Wednesday, January 31, 2018

By the Gods!

Helga Liné is one of the tyrants of Babylon in HERCULES AND THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON (1964)

Helga plays the sister of Assur in this fun, colourful PEPLUM directed by Domenico Paollela. I think Helga is one of the unsung beauties of the PEPLUM genre. She was really striking in her youth. I read somewhere that Helga was asked about her old films and she was confused that people still remembered them and laughed about it. She clearly had moved on in her life, which is fine, but it's sad that most PEPLUM stars don't seem to care much about the genre.


Henry Wilcoxon and Claudette Colbert take a cigarette break during the filming of CLEOPATRA (1934)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By the Gods!

The popular 'falling down through the trap door' cliché in THE 3 STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962) starring, above, Samson Burke (as Hercules), George N. Neise, and below, Quinn K. Redeker with the 3 stooges, Larry, Curly and Moe

I didn't include this scene in my latest compilation of clips because I thought it was too lame. You don't see them fall though the trap door, which is the entire point of such a scene. It's cool to see the actor (or stuntman) falling down in real time. I guess it was too complicated to have 4 people fall down at the same time. Maybe I'll add it in a second compilation.

Different titles : THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII

Here are the titles of different versions of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959), the epic directed by Mario Bonnard and Sergio Leone, starring Steve Reeves along with an international cast. It's interesting to see how different the opening credits are even though it's the same film. The Italian one is, of course, the source and it looks quite colourful. The French, German and Spanish ones are not as impressive. The most difficult one to obtain, the original English credits, is surprisingly moody and, compared to the Italian version, dark. I love both the Italian and English versions.

I uploaded the entire film at PEPLUM TV, plus a highlight from it.






Monday, January 29, 2018

By the Gods!

Maciste (Kirk Morris) falls through a trap door in MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964)

Also known as HERCULES OF THE DESERT, since Maciste wasn't marketable in the US. This is a very popular cliché. I made a short compilation of this, with scenes from different movies edited together. Of course, Youtube demonetized the video. Anyway, this is one of my favourite clichés and always get a kick out of them.

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster of KNIGHTS OF TERROR (1963)

Excellent poster for the fun film. I recently made a Fan Dub of this, adding the French track to a German version. Up to now, there's no English copy out there (I thought I had one but it seemed to have disappeared!)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Article of the week : Twin productions!

For this 'Article of the week,' I'll go over something I've been wanting to do for a long time but I've been putting aside because of the blog's limitations. Articles bigger than a simple post are difficult to editorialize in the blog's familiar daily format. Hence, the reason for these 'Article of the week.' 

In this article, I'll go over what I call 'Twin productions' as they are movies that are identical in many ways, often utilizing the same cast, or the same crew, or the same sets, sometimes costumes, music but with a totally different story and / or setting. These are not sequels or part of a series. The stories are different even if the rest is pretty much the same. Some of these films were shot back to back but many of them were shot at the same time. Some actors have stated that they worked on two different productions at the same time which confused them, certainly with the language barrier. 

Since there are even more titles than those listed here, this is part 1. 


Twin productions both starring Lang Jeffries and released at the end of the PEPLUM craze. Both films were produced by Giorgio Marzelli. Some big sets and costumes can be seen in both productions. The supporting cast are different, as are the directors but both films feel and look the same. SWORD OF THE EMPIRE was released first even though it included scenes from the soon to be released FIRE OVER ROME (this is not the first time this has happened)! Both films are difficult to come by. I recently uploaded a Fan Dub of FIRE OVER ROME at PEPLUM TV channel and I recently got hold of the ever elusive English version of SWORD OF THE EMPIRE, which I need to do a watchable Fan Dub with it. Though very similar, both movies are easy to differentiate from each other. 


One of the few set of 'Twin productions' that's radically different except for sets, costumes and music. The rest are totally different: different directors, different cast. Sergio Spina is credited for both stories but even the screenwriters are different. But if you watch them back to back, you'd swear they were the same films since they used the same sets and costumes. There is a 'trompe-l'oeil' effect going on with these two titles. Top image below is from WAR GODS OF BABYLON and the other is from SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON.


Steve Reeves was set to star in THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN after making THIEF OF BAGHDAD but last minute changes were made and Donald O'Connor was used instead. Both films were co-produced by TITANUS and LUX Film, a French production company. How does one go from Steve Reeves to Donald O'Connor? Both films were released the same year but THIEF OF BAGHDAD was released earlier in the year. Though the productions do look alike, for me it's almost impossible to confuse these titles with each other: one has Steve Reeves, the other doesn't.


