Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pic of the day

I'll be back full time after labour day.
Image : The Avenger of Venice starring Gianna Maria Canale and Brett Halsey

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pic of the day

I'll be back full time after labour day.
Image : Whom the Gods Wish to Destroy

Friday, August 19, 2016

By the Gods!

Hercules (Steve Reeves) uses chains as a weapon in HERCULES (1958)

This brief scene is great. He kills the villain with one swift wrap of the chains around the baddie's neck and then one yank. PEPLUM perfection!

Blog Note : I'm taking some time off. I'll be back soon.

Retro Friday : STAR WARS, a PEPLUM in space

(originally posted on August 19, 2011)

Photographic proof that STAR WARS was basically a PEPLUM set in a science-fiction/outer space setting. I saw STAR WARS before any Sword & Sandal films and as I was watching the 300 or so films one after the other I couldn't believe how much of the elements in the STAR WARS films were inspired or directly lifted from Italian Sword & Sandal films, which at the time and for the most part even today are still frowned upon. There are so many elements that I won't mention all of them but here's a bunch just to give you an idea.

Opening credits that sets up the storyline :

Desert locations, with bones of dead creatures :


Wise Old Man

Evil Ruler on his throne

Disposable soldiers of Evil Ruler

Resourceful little people always on the side of good

Donut-style hair fashion statement

Cheesecake (there's very little Beefcake in Star Wars films)
Publicity shot of Rhonda Fleming for SERPENT OF THE NILE

Torture (what's a PEPLUM film without a torture scene?)

Sword fights (hence the term Sword & Sandal)

Council chambers

Crushing walls of death

The annoying sidekick

Thursday, August 18, 2016

By the Gods!

No this is not the Jedi Council chamber but a scene from HEROD THE GREAT!

That's Sylvia Lopez with her back to us. She's being judged by the leaders, which will eventually lead to some form of punishment. STAR WARS owes so much to PEPLUM films, it's not funny.


Whipping scene from CONQUEROR OF CORINTH starring Gianna Maria Canale and Geneviève Grad. One of the highlights of the film. Gianna looks great in that colour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

By the Gods!

Cleopatra (Pascale Petit) and Ptolemy (Corrado Pani) vie for the throne in A QUEEN FOR CAESAR

I like this film. A typical PEPLUM which is fine by me. Pascale makes for a fetching Cleopatra. Corrado makes a good rival to her. Some are underwhelmed by the low-key approach of Cleopatra's eventual first meeting with Julius Caesar but its low-key approach is what I like about it. No massive scenes and fanfare to drag the story down. As for Pascale, she had a strong career back in the 1960s but seems to have vanished from the face of the earth. I tried to find a photo of an older Pascale on the web and there is an old looking Pascale Petit to be found but it's someone else, not the actress. I wonder what happened to her.


Marlon Brando goes over the script during location filming for JULIUS CAESAR

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

By the Gods!

Samson (Ed Fury) is in a Harem setting in SAMSON AGAINST THE SHEIK

A fun film. Typical in its story and execution. The story starts in medieval settings and 'Samson' ends up somewhere in Arabia after his love, who doesn't know she's royalty, was kidnapped and he goes to the rescue. Fury grew tired of these films and left Europe to return to Hollywood where his career didn't go anywhere. At least we have tees films to remember.

Then & Now : Jorge Rivero

Jorge as Adam in THE SIN OF ADAM & EVE (1969) ; a recent photo of Jorge

Monday, August 15, 2016

By the Gods!

Maciste (Kirk Morris) tests his strength against many men in TRIUMPH OF MACISTE

Classic PEPLUM. I'm trying to upload the film in its entirety on Youtube but since my old channel was closed, I have to upload it correctly on my new channel. I have to be clever about it. Youtube automatically blocks uploads which last longer than 80 minutes or the average length of a film. I have to then prove I have the rights to the film even if the film is in the public domain. I'm thinking of maybe splitting the film in two.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for THE MIGHTY URSUS

Nice poster with an emphasis on the female characters. The tied up lady doesn't look like Luisa Merlo  but it's ok.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

By the Gods!

Olivia (Maria Teresa Vianello) tells Jason (Roland Carey) why she's chained in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY

Roland looks baffled not because of Olivia's predicament but because of the bad acting he has to witness. Maria Teresa is, without a doubt, the worst actress to appear in a PEPLUM film. Thankfully, her screen time is short but unfortunately during that short time she has a ton of lines to say and not too convincingly. Her film career was short lived and for good reasons. I love this film but this scene is unintentionally funny and it irks me. It's one of the few dire moments of an otherwise excellent production.

Back on Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

By the Gods!

