Friday, June 30, 2017

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott, as Hercules, fights the sea monster of Troy in HERCULES & THE PRINCESS OF TROY (1965)

The monster was created by Carlo Rambaldi, who also created E.T.. This was a TV pilot and it didn't succeed in greenlighting a TV series. An oddity in the PEPLUM genre. I'm still glad it was made. Scott was never in better form.

Retro Friday : Canadian PEPLUM stars

(originally posted September 2012)

Tomorrow is Canada Day so I'm reposting this :

For a country with a small population, Canada has certainly contributed a lot to the PEPLUM genre. With a pretty eclectic mix of personalities, including one muscleman, in the form of Samson Burke. Christopher Plummer is probably the most celebrated actor from the list (he finally won an Oscar® last year for best supporting actor) and his energetic performance in FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE actually helped make the long film watchable. I wanted to add Barry Morse to the list but he was born and died in the UK even though he lived most of his life in Canada. I'll try to list actors from other various countries in upcoming posts.

Uploaded to Special Features page

Christopher Plummer as Commodus in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE; Chris was born in Toronto.

Samson Burke in THE 3 STOOGES MEET HERCULES; Samson was born in Montreal.

Montreal native William Shatner acts it up to Joseph Cotten in the failed TV series ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Lang Jeffries from FIRE OVER ROME. Lang was born in Ontario. Lang had a pretty solid streak in the PEPLUM genre.

André Lawrence, from Montreal, in 7 FROM THEBES

Geneviève Bujold made several films set in Medieval times but she also played Cleopatra in a TV production of George Bernard Shaw's CAESAR & CLEOPATRA with Alec Guiness.

Canadian born Stephen Forsyth is being strangled by Alberto Lupo in REVENGE OF THE CRUSADERS, written by Riccardo Freda.

Yvonne de Carlo played Sephora in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS with Charlton Heston as Moses; I wasn't aware she was from Canada; born in Vancouver. Yvonne appeared in a couple of other S&S films, including some made in Italy.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

By the Gods!

Nabila Abid and Omar Sharif in REVOLT OF THE MAMALUKS (1965?)

An Egyptian film dubbed by English voice actors who've also worked on Italian PEPLUM productions. The information for this film is difficult to track. Some places say the film was made in 1962 while most places, including IMDb, say that the film was made in 1965. The IMDb listing is completely lacking. The original Egyptian version is nearly 2 hours long while the English dubbed version is 91 minutes long. IMDb says the film is in Black & White while the Egyptian version is in color!!! 

Omar Sharif (credited as Omar El Cherif in the English copy) became a big star in and around this film so I believe this was made in 1962. I'm thinking of doing a Fan Dub but since the original length is much longer that the English track, I'll have to edit a lot of scenes out of it.


Fight scene from Samson Against the Sheik starring Ed Fury. Action packed!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

By the Gods!

Helga Liné watches as Milton Reid and Dan Vadis duke it out during the climax to SPARTACUS & THE TEN GLADIATORS (1964)

Action packed conclusion to a fun film. Aside from the use of stock footage, almost everything in this the third of three films works. Directed by Nick Nostro, who also directed other action films, like SUPERCARGO VS DIABOLIKUS. TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS was released in Italy one month prior to this one. So Italians were privy of two TEN GLADIATORS films in one month!!!


Jack Palance and Pietro Ceccarelli have fun with an unnamed extra (she was one of the dancers) while filming REVAK THE REBEL (aka The Barbarians, 1960)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

By the Gods!

Marc Antony (Bruno Garcia) and Cleopatra (Alessandra Negrini) from CLEOPATRA (2007)

This is a Portuguese film directed by Júlio Bressane, who's been making films since the 1960s. More of an art production than a story driven film. I didn't watch it yet from beginning to end so I can't give an opinion about it but it does look interesting. Different than the usual stuff made today.

Celebs and their Roman costumes

© Graham Sumner 

Here's a montage of photos taken by artist Graham Sumner, who works on a series that is now in the magazine 'Ancient History' published by Karwansaray. He presented some of his portraits to actors that appeared in PEPLUM productions at the Wales Comic Con. Cool stuff. Thanks Graham.

