Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019

By the Gods! (blog note)

Mark Forest and Franco Cobianchi celebrate during a feast in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

Be careful what you drink and who you drink with tonight, if you celebrate New Year's Eve. Haha!

On a side note, because the holidays fall at the beginning of the week and I'll be very busy for the next few days, there won't be any posts until next week (there's not point of posting for a day or two). The blog will return 'full time' on January 7.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of WAR OF THE TROJANS (1962; aka The Avenger)

The French title translates as HEROIC CONQUERORS in English. For some odd reason, this film has a plethora of titles, in any language, which really don't suit it. It's not a bad title, it's just not very descriptive, like THE AVENGER. I prefer the UK title, WAR OF THE TROJANS. Great looking poster!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

I wish all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Actor profile: Jacques Berthier

Jacques Berthier was a French actor with a career that began in the 1930s and ended in the 1980s. With 43 film roles to his credit, he only appeared in 3 PEPLUM films. He provided very good support, mainly playing the villain. His two stories set in Antiquity were directed by Gianfranco Parolini. Not a long list of titles like other actors I've previously profiled but I thought his two major PEPLUM roles were good enough to merit a mention.

Jacques had a small role in this excellent production. He had a special mention during the opening credit.


This movie has tons of characters and even with all of them, Berthier stands out from the crowded pack. Both he and Mara Lane (pictured below) were the villains and they were good in their roles. His first film with Brad Harris (not pictured here).

Berthier and his 'partner in crime,' played by Giuseppe Mattei (aka Pino Mattei)

When Berthier made this film, he was 46 years old. He didn't look like it.


Berthier was the villain in this episodic film. Without his presence, the movie would have been much less memorable. His performance basically grounds the somewhat convoluted story.

Berthier with Brad Harris. His second film with Harris and director Parolini

Berthier relished this role with some panache and vigour 

Previous Actor profiles:

Aldo Pini

Ursula Davis

Philippe Hersent

Thursday, December 20, 2018

By the Gods!

Gustavo Rojo and Barbara Steele in REVENGE OF THE MERCENARIES (aka Rampage of Evil; 1962)

Directed by Sergio Grieco, which means bold, boisterous, over-the-top adventure. Grieco directed Rojo in JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962), which is one of my faves. Gustavo was a very good actor, and he shoe in the latter film (even if he was miscast) and he's excellent in this film as well. Barbara appeared in no traditional PEPLUM film set in Antiquity but appeared in a lot of Italian horror films and Swashbucklers/PEPLUM such as this one. It's a shame because she was memorable in all of her roles. Though this scene has both actors together, Barbara spends most of her time with Mario Petri. This film is one of those Cinematic Confusion films I wrote about, with the title that I always confuse with other films.

Lobby Cards Set : Gold for the Caesars

US lobby cards set for GOLD FOR THE CAESARS. Very good set. Covers pretty much everything. No close-ups of the actors but there are two cards with Jeffrey Hunter and Mylene Demongeot which is good. Above average set.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

By the Gods!

Edmund Purdom and Liana Orfei in NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE (1961)

The relationship between Purdom and Orfei in this is much better than the one between Purdom and Jeanne Crain (Nefertiti). This happens a lot in PEPLUM movies: the secondary love affair is more interesting than the main one. The costumes in this production are good. It's a nice looking film. It's on the slow side but I like it.

PEPLUM publicity

A truck carrying a bunch of bodybuilders advertising THE GIANT OF MARATHON starring Steve Reeves.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

By the Gods!

Steve Reeves in THE SON OF SPARTACUS (aka The Slave; 1962)

This is one of those film nearly done it by a lacklustre ending. It starts off great, and maintains its momentum until the very last part. I like it nonetheless but it's a shame it didn't have a spectacular ending because it is one of Steve's best. By doing this blog, I've learned that some dislike Steve sans beard. I'm fine with Steve with or without beard but I admit that a little facial hair made his perennially youthful face look a little more gruff.

PEPLUM TV Blog Notes

As the year is about to end, I want to go over a few things about the blog and other aspects of social media.