Leonora Ruffo and Gianna Maria Canale in GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES

My two very favourite PEPLUM actresses in one scene. Ruffo is dressed up to be made a slave for the Sultan and Canale reminds her that the way she behaves around the Sultan will determine the fate of Goliath (who's chained somewhere in the palace). IMO, they are PEPLUM royalty.


A somewhat murky behind-the-scenes photo of HERCULES with director Pietro Francisci having a discussion with Steve Reeves. This is the very last scene in the film, in which Steve is wearing a cool costume, which unfortunately is either always covered up or, as seen in the film, too dark to see clearly. Oh well...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

By the Gods!

Ricardo Montalban (far left) watches as Vincent Price threatens to blow up the ship if he's not set free in RAGE OF THE BUCCANEERS (aka Gordon the Black Pirate)

Price is holding Giulia Rubini hostage (who happens to be Gordon's love interest). Very good film with one disappointing aspect : Price and Montalban seldom share the same scene together. It would have boosted the film's worth considerably but I'm sure all of this had to do with scheduling, budget restrictions and such things.

Blog notes : PEPLUM TV has conquered the world!

When I started this blog back in 2010, there were few websites and books on the subject of PEPLUM films. And the few books published prior to my blog, none one of them used the word PEPLUM to describe the genre. Fast forward to today and now the whole thing is a cottage cheese industry and PEPLUM is now the standard word for the said genre.

I feel like I’m drowning in it now. Am I being pushed in the background by this excessive amount of media dedicated to the often maligned genre? No, not at all. My blog is still the no 1 source for all things PEPLUM. But it seems a lot of the new stuff is directly influenced by my blog. I've fought long and hard in shaping the genre into what it is now and though I don’t want to take credit for all of it, it’s obvious now that PEPLUM TV has conquered the world.

Here’s an example : search The Robe in Google and this is what comes up :

Notice under the title that Google categorizes it as a PEPLUM / DRAMA and not Biblical or Epic (like it does in the summary below it). The fact that Google uses PEPLUM to describe a film made in Hollywood is FANTASTIC, certainly the first film made in CinemaScope. Now remember the official Wikipedia PEPLUM page refuses to include Hollywood films under the PEPLUM umbrella, thinking it only applies to cheap films made in Italy or Europe. I've always categorized Hollywood films as part of the PEPLUM genre and now Google does the same as well. BTW, this blog is hosted at Blogger which is owned by Google.

Since 2010, I've tried to make PEPLUM happen and after seeing this, I only had one thing to say : my work is complete! Yeah!

There's also a host of new books which have been released or are about to be published (see below). All of them years after my blog was created. I've been contacted by some writers a couple of times to participate in some projects but I had to decline. One set of books is a compilation of titles and reviews from friends Steven Smith and Nick Wale.

For a long time now I've been mulling with the idea of writing a book on the PEPLUM subject but it seems redundant with so many of them coming out since I began the blog, many of which probably lifted stuff directly from here. Regardless, one day I will write a book (or books) on the very subject that's close to my heart but it will be the definitive last word on the subject. In the meantime, if you want to view all the blog's firsts, check out this permanent page :


Monday, August 8, 2016

By the Gods!

Two prostitutes fight over Hercules (Alan Steel) in HERCULES AGAINST ROME

One of the prostitutes says the other gal is not worth because her bed is full of flees. Funny scene, that's sexually suggestive for a so-called 'family film.' It's one thing many of these films glossed over : the sexuality of their heroes. The two ladies are somewhat rough looking but that makes it even more fun. Steel is not really Hercules in the story but someone who fits the profile of the demi-god.

Movie Poster Mondays

Japanese poster of CARTHAGE IN FLAMES

Busy poster which, in an odd way, is much better than the film itself.

Friday, August 5, 2016

By the Gods!

Mars (Roger Browne) and Venus (Jocelyn Lane) meet in some heavenly setting in MARS GOD OF WAR

The boneheaded US title is Venus vs the Son of Hercules. Good film. Different than the usual stuff.  But with such a bold title (God of War!!!), the film is anything but war (even though there's a great battle scene at the start). Jocelyne plays a dual role in this film (Venus and a mortal named Daphne). Browne made a load of PEPLUM films and his buff looks suited the genre well. Once the PEPLUM genre died, he appeared in the usual Spaghetti Westerns, Eurospies, and went on to play roles in many Eurocult films in the 1970s, including the infamous EMANUELLE IN AMERICA.

Retro Friday : Location - Tor Caldara

(originally posted on June 21, 2011)

Practically every PEPLUM film shot a scene in that often dried up riverbed so there's no point of mentioning them but here are a couple of examples.


Lex Barker and cast in ROBIN HOOD AND THE PIRATES

Susy Andersen as Actis in SAPPHO THE VENUS OF LESBOS

The spectacular climax from HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES starring Iloosh Khoshabe and Kirk Morris