These two Tony Russell movies were directed by Alberto De Martino, almost the same cast with Russel co-starring with Helga Liné, Livio Lorenzon, Massimo Serato, etc. Same writers, same sets, same locations. It's easy for me to figure out the difference between these two films: SPARTAN is more colourful and has more sets while SECRET SEVEN is mostly shot outside. Also, some actors, like Pietro Capana and Howard Ross are in SPARTAN GLADIATORS and not in SECRET SEVEN. Even if they are alike, these two movies don't confuse me.


Both of these Peter Lupus movies used scenes from SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962). There is some major confusion in regards to both of them. Both were directed by Domenico Paolella. Same lead cast, same sets, same locations. The only way for me to truly set them apart is Pietro Torrisi's role in GOLIATH is much bigger and he's a 'good' guy. Also, in TYRANTS, there the destruction of Babylon (with destruction scenes from the SODOM movie). Though I like both films, I personally prefer HERCULES AGAINST THE TYRANTS. Their similarities don't automatically translate into both being good on the same level.

SAMSON (1961) and FURY OF HERCULES (1962)

These two Brad Harris movies couldn't look more alike. Major confusion with these 'Twin productions.' The only thing that really sets them apart is the fact that SAMSON is so much better than FURY OF HERCULES. The other thing which set both movies apart is Alan Steel's role is less important in FURY. But aside from these discrepancies, both films are virtually identical. Same cast, same director, same sets, same costumes, including Brad Harris' muscle tunic, almost same 'Feats of strength.' Personally speaking it would have been much better if they just had made a sequel to the superior SAMSON instead of making it a Hercules film in name only. To make matters even worse, German distributors switched the titles : what was initially SAMSON became HERCULES and what was FURY OF HERCULES became SAMSON. Why? I don't know.

Above: Brad in SAMSON. Below: Brad in FURY OF HERCULES. See the difference? Me neither.


The best 'Twin productions' listed here. These films utilized footage from THE MONGOLS (1960) and were most likely conceived with this in mind. Mark Forest played Maciste (renamed Hercules for US market). HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS was made and released first. Both films were directed by Domenico Paolella and the cast are virtually identical with the exception being that Nadir Moretti and Maria Grazia Spina star in MONGOLS only, while Gloria Milland stars in BARBARIANS only. But identical as they are, they couldn't be more different: HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS is a fast paced, straight forward action film while HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS is more like a moody, dark romantic fairy tale, with evil lurking at  every corner.

I hope you enjoyed this Article of the week. There'll be more such articles this year. There should also be a part 2 of this 'Twin productions' topic in the near future.

Note : I created a new 'permanent page' where all 'Articles of the week' for 2018 will be posted.



Bradford Dillman

Character actor Bradford Dillman, most famous for his lead role as Francis in FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1961), passed away on January 16 at the age of 87. I'll be honest, I'm not too familiar with him. Aside from his role in FRANCIS OF ASSISI, I didn't recall seeing him in other major films. I did see him guest starring in TV series like THE LOVE BOAT.

Peter Wyngarde

Another character actor who passed away recently, Peter Wyngarde's most memorable role in a PEPLUM film was in ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956). I also remember him from the goofy sci-fi flick FLASH GORDON (1980). He played Klytus. Peter died on January 15 at the age of 90.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of HERCULES AGAINST ROME (1964)

For the French release, Hercules became Samson. Why? I dunno but this is very common in the PEPLUM genre.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

By the Gods!

Maciste (Reg Park) is about to be set up by Fariza (Wandisa Guida) in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1964)

This is one of those PEPLUM movies I can't upload to PEPLUM TV (for now). It's a shame because it's a 'perfect' PEP : it has every cliché, it's very colourful, therefore entertaining. Park only made 5 movies. Wandisa was a regular actress of the PEPLUM genre. Oh well...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

By the Gods!

Marilù Tolo and Mark Forest in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

A 20 year old Marilù Tolo is the 'evil' temptress to Forest's Maciste. Her role in the film is almost secondary. This is one of those 'twin productions' which I'll post about next week, with THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR (1964) being the other film. In the latter movie, Marilù's role is more important and she and Mark are lovers, which works better. The two had chemistry together. Their scenes are a bit awkward in this movie. The 'official' English title is the boneheaded 'Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules.'


