Wednesday, February 28, 2018

By the Gods!

Alberto Farnese and Tina Louise in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

With success sometime comes new problems. The PEPLUM TV channel, for now, is going good but one of the downside of it is how most subscribers or viewers only expect to see action films all the time. This Pietro Francisci film is a drama, with an epic battle at the end. I sure many would probably find it 'too boring' or 'too much drama, not enough action.' I've already had such criticism on some of the titles I've uploaded. Years ago, I also had 3 different Youtube channels, the main one, the 'Fire & Sword' one and one I called SapphoPEPLUM, which was a channel dedicated to PEPLUM films that were more on the dramatic side, or with female-centric stories. I won't be making a new channel just for these kind of films. The current 4 that I have right are enough (for now). But these films are in limbo, well, sorta like Tina Louise's character in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE.


Photo of Steve Reeves taken during the filming of the Sybil scene in HERCULES (1958). Remarkably enough, this scene is cut from the German DVD that I have.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

By the Gods!

Reg Park, as Maciste, enduring an over-the-top 'Feat of strength' in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1964)

This is one of the most over-the-top 'Feat of strength' scene in any PEPLUM. Aside from the major one in MACISTE - THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD, with Mark Forest holding a stack of heavy slabs, this one is a close second. Did they have this contraption stored somewhere, just in case they needed to test a beefy hero? It's one of the few Maciiste films in which the name Maciste was kept. Very entertaining movie.

Then & Now: Amanda Barrie

Amanda in CARRY ON CLEO (1964) ; a recent photo of Amanda, who was on CELEBRITY BIG BROTHERS UK.

Monday, February 26, 2018

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott in GLADIATOR OF ROME (1962)

One of those films I can't upload to the main PEPLUM TV channel. It's claimed by a third party. I'll upload it to the PELUM TV RETRO channel. It's also one of those movies that's not really that good and yet I can watch it over and over. It's still entertaining but there's something uninspired and pokey (slow) about it which prevents it from being a great PEPLUM film. But it is a cornucopia of PEPLUM clichés, which I love! This scene is the main avatar for all my digital presence on the internet. It would make a great book cover.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of REVAK THE REBEL (1960)

A complete rip-off of HERCULES (1958). Jack wasn't that buff.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

By the Gods!

Rosanna Schiaffino and Alberto Lupo in THE MINOTAUR (1960)

That's Carlo Tamberlani as the King Minos. Beautifully shot film, one of the more even PEPLUM films made during its popularity. The story itself is not that engaging but the movie is so well mounted and the pacing is good that the simple story is not a liability. I really like the costumes here, including the soldiers and their shields. This is a 'Twin production' with MARS - THE GOD OF WAR (aka Venus vs the Son of Hercules ; 1962).

Trivia: The necklace Rosanna wears is (a slightly altered) one often used in many PEPLUM movies, and was originally made for Sophia Loren in ATTILA (1954). See "Who Wore It best?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

By the Gods!


From left to right: Pietro Marascalchi, Pietro Ceccarelli, Nello Pazzafini, Mario Novelli, Alfio Caltabiano and Gordon Mitchell. This is one of the 'Twin Productions', along with SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS, even if both movies don't have the same storyline and characters. Pietro Marascalchi, who used to be a professional wrestler, is still uncredited at IMDb. This film is problematic because the word 'Slave' causes issues with Youtube. Also known as 7 SLAVES AGAINST ROME (UK title).


Steve Reeves and tw0 extras wait for their scene while shooting THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

By the Gods!

Samson (Taylor James) defeated the Philistine army in SAMSON (2018)

This is a new movie released in theatres last week. It ranked at #11 at the box office. The good thing thing about it is that it sorta celebrates the Hollywood Epic of the 1950s and 1960s. The bad thing is, well, it doesn't look great. Oh well...

I wanted to post the official trailer here but I'll link it instead.

Different titles: KNIGHTS OF TERROR

I finally got hold of IL TERRORE DEI MANTEL ROSSI (1963), known as KNIGHTS OF TERROR in English. I'm missing screenshots of the Italian and Spanish titles but since this movie is so difficult to come by that I thought I might as well do it now. I personally like KNIGHTS OF TERROR, which can be seen as a play with the word NIGHTS. The English copy is murky but it's in true widescreen which makes it better than the other ones.

This is the English version with Dutch title, which translates as THE TERROR OF THE RED COATS.

French version translates as THE CAVALIERS (or RIDERS) OF TERROR

The German title translates as RIDER OF TERRORS

Monday, February 19, 2018

By the Gods!