From left to right :

James Cosmo holds a drawing of himself with the costume he wore in the recent BEN-HUR (below, 2016). The drawing is incomplete.

John Rhys-Davies and his portrait of Macro from the I, CLAUDIUS (1976) mini-series

And Kevin McNally displays a drawing of himself as a centurion from MASADA (1981) TV mini-series (with Peter O'Toole)

Monday, June 26, 2017

By the Gods!

Orson Welles, as King Saul, in DAVID & GOLIATH (1960)

Considered by many as being the greatest filmmaker of all time, Welles made several PEPLUM films during the 1960s when his career as a director was nearly over. He apparently directed his own scenes, which would this film one of those with more than two directors. Richard Pottier and Ferdinando Baldi are the other directors (for English and Italian versions). I don't know his views on the PEPLUM genre itself but I know that the genre has an amazing pedigree of stars and celebs which, today, is pretty much forgotten or dismissed.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (aka Slave of Carthage ; 1956)

One of the first color PEPLUM films made in Italy. This starred a pre-HERCULES Gianna Maria Canale. The film was released 4 years later in the US.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

By the Gods!

Hercules (Steve Reeves) meets Iole (Sylva Koscina) in HERCULES (1958)

Summer is here and it's time to hit the beach! Preeminent beefcake and cheesecake of the 1950s!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

By the Gods!

Karin Dor, as Brunhild, in WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY (part 1 ; 1966)

A German production on the often filmed story of folklore tale of Siegfried and Brunhild. Fritz Lang filmed the same story in the 1920s. And an Italian production was made and released in 1957, directed by Giacomo Gentilomo. The cast is mostly Germans but there are some familiar faces for PEPLUM fans, including Mario Girotti (aka Terence Hill) and Samson Burke. When I watch this film, it reminds me on how much I love Italian productions. Not that there's anything wrong with this film, it just lacks that style and quality I'm so used to watching with Italian films. Production values are very good but the film looks and feels stagey. I don't know why German tales are so hard to film compared to the Greco-Roman kind (I have to write an article on this). The beautiful Karin Dor would star in the James Bond film, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), after this. A sequel was released in 1967 as well.


Henri Vidal, with modern hat, chats with crew member during the filming of FABIOLA (1949)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

By the Gods!

Gilberto Galimberti  (with Gabriele Antonini, right) in REVOLT OF THE BARBARIANS (1964)

Gilberto died on June 16. He was 84 years old. He was mainly an actor who worked in the background, rarely had speaking parts but is one of those recognizable faces you see in Italian films. He appeared in at least 8 PEPLUM films, and dozens of Spaghetti Westerns and Eurospy films. His first movie was THE NORMANS (1962), playing a henchman to Cameron Mitchell's character. RIP.

Different Titles : THE NORMANS

Here's a quick overview of the different titles for THE NORMANS (1962), directed by Giuseppe Vari. The original Italian title translates as THE NORMANS, which is not listed anywhere as being a specific title for a country, so I assume that English title is what's known as the International English version. The US version, shown on TV, was ATTACK OF THE NORMANS. The German title is a literal translation of the Italian one. Today, the film is mainly known as CONQUEST OF THE NORMANS, which is the title used for the home video market. I have different copies of this and not one of them has that title. Hmm...

At the bottom are two screenshots : the International English version and the Italian version. The first one has nice colours and such but the screen size is smaller and the image is fuzzy. The Italian copy is in widescreen (not the original widescreen I believe) but the colours have a yellowish tint. I want to do a FanDub of this, using the English track and adding to the Italian copy but I wonder if it's worth it.

Original Italian title

I assume this is the International English title

US TV title

German title

English version in standard aspect ratio vs Italian version in widescreen. Which is best? Cameron Mitchell and Franca Bettoia.

Monday, June 19, 2017

By the Gods!