Which version would you like to see at the main PEPLUM TV channel?

HERCULES VS MOLOCH - Full screen + more color (top)

HERCULES VS MOLOCH - widescreen fuzzy VHS (bottom)

take the poll at the Community page of PEPLUM TV


Daniele Vargas and Scilla Gabel pose for a photo during the filming of SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

By the Gods!

Wrestling scene from HERO OF BABYLON (1963)

Gordon Scott, Moira Orfei, Harold Bradley and Piero Lulli are in the back. Not all PEPLUM movies have wrestling scenes but many of them do. Fun to watch or a waste of time?

Blog Notes

With 2017 behind us and a new year ahead, I'd like to go over a few points about the blog, its social media presence and mostly on PEPLUM TV Youtube channels.

The Blog

I'm thinking of making a couple of changes to the blog but I'm still not sure how to do this. I like writing articles but the problem with big articles is that there's a limit number of posts that can appear on the main page for x number of days and things can be bumped quickly, and since most visitors won't go beyond the main page, writing a big article only to have it relegated to page 2 just in a few days seems pointless. I've already done 'Post of the week' which means one big post with just a couple of other ones for the week, not the usual multiple posts per day. You might see more and more of these posts, as soon as next week.

Hopefully, I'll also finally update the ULTIMATE MOST WANTED list, certainly after I recently received many great additions to my collection.

PEPLUM TV channels

There are three PEPLUM TV Youtube channels, with a potential fourth one in the near future!


Now, I don't want to bore you with the minutiae of keeping a Youtube channel. In fact, I'm thinking of scaling down my presence here at the blog for reasons which have come to light a couple of weeks ago. You see, it's all about demonetization. Demonetization is not just about how YT prevents me from making some coins from my uploads. When a video is demonetized, Youtube basically makes the video invisible to others, even to followers of the PEPLUM TV channel. YT bots decide to demonetize it if it thinks it contains questionable material. The exact wording is: 'Not suitable for most advertisers. Request review.' Because they think the material is unsuitable to most advertisers, the video itself is not promoted across Youtube. It won't appear as a suggestion, it won't on the right hand column, it won't trend. It's the best way to band a video without actually banning it.

I recently had a video that went viral and it never appeared in the 'what's trending' page of Youtube. It was partially demonetized for a period of time. Therefore, during peak viewing time, it wasn't listed anywhere on Youtube. It went viral because people were sharing it, not because of Youtube's (lack of) support.

What can cause a video to be demonetized or become invisible?

- If I use a thumbnail other than the one's suggested by Youtube (you might have noticed that the thumbnails are terrible)
- If a sexy woman or man is included in the thumbnail
- If a couple is kissing in the thumbnail
- If there's too much skin in the thumbnail
- If a word in the text in the title or the information is problematic. So 'SLAVE' is problematic.
- If I link a *new* video to my blog
- If I leave or pin a comment at one of my latest videos (can't leave a comment on my own videos)
- If I leave or pin a link at one of my latest videos (telling viewers to see another related video)
- etcetera

The last movie I linked here at the blog was GIANT OF METROPOLIS, which was demonetized for days. I linked it at he blog the same day I uploaded it to Youtube. This told me that linking a video across my multiple social media platforms, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc, was one of the reasons why it was demonetized.

This thumbnail I created for GIANT OF METROPOLIS was refused by Youtube during its initial first days. I had to use on of the awful thumbnails suggested by YT so the movie wouldn't be demonetized.

When I uploaded SLAVE OF ROME back on December 4th, 2017, it was demonetized for the first two weeks. It barely got 1000 views during that time, even if my PEPLUM TV channel has 45k+ followers. When the demonetization was finally lifted, SLAVE OF ROME suddenly became visible to everyone and it now has over 200,000 views!

Youtube is trying to kill my channel or tying to control who sees what at my channel in every way possible. When an upload is demonetized, it basically means few people will see it, even followers of the channel. And I've realized that one of the problems causing this is linking a new upload here at the blog or Facebook or at any of my social media platforms. Youtube, which is own by Google, is trying to limit my means of corralling as many viewers to my uploads as possible.

