Friday, July 28, 2017

By the Gods!

I'm taking some time off. I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"

I'll be back soon enough

PS : If any PEPLUM star die while I'm away, R.I.P..

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In the past 2 months or so the PEPLUM TV channel gained over 4.5 million views!!! And gained well over 5 thousand new subscribers!

Unfortunately, just this past week, Youtube sorta 'ghosted' my channel, meaning that people, mainly subscribers, can't see that I've uploaded new videos, including the new films posted below. It's important to support the channel. Send out links to the videos to friends and other fans of the genre.

And please don't take it upon yourselves to contact Youtube to complain on my behalf. This is what caused this problem.


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Thursday, July 27, 2017

By the Gods!

Maciste (Kirk Morris) is put to the test in MACISTE AGAINST THE CZAR (1964 ; Atlas against the Czar)

Fun film with Morris in top form. This is one of many time Kirk played Maciste, the mysterious and timeless Angel-like man with super powers. The way Maciste is introduced in this film is great and unique. There are a lot of memorable scenes, including the moment from this screenshot. My only problem with it is that there's some obvious padding here and there but it's a minor gripe over an overall entertaining film. If everything works out as planned (i.e. copyright), I will be uploading this on PEPLUM TV. So support the channel!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By the Gods!

Enzo Fiermonte and Steve Reeves, as Randus, in SON OF SPARTACUS (1962)

I like this film. It's the best from future Spaghetti Western director, Sergio Corbucci. I've already stated my reservations for this film (mainly that the ending is a letdown) but in this photo, there's another pet peeve : Steve is a bit too clean cut here. He should have had some stubble or looked a bit more disheveled. It's sometimes hard to see him as a desert warrior of sorts. As for Enzo, he was a regular actor of the genre. He appeared in many films, including the Ten Gladiators series. Good actor.


Tyrone Power, Gina Lollobrigida and director King Vidor discuss a scene during the filming of SOLOMON & SHEBA (1959).

Power would have been such a great Solomon but he died during production and Yul Brynner replaced him.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

By the Gods!

Ivan Rassimov as Sandokan in LE TIGRI DI MOMPRACEM (1970)

The Sandokan series of films started with Steve Reeves playing the titular character. Several different actors played Sandokan, including Ray Danton and Kabir Bedi. For me, the question is : how does one go from Steve Reeves to Ivan? The two men couldn't be more different. That's Andrea Bosic on the left. Andrea was also in the two Reeves versions. This movie wasn't translated into English. Any English subs out there?

Then & Now : Geneviève Bujold

Geneviève as Cleopatra in a TV production of CAESAR & CLEOPATRA (1976) ; a recent photo of Geneviève

Monday, July 24, 2017

By the Gods!

Two men are reproached by Abraham after fighting with each other (in mud) in JACOB - THE MAN WHO FOUGHT WITH GOD (1963)

Now this scene might not seem to be that interesting but it is. First, this mud wrestling scene is totally out of character with the rest of the film, which is pretty tame (there's a surprisingly good number of mud wrestling scenes in PEPLUM films). Second, the actor on the right is Salvatore Borghese, who's not listed anywhere, in the film's credits or at IMDb. Salvatore, or simply Sal Borgese, was one of the TEN GLADIATORS, Nino the mute. He's a very physical actor (does his own stunts, etc), so it's no surprise he showed up in this scene. And third, the fellow on the left might be Emilio Messina, also from the TEN GLADIATORS film, amongst other films. It's difficult to say as he's covered in mud and initially, when he starts the fight, we only see him from a distance. If it's Emilio, he's also not credited. This is odd because the actors who played lead roles in these Marcello Baldi films are less familiar than these PEPLUM actors.

An extra note, a PEPLUM friend, Alan, sent me what appeared to be different versions of this film. 6 movie files in total. I studied then and sorted them out and figured out the differences between versions. It was quite a challenge. This movie was re-edited with other films from a set of Biblical films directed by Baldi. The first film, I PATRIARCHI (1963), then JACOB - THE MAN WHO FOUGHT WITH GOD (1963). SAUL & DAVID (1964) and finally, THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE (1965). I PATRIARCHI was never released in English, and scenes from it ended up in some versions of JACOB, while another version of JACOB has no scenes from it. Very confusing. But I figured it out. This Biblical series from Baldi was quite an undertaking. I think it would be cool to view all four productions, edited all together in one long film. It would be EPIC.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster for THE NORMANS (1962)

Colourful artwork. The literal translation of the title is THE VIKINGS ATTACK. More interesting than THE NORMANS, which is probably the dullest title of the PEPLUM genre. It's also known as ATTACK OF THE NORMANS but the title of the Fan Dub I've made is the dull one. But the film is not dull. Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

By the Gods!

Nando Angelini greets Sandokan (Steve Reeves) in SANDOKAN - THE PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

Steve Reeves' Sandokan films are fun films, and this one is no exception. Good productions and above average scripts made these winners. In this scene, Reeves receives some clothes and Nando Angelini gives them to him, meeting him for the first time.