Messalina (Lisa Gastoni) eyes Glaucus (Richard Harrison) in THE LAST GLADIATOR (aka Messalina vs Son of Hercules ; 1964)

Enjoying PEPLUM directed by Umberto Lenzi, who went on to makes TONS of films in the 1970s and 1980s. Many directors of those two decades actually started with the PEPLUM genre. Lisa is fabulous as Messalina. She gives one of the best performance of the nefarious Empress. Richard is his dependable self. One of his better efforts. The 'official' English title doesn't make a lick of sense so I prefer calling it by the literal translation of the Italian title.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963)

Great poster of a favourite PEPLUM of mine. I recently completed a FanDub of this. It's quite spectacular. I'll be uploading it once I get a Patreon / Paypal thing going full time.

Friday, June 16, 2017

By the Gods!

Mylène Demongeot in GOLD FOR THE CAESARS (1963)

I really like Mylène in this film, even with the anachronistic hairdo and style. She's caught in a terrible threesome and she's quite right for the role : pouting and sultry. A woman not happy with the circumstances she's in. This film has everything going for it and it could have been one of the greats but it's missing just a few elements to make it a home run. But as 'serious' PEPLUM films go, it's one of the tops.

Retro Friday : Location - Castello Orsini-Odescalchi

(originally posted April 2013)

This castle in the province of Rome was used in several PEPLUM productions. It's almost always well utilized. It can stand as a spooky place or a beautiful regal place or a dilapidated location, depending of the storyline. It's quite impressive in photos taken from a helicopter.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

By the Gods!

Hercules (Maciste in the original ; Alan Steel) is put to the test of his life in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

Classic scene! Probably the most unfairly maligned PEPLUM film of the entire genre. This film is actually fun, action-packed and with some amazing imagery. And Alan is in top form. Yes, this contraption is over-the-top but who care when the scene is this good and memorable.

Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

By the Gods!

Hercules (Steve Reeves) battles with Antaeus (Primo Carnera) in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

This was Primo's last film as an actor. The world famous wrestler retired after appearing in over 22 film / tv roles. It's probably his most recognizable as well. As for Steve, well, his career didn't last long (a solid ten years, with his biggest roles from 1954 to 1964) but he was at the height of his career with this sequel to HERCULES (1958). Steve was THE action star of the late 1950s and early 1960s.


A lady with a fan cools down Liam Neeson during a break from filming CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

By the Gods!

Princess Amina (Carmen Sevilla) and her friend Aicha (Mariangela Giordano) notice the 'desert warrior' in a market below in DESERT WARRIOR (1957)

Carmen Sevilla was a big star back in the 1950s. She got top billing for this film, over Ricardo Montalbano. Remarkably, the Spanish-born star is alive today. As for Italian-born Mariangela, who's also still alive today, she appeared in a handful of PEPLUM films in small supporting roles, including THE MIGHTY URSUS (1961) and COLOSSUS & THE AMAZON QUEEN (1960). Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

Identify this movie!

Can you identify the film from this image?

Paul Schembri got it right : it's from CALIGULA 2 : THE UNTOLD STORY (1982)

Monday, June 12, 2017

By the Gods!

Claude Dantes and Tony Kendall in THE MASKED MAN AGAINST THE PIRATES (1964)

As noted below, I recently got hold of this hard to get film. In a funny case of coincidence, I was chatting with a blog follower about a certain actor, Giovanni Vari. I helped him identify the actor and by looking at the actor's list of titles, I came across this title and added this title to the Ultimate Most Wanted list (which I'm updating at the moment) and then just this past weekend, someone else sent me a list of titles of films they just got, and this one was part of it! Funny how things work out in the end. Exterior scenes were almost entirely shot at the most popular location with PEPLUM productions, Tor Caldara (seen in the screenshot above). I already wrote about this famous location here at the blog : link. This is also the kind of film its entire cast crew weren't really involved in the making of many other PEPLUM films, which makes it more difficult to come across. 

Movie Poster Mondays


I recently got hold of this film. Interesting. The poster is wild!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

By the Gods!