Gordon Mitchell, as Brennus, and Ursula Davis in BRENNUS - ENEMY OF ROME (1963)

This film ws retitled BATTLE OF THE VALIANT for its home video release back in the 1980s. It tried to remove all traces of the fact that it was an old movie. Ursula's real name was Pier Anna Quaglia. I prefer Ursula Davis. Gordon was born Charles Pendleton. He was also informally known as Chuck Pendleton. Hard to keep up with all these name changes and pseudonyms. Good film!

Movie Poster Mondays

Brazilian poster of 7 SLAVES AGAINST ROME (1964)

Also known as 7 SLAVES AGAINST THE WORLD. Nice poster. Notice how MGM is credited for this release.

Friday, February 16, 2018

By the Gods!


From left to right: Harold Bradley, Pietro Torrisi, Mario Novelli, Pietro Ceccarelli, Roger Browne, Jeff Cameron and Nazzareno Zamperla.

This is one of the quieter moments of this boisterous Michele Lupo film. It's fun but it's also quite silly. There were many of these types of stories in PEPLUM films: a rogue group of 6 or 7 or 10 men banding together to overthrow an evil ruler.

I uploaded this to PEPLUM TV channel and Youtube has partially censored it (demonetized, meaning it won't be seen to people who don't follow my channel). Why? Because of the words 'Rebel' and 'Gladiators' in the title. Yes. I figured this out as I tested it when the film was still in private mode. When I uploaded it with its full title (and kept it in private mode), it was demonetized. Just as a test, I simply changed the title to 7RG. It suddenly became monetized. So, I made it public and the film was viewable for everyone for two full days. But then Youtube demonetized again. I guess the bots caught on. Since they've banished this upload in the Youtube phantom zone, I thought I might as well re-instate its full title.

Imagine, a channel about, among other things, gladiators and I can't use that word. Youtube is very crazy these days.

Fotonovela: THE SINNER (part 2)

part 2 of serialization of THE SINNER Fotonovela. Click on image to see a larger size.

Added to the permanent blog page of THE SINNER

Thursday, February 15, 2018

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott as Mucius in COLOSSUS OF ROME (aka Hero of Rome, 1964)

I'm getting ready to write part 2 of 'Serious PEPLUM films.' This film would be considered a serious production. It's a straightforward 'action' story of the famous Roman general. The one aspect of this film which sorta makes it less serious, and more of a typical (read: fun) PEPLUM production, are a couple of over-the-top 'Feat of Strength' scenes, such as this one, which belongs more in the 'super' hero category than standard historical drama. But I understand why they did this: Mucius singlehandedly saved Rome from those pesky Etruscans, and I guess these scenes are sorta symbolic of this heroic undertaking. Great photo!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

By the Gods!

Kenneth Haigh as Brutus in CLEOPATRA (1963)

Kenneth passed away on February 4 at the age of 88. He appeared in a handful of genre films, including ROBIN & MARIAN (1975). An excellent actor, who made his name on the British stage. He's quite good in CLEOPATRA even if his scenes are few. The most crucial scene, when Julius Caesar is killed during the Ides of March, we see everything through the eyes of Cleopatra with the help of a High Priestess. Personally, I don't like how that scene was directed mainly because it robs an amazing moment (and the potential stellar acting from the excellent cast, including Kenneth) of all its dramatic weight. RIP.


Gina Lollobrigida poses for photos during the filming of HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1956)

Remarkably enough, Gina got a Hollywood Walk of Fame star just a couple of weeks ago!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

By the Gods!

 John Gavin as Julius Caesar in SPARTACUS (1960)

John died on Feb 9 at the age of 86. His only PEPLUM role was that of Julius Caesar in SPARTACUS. It was a supporting role. He had a commanding physical presence whenever he was on screen. He's also more known for his role in Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960). He quit acting after appearing in some TV shows like THE LOVE BOAT. At one point in his life, he became a US ambassador to Mexico. Below: with Charles Laughton

Then & Now: Bella Cortez

Bella in ALI BABA & THE SACRED CROWN (1962) ; a recent photo of Bella!

Monday, February 12, 2018

By the Gods!

Dead female gladiators in THOR & THE AMAZON WOMEN (1963)

There are two storylines in this film: the one with Thor (Joe Robinson) an his friend Ubaratutu, played by Harry Baird, and there's the storyline with Susy Andersen, as Tamar, becoming, against her will, a warrior who has to survive a female dominated society. This scene is from the latter. It's an odd thing in that one could edit out the storyline with the two men and one would end up with a new film. The creator of this unique production, Antonio Leonviola, also did the same thing previously with a Twin Production, called TAUR THE MIGHTY (1963), which has almost the same cast, crew, locations, etc.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965)

Average poster. It's difficult to get hold of one of the many posters which are better than this one for this film. A colourful and action packed, albeit strange 'Frankenstein' film, combining scenes from MACISTE - THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD and new ones with new cast and story. José Greci goes by the name of Liz Havilland!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

By the Gods!