Just prior to this moment, a spectacular scene of people bringing the clothes to the royal palace was re-used in another Sandokan film, LE TIGRI DI MOMPRACEM (1970) starring Ivan Rassimov as the titular character.

Nando Angelini appeared in TONS of films in just a short span : over 80 in less than ten years. Before being a fan of the PEPLUM genre, I didn't know his name. Now, I can recognize him on sight.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By the Gods!

Peter Lupus manhandles Emilio Messina, as Halina Zalewska watches, in GIANT OF EVIL ISLAND (1965)

Lupus' screen name, back in those days, was Rock Stevens. He made 4 films in Europe before joining MISSION : IMPOSSIBLE TV series. This was his last Italian production. It's a fun film but those who are fans of Peter's unique physique will be disappointed since he keeps his clothes on during the entire film. Messina and Lupus duke it out after this moment.


A behind-the-scenes photo of Martin Landau and Elizabeth Taylor preparing for a scene from CLEOPATRA (1963). R.I.P., Martin.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

By the Gods!

Marco Polo (Horst Buchholz) gets to know The Girl With The Whip (Elsa Martinelli) in MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT (1965)

Elsa died on July 8. She was 82. Elsa was one of the best thing in this odd fantasy version of the life of Marco Polo. She wore some outlandish costumes (see here). And her official name in this film is The Girl With The Whip. Elsa was in some other favourite films, including BLOOD & ROSES and OSS 117 TAKES A VACATION. She was a scene stealer. She didn't star in many PEPLUM films, in fact this is her only one, but regardless R.I.P. Elsa!

The purging of HERCULES (1958) from Youtube

HERCULES (1958), starring Steve Reeves and directed by Pietro Francisci, is a public domain film in North America. It's been like this for a long time. The film has been available on Youtube from TONS of different sources since it's a decent film that everyone can upload. Not anymore. Yesterday, I got a message from Youtube (above) that the only clip I had uploaded at my Youtube channel was now blocked worldwide. A company named ONE rpm Entertainment have claimed copyright infringement. Who are they? I have no idea but after looking into it, they're a third party who makes these claims on behalf of a subscriber to their services. So trying to figure out who exactly made this bogus claim is impossible.

I'm not the only one who's affected by this. As I've mentioned, HERCULES was available from tons of channels. Below, the screenshot on the left was taken yesterday. The screenshot on the right was taken today. So the channel VULTURE, which had the film yesterday, doesn't have HERCULES anymore. There are only two channels left that have it, AMPOPFILMS and RBM pictures (the other one is a Spanish version...I don't know if other languages are affected by this). I suspect it's one of these two channels that made this bogus claim.

Youtube is clearly becoming almost impossible to use. HERCULES is my favourite PEPLUM film, and one I should have at my PEPLUM TV channel, and yet I can't upload it because a shady company claims it has the rights to it. Even before this, there were two other companies that claimed it, including the company that manages the MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) series. It's getting bad!

Monday, July 17, 2017

By the Gods!

Rufio (Martin Landau) and Mark Antony (Richard Burton) watch as Cleopatra's golden vessel arrives in Tarsus in CLEOPATRA (1963)

Martin Landau passed away on July 15. He was 89 years old. Though he enjoyed a prolific career, Landau made just a couple of PEPLUM films. His other big film was THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. He's most famous for starring in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, MISSION : IMPOSSIBLE and SPACE : 1999 tv series (the Hitchcock classic and S1999 being favourites of mine). Landau gave a good performance in CLEOPATRA. RIP.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

Steve Reeves is shown as a gladiator and his character does end up in an arena but he's not a gladiator. I guess this is where the 'legend' of Reeves having played a gladiator started.

Friday, July 14, 2017

By the Gods!

Moira Orfei and Mimmo Palmara are an evil couple in THE TWO GLADIATORS (1964)

Moira passed away in 2015 and Mimmo died over a year ago. Two big genre stars who made a sexy, evil couple. I didn't do a full profile of Mimmo when he died last summer. I feel guilty about it because he's one of the big stars of the genre. Good, solid film. 

Retro Friday : When bad beards happen to good films

(originally posted April 2012)

Guy Rolfe in REVAK THE REBEL (1960)

Alfio Caltabiano and Erno Crisa in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965)


Walter Grant in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Paul Muller and Giulio Donnini in CONQUEROR OF THE ORIENT (1960), which is a smorgasbord of bad beards

Thursday, July 13, 2017

By the Gods!

Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) tries to figure out Samson (Victor Mature) and his formidable God-given strength in SAMSON & DELILAH (1949)

Basically, the movie is 90 minutes of a sneaky Delilah trying to get to Samson's secret, who mostly plays coy, up until it was time of the reveal. I like this film and it's entertaining but let's face it, Samson & Delilah is not a complex story and could have easily been told in a short story format. But Cecil B. DeMille toyed with audiences by having the two actors (sexually) flirt which each other for minutes on end.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

By the Gods!

Olympia (Marilù Tolo) seduces Maciste in MACISTE - GADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

This is Marilù's only dance number for her PEPLUM movies. It's very short and nice but it's quite apparent that she wasn't 100% comfortable with her moves. She was 20 years old when she made this film. Amazing. The 'official' English title is the ludicrous : The Terror Of Rome Against The Son Of Hercules. I prefer the Maciste one. 


