Tuesday, October 31, 2017

By the Gods!

Hercules (Alan Steel) is cornered by Moon Men in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

There aren't that many spooky or scary PEPLUM films. There's ROME AGAINST ROME and HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, the MUMMY films and such. There are plenty of monsters and strange places in movie of the PEPLUM genre, which may evoke fear or creepiness but all out horror films set in Antiquity are pretty few, which is unfortunate because it seems perfectly suited for it. One of the scariest scenes in any film is in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956), with that green mist coming down from the sky and killing off all first born babies. This scene in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN is actually very cool, thanks mainly to the green tint. Have a safe and fun Halloween.

a PEPLUM Halloween

Halloween costumes based on clothes worn during Antiquity are always popular during Halloween. The films themselves are often known mainly to their resplendent pageantry of elaborate costumes (or lack thereof) and are an endless source of inspiration. Here's just a small sample.

Monday, October 30, 2017

By the Gods!

Attea (Moira Orfei) worships to the goddess of her cult in THE MIGHTY URSUS (1961)

I love scenes like this and Moira excels in these scenes (it's not her first). I always try to get the name of the goddess but I don't how it's spelled. Sis? Zis? I know it's not Isis. If someone knows, please tell me. Moira's character in this is incredibly evil. In fact, the entire film is rife with evil characters. It's a very odd film of the PEPLUM genre (plays more like a murder / mystery).

Addendum : Stephen Smith informed me that, according to an Italian book on PEPLUM films, the spelling of the goddess is Zaas.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961)

Nice artwork, probably the best poster for this film, from any country. The US poster is dreadful. I made a nice Fan Dub of this (again, the US print available everywhere is dreadful) and I uploaded this film at my PEPLUM TV channel.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

By the Gods!

The demise of Proteus in HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961)

I really like this monster in the movie. The detailing, as seen in this clear image, is excellent. The eye and scaling still look good by today's standards. One of my favourite PEPLUM films, unjustifiably maligned by haters. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

By the Gods!

Venus (Jackie Lane) tries to grab thunderbolts from Mars (Roger Browne) in MARS - GOD OF WAR (1962)

I like this film even though many might not. I have to say that it's a unique film within the PEPLUM genre. There's no other film quite like it. For me, I think this makes it good while those expecting the same might be disappointed. Venus here appears in the likeness of Daphne, the mortal woman Mars has fallen in love with. The US title is Venus against the Son of Hercules, which doesn't make any sense at all. Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

The PEPLUM films of Umberto Lenzi

Last Friday, Italian director Umberto Lenzi died at the age of 86. His long career, with over 60 films, started in the early 1960s making PEPLUM films. Once the genre died off, he went on to direct so called Euro-cult films in the 1970s and 1980s like CANNIBAL FEROX and NIGHTMARE CITY (!!!). Regardless of his latter output, his PEPLUM films were always solidly directed and entertaining. Here's a list of his genre films. R.I.P..

Lisa Gastoni and Jerome Courtland in QUEEN OF THE SEAS (1961)

The cast of TRIUMPH OF ROBIN HOOD (1962), including Gia Scala, Don Burnett and Samson Burke ad Little John

CATHERINE OF RUSSIA (1963) starring Hildegard Knef and Giacomo Rossi Stuart

Pierre Brice and Hélène Chanel in INVINCIBLE MASKED RIDER (1963)

Pierre Brice and Alan Steel in ZORRO VS MACISTE (1963 ; also known as Samson & the Slave Queen)

Geneviève Grad and Steve Reeves in SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963). One of the best from Umberto Lenzi.

Sean Flynn and John Kitzmiller in TEMPLE OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT (1964)

Richard Harrison and Lisa Gastoni in THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964 ; also known as Messalina vs the Son of Hercules). This is my favourite Umberto Lenzi PEPLUM film.

Nando Angelini and Steve Reeves in SANDOKAN - THE PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964). Another top notch film.