The cast of COLOSSUS & THE AMAZON QUEEN (1960)

From left to right: Rod Taylor, Daniela Rocca, Ed Fury, Gianna Maria Canale and Dorian Gray. Good cast in this amiable and sexy 'Battle of the sexes' comedy. Taylor did this movie when his career was rising, which was an odd thing to do for any Hollywood actor back then. He said that he did this movie because hewas dating Anita Ekberg at the time, who had been working in Italy for some time (Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA, and other titles). I like this goofy comedy. It gets a bad rep. Remarkably enough, this is a 'Twin Production' with the super serious SIEGE OF SYRACUSE, directed by Pietro Francisci.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

By the Gods!

Mark Forest, as Arian, in THE LION OF THEBES (1964)

This is the beginning of the climax. The ending to this film is one of my favourite, to the point of nearly eclipsing the rest of the film. Not to sound cliched, but it rocks! The only thing I can critique about it is how Mark's stunt double is pretty much obvious, by the great Giovanni Cianfriglia. Giovanni is on the thin side, while Mark is beefier. But it's not really a big criticism since I enjoy watching Giovanni's robust stunt work. Directed by the amazing Giorgio Ferroni.


Steve Reeves having fun with the film equipment during the making of HERCULES (1958)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

By the Gods!

Captain Henry Morgan (Steve Reeves) battles with Francois L'Olonnais (Armand Mestral) in MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960)

This great movie would be a perfect upload for the new FIRE & SWORD channel but unfortunately it's blocked worldwide on YT. I can upload snippets of it but not the entire film. Oh well...

Monday, February 5, 2018

By the Gods!

Steve Reeves fights off a lion in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

With Barbara Carole (in green dress) and Christine Kaufmann (in white dress) in the background.

I recently uploaded this great film at PEPLUM TV. Someone asked me two questions in the comments section: How old was Christine Kaufmann and how much did Sergio Leone direct.

1 - Christine was 14 years old when she made the film! Remember, she was the love interest to Steve Reeves. I seriously doubt this would be acceptable today.

2 - Sergio Leone directed most of it since the original director, Mario Bonnard, became ill at the start of filming. This is not the first film Leone helped make, as an assistant director or writer. I'll write an 'Article of the week' on this. It's fascinating.

As a side note, Sergio Corbucci was also an assistant director for this film!

Movie Poster Mondays

Original Italian poster of THE LION OF THEBES (1964)

Over-the-top! Hmm...and sexually suggestive. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

By the Gods!

Milly Vitale is Princess Cherata in REVAK THE REBEL (1960)

I have to admit that I'm not too familiar with Milly's career. This is probably due to the fact that a lot of her older films are difficult to get a hold of. She made a couple of other PEPLUM films before this one, and they're hard to get, such as NERO & THE BURNING OF ROME (1953). REVAK would be her last film before returning to acting 8 years later, in 1968. She only appeared in 4 more films before retiring. So, the bulk of her career was almost pre-PEPLUM explosion. If I recall correctly, the only other movie I saw her in was WAR & PEACE (1956). There were a lot of actresses or celebs who were popular for a while, almost household names back then, appeared in a couple of PEPs, only to totally disappear from the spotlight. Like Abbe Lane or Yvonne Sanson. That's Richard Wyler standing next to Milly.

Fotonovela: THE SINNER

THE SINNER (1959; aka Desert Desperadoes) is one of the rarest PEPLUM films out there. There's no trailer or clips of this film, in any language. Getting a copy of it would be great but in the meantime, I got hold of Fotonovela of it, and translated the first pages. I'm thinking of serializing it for the blog but it's very time consuming. There's over 60 pages. Should I translate all of it? Starring Ruth Roman and Akim Tamiroff.

Click on image to view a bigger version...

I created a new permanent page for the serialization...Fotonovela: THE SINNER

To be continued!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

By the Gods!

Nefer (Bella Darvi) is the obsession of Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom) in THE EGYPTIAN (1954)

Darvi's story is a tragic one. Since I posted her story at the Tragic Stars page (I admit I haven't updated that page in a long time), I won't retell it now but I wonder if her case would fall under the numerous current #metoo stories, started by Bill Cosby and then Harvey Weinstein. Unscrupulous producers, filmmakers and celebrities have existed since the start of the movie industry so none of these stories have been that shocking to me. Aside from film fans, no one remembers her.