First, the blog is in good health. There may be changes in the coming month, but for now things are running smoothly. The only major change might be less posts per week. Anyway, we'll see. 

There seems to be some concerted efforts by The Powers That Be to stifle opinions and ideas on the internet. Tumblr recently announced that they would be blocking all 'adult' material (and there's a lot of it there) on December 17. That was yesterday. This decision has affected by PEPLUM TV site at Tumblr (see screenshot below). Hundreds of images and photos have been blocked and need manual review to unblock them. Since this involves too many photos, I've decided to abandon the Tumblr page. I won't delete it. I'll leave it as is. Things are really becoming ridiculous when I can't publish photos from 50 years old movies without triggering some form of censorship!

Youtube channel is nearly dormant. I try to upload a few things from time to time to show some sign of life but for now, I'm not doing anything with it for a couple of months. I do have plans for it but it'll take some time to implement them. Youtube has basically become unusable. It's nearly impossible to do anything with this clusterfuck of a site. Just to show how fucked up it is, below is a screenshot of a Youtube channel that uploaded all my videos, and as this examples shows, not just once but multiple times. I complained about that channel to Youtube several times but they refuse to do anything or don't answer my requests. That channel basically killed my own channel and yet it's not affected by takedowns like mine. I'd be surprise if Youtube will still going, in its present state, in a few years. 

I also closed my Dailymotion channel. No one was going there. I don't think anyone noticed.

I have some ideas and plans for 2019. Some exciting plans. I won't announce them now (I don't want to jinx them).

Monday, December 17, 2018

Happy Saturnalia!

Happy Saturnalia, which officially started today, December 17!

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott and José Greci in ZORRO & THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1963)

One of many improbable mash ups seen during that period. The time periods of these heroes are totally different but that didn't stop producers in making this action adventure. Gordon was good in these Swashbucklers but he was better suited (or not..haha!) for Tarzan or Hercules roles. As for José Greci, she was good in every kind of genre. It's a well made production with an oddly non-existent storyline (or hard to summarize). I like these films but it sorta hinted that the genre was running out of ideas.

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961)

The monster Reg Park is fighting with is actually from HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (aka Hercules Conquers Atlantis; 1961). Cinematic Confusion.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

By the Gods!

Pietro Torrisi is THE BARBARIAN MASTER (1982)

That's Yvonne Fraschetti and Hal Yamanouchi. I enjoy Pietro's movies of the 1980s. Yes, they're very low budget and acting is nearly non-existent but they're fun to watch, certainly if you're a fan of Pietro from his movies from the Golden Era. He obviously looked much older but he was in good shape. He still had his abs. It also stars Mario Novelli (below). As a fan of the genre, watching the two long-time PEPLUM stars fight to the finish is fun and one of the film's highlights. This fight scene, with the two wearing very little, is, like so many other films out there, a bit ridiculous in regards to pairing: Mario is simply no match to beefy Pietro and yet the stronger one is shown as struggling. I like Mario but every time I watch this scene, I say "Come on!" In real life Pietro would have snapped Mario like a twig. Like so many such films of the 80s, incidental nudity is rampant. Yvonne Fraschetti only appeared in two films so I know very little of her while Japanese-born Yamanouchi has appeared in over 70 productions. I have to write an article of Asian actors in PEPLUM films. Not to be confused with THE INVINCIBLE BARBARIAN (1982), also starring Torrisi, in which promotional photos from it were used for this film, and vice versa.

Lobby Cards set: HEAD OF A TYRANT (1959)

US lobby cards set for HEAD OF A TYRANT. Very good film. It's very different than the usual PEPLUM films out there. The best way to describe it: it's a morbid romance. This set is pretty standard. The point of a lobby cards set was to sell the movie. It's okay but there aren't that many stand-out scenes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By the Gods!