Wilbert Bradley and Richard Harrison in TEMPLE OF A THOUSAND LIGHTS (1965)

Elvire Audray and Sam Pasco in IRONMASTER (1983). Entertaining film and one of the better Italian PEPLUM films of the 1980s.

Umberto Lenzi 1931–2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

By the Gods!

Alan Steel and Mimmo Palmara battle it out (again) in THE 3 AVENGERS (1964)

This is not the first film the two PEPLUM stars worked together, and fought against each other. Unlike most bodybuilders turned actors, these two men actually did their own stunts, and sometimes did the stuntwork for other actors. When these two duke it out, it's them all the time, which makes these scenes more believable (and probably easier for the director as well). This entire scene is great : location, setting, costumes  (or lack thereof), etc. The one thing which is not so great about the costumes are the boots. I never understood why in some films our hero (and villain) wears go-go style boots. They seem to be anachronistic. Oh well...

Real PEPLUM : Hercules carved into limestone in Turkey

Carole Raddato is someone I follow on Twitter and Flickr, and recently she and her boyfriend Alan visited Turkey and took some pictures of this amazing old carving of Hercules. She wrote :

'Unfinished relief of Hercules carved into a limestone block in a quarry outside of Nicaea, 3rd century AD, Iznik, Turkey'

Cool stuff!

Carole's Flickr account and her Twitter account!

Monday, October 23, 2017

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott and Gianna Maria Canale star in THE LION OF ST. MARK (1963)

Fun adventure film with two of my favourite actors of the PEPLUM genre together again. Scott and Canale had already appeared together in GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961). It's always fun to see familiar actors of the genre work together. It's something sorta lacking in many productions. Of course, this was all due to movie contracts, and which actor was signed up to which studio or production company, limiting the possibilities of familiar faces working together. Nice production, score and costumes.

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster of ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956)

I love it. It captures the spirit of the Pietro Francisci film! I uploaded two clips from this film at PEPLUM TV. Battle and Angelica.

Friday, October 20, 2017

By the Gods!

Moira Orfei, Massimo Serato make an offer to Alan Steel in SAMSON & THE SLAVE QUEEN (Zorro vs Maciste ; 1963)

This fun film was directed by Umberto Lenzi, who died on October 19. He was 86 years old. Like so many in Italian cinema, Lenzi began his career making PEPLUM films and once the genre died in the mid-60s, he moved on to direct Eurospy films and then horror films in the 1970s and 1980s. His PEPLUM films are solid and often entertaining. I'll make a tribute next week.

My recent acquisitions + review

I purchased several books and DVDs over the course of last summer. I wanted to post about these purchases months ago but some of these items took over 2 months to arrive (if at all). Three DVDs took 2 months to arrive. One DVD never arrived and I was sent a replacement, only to receive the original DVD months after! I bought the UOMINI FORTI DVD on eBay at the beginning of August. They said it was shipped a few days after the purchase. I received it the first week of October!!! Needless to say, I'll never buy anything from Italy again. The postal service there is ridiculously slow.

Aside from UOMINI FORTI and THE BLACK DUKE, I already had all of these titles in my huge collection but wanted to see how these versions compared with what I already have. I'll reviews these purchases from time to time. I want the reviews to be a regular feature here at the blog. I'll also be updating my ULTIMATE MOST WANTED list and these purchases, including the books, help in sorting out that list.

(Just as a side note, all of these purchases were made before receiving any Paypal donations)


ITALIAN SWORD & SANDAL FILMS by Roy Kinnard and Tony Crnkovich

IL GRANDE LIBRO DI ERCOLE by Steve Della Casa and Marco Giusti

PEPLUM - Il Cinema Alle Prese Col Mondo Antico by Francesco Di Chiara

EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY - Beginnings and Early Ionian Thinkers (nothing to do with films but just for the spirit of the genre)

DVDs :

