John Milius said he didn't want to make another Steve Reeves film and they were very conscious about showing Arnold's sculptured physique. But for the second film, they abandoned all pretense, and Arnold hardly wore any clothes throughout the film.


John Huston directs Ava Gardner in THE BIBLE : THE BEGINNING...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

By the Gods!

Gloria Milland and Brad harris are in love / lust in GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS

I like these two together and I like Gloria Milland even if her character is confusing and sorta shrill. Their relationship is a love / hate one and it makes very little sense and yet by the end you're happy they're together. Look at that bedroom.

Damon And Pythias (1962) music by Angelo Lavagnino

One of the best composers of PEPLUM music, Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, made several memorable scores for the genre. Here's the one he made of DAMON & PYTHIAS

Monday, June 13, 2016

By the Gods!

Paul Stevens, Gordon Scott and Mart Hulswit in HERCULES & THE PRINCESS OF TROY

The only time Scott actually played Hercules (not someone named Hercules or pretending to be Hercules asin HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH). This was a TV pilot that didn't get picked. it would have been amazing if it had been but by the time this was made people started getting bored with the PEPLUM genre. Production values are excellent but the story is not that compelling so it's not surprising it wasn't picked up. For me, a weekly series like this would be amazing.

Movie Poster Mondays

Belgian poster for REVOLT OF THE SLAVES

Everything but the kitchen sink. Colorful poster that promises a lot...more than the actual film, which is still entertaining and action packed.

Friday, June 10, 2016

By the Gods!

 Emiliano (Steve Reeves) is put to the test of his life in GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS

When people and fans met Steve they always mentioned Hercules, which frustrated him to no end. He said that he made other films with other heroes, including this one, which few mentioned. I understand his frustration but it's easy to get hercules confuse with this film, even though it has nothing to do with Greek mythology.

Retro Friday : The many hairstyles of Marilù Tolo

Old posts updated (originally posted on March 16, 2011)

Marilù made just a handful of PEPLUM films and yet she she went through a lifetime of styles in them.  Here is a small sample. Marilù changes her style so many times, even during the same film, that I get her confused with other actresses. But then most are probably not looking at her hairstyles when she was on screen.





Thursday, June 9, 2016

By the Gods!

Anthar (Kirk Morris) rescues Princess Soraya (Michèle Girardon) in ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE

The mute boy is played by Roberto Dell'Acqua. Fun film even though it's mostly studio bound.  Michèle Girardon's film career was short-lived since she committed suicide a few years later. Kirk was in great demand when he made this film after the success of HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES. None of the films he made after the later film was as successful.


A scene from THE MIGHTY URSUS starring Ed Fury. Classic breaking chains bit seen in many PEPLUM films.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

By the Gods!

Hector (Eric Bana) is preparing for a battle in TROY

Bana's career took a nose dive after leading roles in a couple of high profile films such as MUNICH, HULK and this film. He's now a supporting actor or appearing in B-movies. A pretty steep dive for someone who was given the keys to Hollywood. Is TROY to blame? I didn't care much for it but it wasn't that bad, just extremely tedious and uninspired. He should have made more Sword & Sandal films.


Sophia Loren is photographed relaxing in a chariot while filming THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. I don't think Sophia even smiles during the entire (very long) film.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

By the Gods!

Cameron Mitchell and Beba Loncar are lovers in IN THE SHADOW OF THE EAGLES

It's rare that I find a PEPLUM film not worth revisiting again and again and well, this film is one of them. Production values are excellent (sets, cinematography, etc) but the film is dull, dull, dull. I love dramas set in Antiquity and we see how people lived in the past but this one is not an inspired recreation. Things aren't helped much with Beba Loncar sporting the worst wig in any PEPLUM film (and that's saying a lot). Directed by Ferdinando Baldi, who also directed the Alan Ladd film DUEL OF CHAMPIONS, which sorta resembles it. It's a shame though because it has everything going for it except for a good story.  This was a companion production, made at the same time as MASSACRE IN THE BLACK FOREST (almost the same cast and crew) and even though there's one big flaw in that film (part of the ending), it's much more memorable than this one.

When nature calls...

Most PEPLUM films have animals, mainly horses, and things can get out of hand when these animals decide to go and do their business while they're filming.

At the beginning of THE TROJAN HORSE the horse on the left lifts its tail up and starts pooping. Fortunately this is not an omen of things to come since the film is excellent!

 A donkey takes a piss in one scene from THE 3 SWORDS OF ROME

Monday, June 6, 2016

By the Gods!

Folco Lulli (Igor) and Chelo Alonso in QUEEN OF THE TARTARS

Igor sacked a village and took a baby girl, Tanya (Chelo) and raised her as his own daughter. One of the few lead starring roles for Chelo. She's good in it but the storyline is unusual, even within the PEPLUM universe. There's some sort of mysticism about her character, which I enjoyed but it's woefully under-dervelopped. Even though I have 3 different versions of this film, I'm still looking for clean, clear copy of this in widescreen.

Movie Poster Mondays


Nice photo montage instead of the usual artwork.