Deborah Kerr, Peter Miles and Buddy Bear try to survive the burning of Rome in QUO VADIS (1951)

A box office smash at the time, even with its big budget taken into consideration. Today the film has become a lightning rod for haters who simply view the film as Christian propaganda. Never mind history, like this great scene of the burning of Rome. I find this aspect very odd. Yes, it has obvious Christian aspects but that was the point of the story. People are so odd today. Anyway, it was shot in Rome and gave a massive boost to the Italian film industry, and subsequently helped get the ball rolling on the PEPLUM craze. I will always be thankful for this film for this aspect.

PEPLUM publicity

Promotional photos of Abbe Lane and a buch of dancers from JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962). Love these! The orgy scene from this movie was one of the most popular videos at my PEPLUM TV channel.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

By the Gods!

Nero (Alberto Sordi) and Poppea (Brigitte Bardot), and a few animals, in NERO'S BIG WEEKEND (1956)

Yesterday, I posted the French poster of it and aside from Brigitte herself, what stood out from it was CinemaScope. This was the first PEPLUM films shot in widescreen in Europe? I can't think of any other. THE ROBE was the very first CinemaScope film to be released from Hollywood in 1953.  ROLAND THE MIGHTY was another PEPLUM film shot in widescreen and released in 1956. NERO'S BIG WEEKEND was released in September while ROLAND THE MIGHTY, in December.

Then & Now: Helga Liné

Helga in HERCULES AND THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON (1964); a recent photo of the star. She's 86 years old.

Monday, December 10, 2018

By the Gods!

Leonora Ruffo and Reg Park in HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961)

A new Blu-ray disc has been released for this film, which is often cited as being the best PEPLUM (I respectfully disagree). This is a screenshot of a Fan Dub someone did (in French) and I believe it's from the same source. Pretty nice print. Maybe a bit too bright but any new print of any PEPLUM film is always welcome.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of NERO'S BIG WEEKEND (1956)

Imagine a Nero film and Brigitte Bardot is only featured in the poster art. There are different versions of posters but the emphasis was on Bardot. This film has a couple of different English titles, including NERO'S WEEKEND and NERO'S MISTRESS.

Friday, December 7, 2018

By the Gods!

The climax to HERCULES (1958) starring Steve Reeves

I hope you enjoyed this special 60th anniversary off the Italian release of HERCULES (1958). I could write about this film for a whole month but I won't. I'll just leave it with this classic shot of Reeves in action.

Different titles: HERCULES (1958)

Here are titles of opening credits from a couple of different sources of HERCULES (1958) .  I've updated the list with two new additions.

Original Italian version!

German title of HERCULES

International English title, taken from the French DVD. Unfortunately the French title wasn't included.

This is the French home video version. Still no 'official' French title though

The US Avco Embassy opening title with the animated constellation of stars

This is the Russian version, which translates as THE EXPLOITS OF HERCULES

Thursday, December 6, 2018

By the Gods!

Jason (Fabrizio Mioni) returns to Jolco to reclaim his throne, with the help of Hercules (Steve Reeves), in HERCULES (1958)

This scene is the culmination of 'The Single Sandal' prophecy. This is probably my favourite part of the film. It's brilliantly executed by director Pietro Francisci. The prophecy is told at the beginning of the film (see clip below) and halfway through the story, we end up here, with Jason trying to prove he's the real ruler of Jolco, with Hercules shoving Jason to the side, showing Jason with one sandal to the King. It's a narrative within the main narrative. It propels the story in a cool, subtle and spine tingling way. It shows how the Gods have control over humans.

Steve Reeves as HERCULES - Feat of strength

Scene from Hercules starring Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Mimmo Palmara and others. Great scene. It establishes many things, including the prophecy of The Single Sandal.

Collectibles: 60th anniversary of HERCULES (1958)

Here's a small sample of HERCULES collectibles. If you know any other, please let me know (aside from movie posters).


Here's the popular comic book version of the Steve Reeves classic. 

Artist: John Buscema


I have to get this...but then I don't have a record player. Hmm...

Here's a French 'Photo Roman':


Here are a couple of recent collectibles:

A company called Go Hero has created an elaborate series of collectible figures based on HERCULES (1958) starring Steve Reeves. Very cool stuff.

Check it out!