Italian DVDs

MACISTE ALL'INFERNO (Maciste in Hell ; 1962) - Gotico Italiano edition

I TARTARI (The Tartars ; 1961) - Cristal D Film edition

IL GIGANTE DI METROPOLIS (Giant of Metropolis ; 1961) - Sinister Film edition

UOMINI FORTI (Iron Men) - Documentary - Istituto Luce

German DVDs

CESARE BORGIA (The Black Duke ; 1963 ) - VZ-Handelsgesellschaft mbH edition

SPARTACUS DER TITAN MIT DER EISERNEN FAUST (Colossus of Rome ; Hero of Rome ; 1964) - VZ-Handelsgesellschaft mbH edition

Spanish DVDs

JULIO CESAR - El Conquistadorde la Galia ( Caesar the Conqueror ; 1962) - Filmax edition

French DVDs

LES CLASSIQUES DU PEPLUM DVD set (5 films) - RDMV edition

My first review will be for the ITALIAN SWORD & SANDAL FILMS book. It will be a short review.

I purchased the digital edition of ITALIAN SWORD AND SANDAL FILMS. This book simply consists of film titles, credits, some reproduction of movie posters and nothing else. No reviews or comments. There are some tiny comments at the bottom of each title but they only describe distribution companies. No details about the films themselves.

If you're not familiar with the PEPLUM genre, or the Sword & Sandal genre, then this book might help as a one-stop source but I doubt anyone without some prior knowledge of the genre would buy it. And there are many other books out there on the PEPLUM genre with lists of titles but they also include comments and reviews. So who's going to buy this book? It's very odd. While scanning the book, I automatically noticed that there were titles missing. And the information printed is the same incorrect credit listings found at Internet Movie Database. This book even lists the French dubbing credits for some titles. Really? In other words, most of it is just padding.

So, a book of titles (with some missing) and credits (many with mistakes), a couple of illustrations and nothing else. If you need a list of titles, just look at the link here at the blog (which has been viewed over 13K times). Or simply go to IMDb. Both are free.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

By the Gods!

Anita Ekberg, as Queen Zenobia, and Alberto Farnese in SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959)

I uploaded this film at the PEPLUM TV channel. I had to split the film into two parts to avoid issues. This version is in English and in widescreen but it's missing a lot of scenes. I have a copy of this film in Italian with English subs. I tried to edit the missing scenes from the Italian with subs into the English copy but there were so many missing scenes that going back and forth from English to Italian every 5 minutes was annoying so I abandoned the idea. Therefore, a complete version of this film in English is still missing.

I'm thinking of uploading the Italian with English subs.

As for the film itself, well I find it fascinating in regards to the progression of the PEPLUM genre. It's sort of important, along with HERCULES (1958). The story is based in history even though Queen Zenobia most likely didn't look like Anita Ekberg. I'll 'officially' post the movie next week here at the blog.

Fun fact : according to IMDb, this is the only film about Queen Zenobia.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

By the Gods!

Helen Mirren dances up a storm in CALIGULA (1979)

Even though I know she's not a professional dancer, her dance number during this scene is so cringeworthy. They all seemed to be just winging it as they went along. It doesn't help that she's supposed to be pregnant and the baby bump clearly looks fake. I'm not a fan of this film but I do enjoy watching it for all of its gaudy 1970s excessiveness. They all thought they were doing something ne plus ultra in regards to debauchery but it wasn't that shocking. Like a Fellini film with more nudity and sex. Many careers suffered after making this but Helen's career continued on without a hitch. 


PEPLUM stars Gordon Mitchell and Dan Vadis pose with Liana Zagra

Michell and Vadis never appeared together in a PEPLUM film, which would have been cool. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

By the Gods!

Rick Battaglia, Rosanna Schiaffino and Bob Mathias in THE MINOTAUR (1960)

Rosanna made just a handful of films of the PEPLUM genre and yet they're all good. Her first big role was in ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1957) and from there became of one the actresses who made it big internationally. In this story, she plays two role, of twins sisters. This was Mathias only big film role, while Rik made tons of PEPLUM movies. Good cast.

Same set, different films

Above is a screenshot from THE PHARAOHS' WOMAN (1960) and below, from CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960). Both films were in production at the same time, and they were both released in December of that year.