The dilemma now is how to promote my uploads here at the blog without risking the chance of demonetization, or making them invisible. I will continue to link my videos and films here at the blog and across social media but only after the uploads have been there for a week or more. So the best thing to do is to follow my PEPLUM TV channels by clicking on that bell icon to receive notifications the moment new uploads become public. See below (next to red arrow).

The other best way to get up to the minute information, and the reason for this post, is to follow the Community page of the main PEPLUM TV channel. It's a new feature and it's sorta like a blog page or a Twitter page for the channel. I've been using it for a few days and it's cool. Up to the minute announcements, on upcoming films, clips, and even polls. Make sure to check it out.

Patreon and donations

I tried Patreon and it didn't work. If I were to tabulate all the followers from this blog, Youtube channels,  Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, the numbers would be in and around 50k. That's a pretty good number of followers and yet few of them were willing to join in the Patreon way. In fact, only 2 patrons joined in. I actually understand this lack of support and I'm not surprised it didn't pan out: I've been doing the blog and the various incarnations of Youtube channels for almost 10 years and I never asked for any financial support before so why now? Correct?

Patreons or even Paypal donations didn't exist 10 years ago and if they had existed back then, I would have used them back then. In fact, for a brief period, I did include a (different) Paypal donation button for a while before removing it. Well, the donation process via Paypal is streamlined compared to what it was years ago and now the button is back (top left). Donating through Paypal is the easiest and least demanding way to financially support my expanding endeavours.

P.S.: I have everything under control (for now) so please do not try to contact Youtube on my behalf.

Monday, January 15, 2018

By the Gods!

Giulia (Cristina Gaioni) and Marcus Valerius (Lang Jeffries) rekindle their friendship in FIRE OVER ROME (1965)

A lot of people are not found of this movie. I like it. Yes, it's not QUO VADIS but that's the whole point of a PEPLUM film : a more pulpy version of some bombastic Hollywood production. It's like a cliffs notes version of a big story. I like this approach. Not everything should be massive in scope. The love story is albeit weak which is a shame because I like Cristina (who's sporting an awful wig). Her screen time is limited. Lang Jeffries is...Lang Jeffries. Solid, dependable, sorta believable but sorta dull as well. This is one of those twin productions : two films made with same set, virtually same cast, etc. The other film is the rarely seen SWORD OF THE EMPIRE (1964). I'll write about these 'twin productions' next week.

Movie Poster Mondays

US poster of THE SECRET SEVEN (1963)

Simple poster which, oddly enough, captures the simple spirit of the movie. I completed a Fan Dub of this. It's very rare!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

By the Gods!

I'm taking some time off. I'll be back soon enough. In the meantime keep an eye on PEPLUM TV, PEPLUM TV RETRO and PEPLUM TV WORLD. I'll be uploading stuff to the channels during my blog break.

Thanks to all of those who support this blog and my Youtube channels, and a special thanks to Steven Lester!

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

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

By the Gods!

Hercules (Mark Forest) and Princess Hamara (Anna-Maria Pace) fall in love in HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964)

Not the most believable love story in a PEPLUM movie. The two don't have any chemistry whatsoever. Aside from this and an overlong dance number, I really like this oddball PEPLUM, with Hercules ending up on the other side of the Atlantic and befriending the Incas. The battle at the end is one of the best. Mark wears a very short tunic, which he keeps adjusting throughout the movie, providing some unintentional chuckles here and there. The one problem with this title : there's never been a great DVD release or TV broadcast of it. Still waiting for a spectacular print.


Steve Reeves uses a decidedly different form of transportation during the filming of HERCULES (1958)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

By the Gods!

Bella Cortez in THE SEVEN REVENGES (1961)

One of my favourite 'finds' of the PEPLUM genre was discovering this seldom seen movie. Excellent production. Even though it was once available in English back in da day, the English dub version is currently missing in action. It's a shame because this is a top Peplum. Definitely one of Bella's best films. Years ago, I was one of the first to befriend a Facebook account with the name of Bella Cortez. I didn't know if the account was of the actress and if it was legit. Since then, to my surprise, Bella has finally revealed herself and it's her real account. I wished her a Happy New Year and she thanked me. Cool! Now if she could give an interview. That's Gabriele Antonini seen from the back.

Before they were PEPLUM stars

Woody Strode and Gordon Scott in TARZAN'S FIGHT FOR LIFE (1958)

Woody had already appeared in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) in a brief role as an Ethiopian King but Gordon Scott had never appeared in a PEPLUM film. The transition was probably easy for him.