A candid photo of Steve Reeves during the filming of THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

By the Gods!

Mark Damon tries to survive in THE 100 HORSEMEN (1964)

A quasi experimental film directed by Vittorio Cottofavi, who also directed HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN and GOLIATH & THE DRAGON. I'm certain most of the film was ad-libbed. It doesn't feel solid even though the story needed some structure. It's very 'off the cuff.' Like other Cottofavi films, it's a mix of comedy and violence that might be off putting to some viewers. Mark Damon made several films in Europe before moving back to the US and produce Hollywood films like MONSTER and WILD ORCHID!

RIP : Joe Robinson

Joe Robinson passed away on July 3rd. He was 90 years old. Good looking and in top form, Joe was seemingly made for the PEPLUM genre. Though he was limited as an actor, he had obvious screen presence and was always a positive addition to any production. Joe retired after appearing as a killer in the James Bond film, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. RIP mighty Joe.


Joe was a supporting player in this film, which was a mistake. He should have been the star. Oh well...he co-starred with Cameron Mitchell (below)


Joe had small part in this super-production. He played a beefy gladiator, favoured by Jack Palance (above). It's a shame his role was so brief because Joe was perfect as a gladiator. Below is Joe with other actors, including Vittorio Gassman and Anthony Quinn. Great photo.

Joe played Ursus in this film. One of the few blond PEPLUM heroes. 


Joe co-starred with Harry Baird in TAUR THE MIGHTY, a pseudo Tarzan-like production which had to change name and title after Edgar Rice Burroughs estate threatened to take the producers to court. Very little of Tarzan remained in the final production. A wacky movie that could only have been made during the PEPLUM craze. It also starred Bella Cortez as the evil Queen (below)


An unofficial sequel of sorts to TAUR. This time the name changed to THOR and it also starred Harry Baird and other actor from TAUR. A battle of the sexes set in some unspecific time in the past. Like TAUR THE MIGHTY, it's very over-the-top and wacky. In other words, very entertaining.

Joe with Primo Carnera in A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS (1955). Made before the PEPLUM explosion, both men would eventually end up in PEPLUM productions.

Monday, July 10, 2017

By the Gods!

Pascale Petit, as Cleopatra, schemes some history with Apollodorus (Franco Volpi) in A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962)

This, imo, is how a PEPLUM should be : a pulpy version of history. As long as it's entertaining, what's bad about it? The relationship between these two (characters and actors) is fun. Directed by Piero Pierotti and an uncredited Viktor Tourjansky, who I think is wonderful. Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of CAPTAIN SINDBAD (1963)

This poster is for a re-release, from the 1970s. The artwork is a collage of different artwork from different films. In the center, it's Steve Reeves from THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961). The flying horses are also from the Reeves movie. Then on the left there are scenes from THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973). And on the top right is an actual scene from this film starring Guy Williams. Talk about Cinematic Confusion.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

By the Gods!

Karim (Steve Reeves) steals from corrupt Gamal (Daniele Vargas) in THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

A colourful adventure with Steve playing against type (he's not a super powerful man in this...just a great thief). It has a wonderful score and it's perfect viewing for the winter holiday period. My only complaint is that the film still hasn't been released in a proper widescreen version (with color correction) anywhere. Even official DVDs released in Europe suck. Hopefully it will be broadcast in HD in its correct aspect ratio somewhere and someone will record it!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

By the Gods!

Feast / orgy scene from FRINE - COURTESAN OF THE ORIENT (1953)

Some racy scenes in this early PEPLUM production, including some brief scene of a topless female slave. The film was indirectly remade (with totally different storyline but same results) as APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958). Both films were written and directed by Mario Bonnard. It's fun to compare and spot the differences between the two, such the props and costumes. No English dubbed version exists at the moment.


A young Richard Harrison gets ready for his career in PEPLUM films

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

By the Gods!

Vittorio Gassman in THE VIOLENT PATRIOT (1956)

Good production even though it's quite obvious the film had a limited budget. It's mainly known under this title but my copy, in widescreen and English, the title is JOHN OF THE BLACK GANGS. The Italian title is GIOVANNI DALLE BANDE NERE. Directed by Sergio Grieco, which we all know what that means : uneven, with moments of greatest amidst some moments of mediocrity. Vittorio Gassman's reputation as an actor extended all the way to Hollywood. He even married Shelley Winters at one point. Their marriage lasted two years. 

Then & Now : Robert Hossein

Robert in ANGELIQUE (1964) ; a recent photo of the French actor. He's 89 years old

Monday, July 3, 2017

By the Gods!

Gérard Landry (under the hood) is THE BLACK DEVIL (1957)

That's Maurizio Arena on the left. A hard to find film. From what I know, it's only available at one outlet. It's a Zorro-like story : a mysterious masked hero who's a defender of the oppressed. I have it but it's in Black & White while the original version was filmed in color. Landry made many PEPLUM films while Arena had a long career but appeared in few genre films.