Monday, October 16, 2017

By the Gods!

The opening scene from APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958)

Bottom front row (starting third from the left) : Giulio Donnini, Clara Calamai, Ivo Garrani and Massimo Serato (in Roman uniform). Nice shot. I like this film. It's a typical PEPLUM Hollywood would have never considered making back in the day, which is why I like it. I'm doing a Fan Dub of this. I have the English track. It's very rare to get a hold of. The audio is noisy and I tried to fix it as best as possible without altering the voices to the point where they sound robotic. Many scenes were cut for the original US release so the Fan Dub won't be uncut. I'll upload this film at PEPLUM TV one day.

But then there's the problem with Youtube demonetizing my files which contains certain words or images. The words Aphrodite, Venus, slave, wrestling, fight, etc, will almost automatically demonetize or claim that my uploads are not suitable for all advertisers. So with this movie having the words 'Aphrodite,' 'Goddess' and 'Love' in its title will almost certainly guarantee limited viewers. I'm re-thinking my Patreon account to reflect this new restrictive strategy from Youtube.

Movie Poster Mondays


Ultra rare PEPLUM film which hasn't shown up anywhere. Not even in the form of a short clip. It's also known as THE SINNER. In the poster, 'Desperadoes' includes an E but the title at IMDb is written as 'Desperados.' 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

By the Gods!

Alena Johnston in WAR GODDESS (1973)

This softcore film, directed by Terence Young no less, sorta ushered a new wave of PEPLUM film in the early 1970s which were more raunchy and showed female nudity, often accompanied with lesbian sex scenes. Since this film was about Amazon warriors, there are many bare breasts and lesbian sex scenes. The story is silly and the male Greek characters are treated as an afterthought. Aside from the fleshy cast, there are some good things in it, including this nice set. This was Alena's third and last movie. Beautiful as she was, she was not much of an actress. To make matters worse, the English dubbing is horrid. Someone uploaded the film on Youtube. It's the channels only upload (this is something I'm seeing more and more on Youtube).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

By the Gods!

Queen Samara (Jany Clair) and Hercules (Alan Steele) look out to the moon in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

A film that's often ridiculed by haters. Everything actually works out pretty good in this fast paced PEPLUM. There's almost nothing I would change about it if I had the chance. It's big, colourful and old fashioned fun. I uploaded a scene from this at my channel. It's very popular but a film studio in France has claimed it, even if the film is in the public domain here. I won't be uploading it at PEPLUM TV.


Robert Taylor, Marina Berti and Leo Genn share notes during a break while they worked on QUO VADIS (1951)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

By the Gods!

Mickey Hargitay, flanked by, to his right, Giovanni Cianfriglia and, to his left, José Greci, in REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964)

Some say it's a standard PEPLUM but it's action packed and has some interesting things in it. The supporting cast is excellent which was needed since Mickey wasn't the greatest of actors. He's in fine form in this but other actors, such as Benito Stefanelli, outshine him. José Greci, in a thankless role of sorts, has never looked prettier. As for Giovanni, he plays (along with Benito) the gladiators from the title. He's part of the 'Invincible Six,' a team of unstoppable team of gladiators. I finished doing a Fan Dub of this and it's coming soon to PEPLUM TV!

Identify the PEPLUM film!

 Can you identify the film from this screenshot?

Orsh549 got it right : it's from CAESAR THE CONQUEROR (1962)

Monday, October 9, 2017

By the Gods!

Michèle Mercier and Jean Rochefort in ANGELIQUE : THE ROAD TO VERSAILLES (1965)

Rochefort died today at the age of 87. He starred in over 100 films and at a time was one of the most popular actor in French cinema. One of his first breakout roles was in ANGELIQUE (1964). His PEPLUM films were mostly Swashbucklers / period pieces, such as co-starring with Jean Marais in THE IRON MASK (1962), but he did star in ASTERIX & OBELIX : GOD SAVE BRITANNIA (2012). He had a very distinctive look, lanky man with brushy mustache.