Olympias (Angelina Jolie) and Alexander (Colin Farrell) are mother and son in ALEXANDER (2004)

Right off the bat, I have to admit that I don't like this film. Even though it looks good, everything about it rubs me the wrong way. Director Oliver Stone doesn't know how to film a PEPLUM production. His (disjointed) style doesn't work with this expensive production. A film like this has to have a certain amount of nobility or grandiose vision, which it lacks. Also, it's really bad camp, with Farrell wide-eyed throughout. Every time he's one screen, I always fight the need to laugh out loud. As for Angelina, her awful accent and over-acting (actually, everyone overacts in this) as Alexander's mother, well, it doesn't get any worse than this. Like so many films such as this one (old and new), the entire international cast have conflicting accents. It's one of those odd things which afflicts the genre (think of QUO VADIS and Robert Taylor's American accent versus the British accents from most of the cast). THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) is camp but at least it's brilliant camp. This production is near risible camp. In parts, it's almost unwatchable. The film was a flop and the infamous same-sex love interest didn't help it at the box office but in the end the film itself was the reason no one wanted to see it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

By the Gods!

Conrado San Martín, Howard Ross, Yann Larvor and Nadir Moretti in SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964)

Actually this screenshot is taken from HERCULES RETURNS (1993), an Australian comedy where  the dialogue was changed and re-dubbed for comedic purposes. I didn't take a screenshot of scenes set in contemporary times because, well, they're dull. I'm not a big fan of films making fun of other films, like MST3K, which is a bane on the entire genre (I can't upload HERCULES at PEPLUM TV because of them).

As for this scene, which takes place at the end, I have to say that the costumes on the 3 bodybuilders are truly unflattering. They're not fat by any means but those costumes somehow make them look overweight. Howard Ross' career continued up until the 1980s. Yann stopped making films soon after this one. And Nadir's career was also short-lived but he, at least, starred in Fellini's JULIET OF THE SPIRITS. The three are Maciste, Ursus and Samson. Conrado is almost unrecognizable here. His uniform is cool.


Pietro Torrisi and director Gianfranco Parolini (mustard coat) chat while attending the Tavola Rotonda Peplum - The 8th Rome Film Festival. Photo taken in 2013.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

By the Gods!

Maciste (Kirk Morris) is summoned by a sage (Nando Tamberlani) in MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (aka Hercules of the Desert ; 1964)

Maciste means 'from the rock.' In this film, it's one of the few movie that shows Maciste appearing out from a rocky cliff. The English title, HERCULES OF THE DESERT, is silly since Hercules doesn't appear when summoned. It's the reason why I prefer a literal translation of the original Italian title.

Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

RIP : José Greci

Every time I take a break, someone from the PEPLUM universe dies. This time it's one of my favourite actresses, José Greci. She died on June 1. She was 76. Her film big break was Mary in BEN-HUR (1959). After that small role José starred in a string of PEPLUM films. She's one of the Queens of the genre. She's also one of the actresses at the "Babes & Beauties" permanent page.


BEN-HUR (1959)
José played Mary in this Hollywood epic. Her role was minimal but it was enough to get her career going forward. I recently posted a behind-the-scenes video here heralding the newcomer.

José Greci starred with Daniela Rocca in this overlooked film. Their 'love-hate' relationship in this film is the best thing about it.


José along with Virna Lisi and Jacques Sernas. I wished her role was bigger in this but whenever she was on screen she was captivating.

José with Stelio Candela. She had a small supporting role in this


José played a queen in this action-packed film. That's Erno Crisa in both screenshots


José starred with Gloria Milland, among other stars, including Dan Vadis and Alan Steel

Gordon Scott was José's love interest in this fun film

José and Mark Forest compete in a chariot race

José in another fun action packed film

José co-starred with Mark Forest again and Maria Grazia Spina. One of my favourite PEPs


José co-starred with Dan Vadis and Mimmo Palmara (below)

Enzo Tarascio, as Emperor Commodus, with José in a familiar situation

José was in this Mikey Hargitay vehicle

José's last PEPLUM film was this Michele Lupo over-the-top actioner