Thursday, September 27, 2018

By the Gods!

Diane Kruger as Helen in TROY (2004)

For a character that's the whole of the story, the impetus for the entire Troy legend, Kruger's Helen was missing in action. Her character was central to the myth and yet the makers of this super expensive film treated her like a supporting character. Her appearance is so slight that it's hard to say if Kruger was good or not. Very odd decision by all. Visually, TROY is eye-filling even though it's often risible in its attempt to suit modern audiences' tastes with old fashion spectacle. I've watched it twice and that's about as much I can deal with it. This is the complete opposite of old PEPLUM films which I can watch over and over again.

Then & Now : Ornella Vanoni

Ornella in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961); a recent photo of Ornella

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

By the Gods!

Mark Forest and Loris Loddi in HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963)

Loris was a minor (literally and figuratively) PEPLUM star during the Golden Era of the genre. He appeared a batch of movies, including CLEOPATRA (1963). His 'young' voice was dubbed by a woman (a common practice). One of my favourite PEPLUM flicks, which looks great in this pristine copy I uploaded to PEPLUM TV. It's a Fan Dub I've made (which pisses off Youtube).


Steve Reeves poses for a picture during the filming of HERCULES (1958). There are tons of 'behind the scenes' photos for this film.

Monday, September 24, 2018

By the Gods!

Alfio Caltabiano (left) and Andre Lawrence (center) in SEVEN FROM THEBES (1964)

A rare film that's more serious than the standard Italian-made PEPLUM. The screenshot above is not taken from this copy but from the non-widescreen copy available in English. I just stitched two screenshots together to make that image. This film is a must see in widescreen which I have but the image is fuzzy. Trying to figure out the cast is extremely difficult since the original credits don't show anyone, including Alfio who was a regular star / stuntman in the PEPLUM genre. In fact, IMDb doesn't have Alfio credited for this film even though he plays one of the best villains in all of the genre. IMO, Alfio makes the movie. His red tunic/uniform suits him perfectly.

Different titles: GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS

GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) starring Steve Reeves, Chelo Alonso, Livio Lorenzon and Bruce Cabot. Directed by Carlo Campogalliani. I decided to these series for this film after getting the French version. I thought 'Okay, I have all titles from major languages' only to discover that the English title is actually missing. I need to find a copy now. 

Original Italian title
The original Italian version, which is also the most common version available. The English and Spanish copies have the Italian title. No mention of Goliath in this title.

German title
In the German title, Goliath is now Hercules. Hmm...

French title
The French title translates as The Terror of the Barbarians. No mention of Goliath.

English title from trailer
The only English title available is from the trailer.

Blog notes

Updates to:

Wardrobe malfunction


By the Gods!

Richard Burton and cast in ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

I've never seen helmets like these in other PEPLUM films. I've seen them with metal ornaments but not this thick. I wonder if they're historically accurate.

Movie Poster Mondays

Belgian poster of ATTACK OF THE MOORS (1959)

Typically colourful Belgian poster. Chelo looks more like José Greci here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By the Gods! (Blog note)

Kirk Morris in ATLAS AGAINST THE CZAR. Or me against Youtube.

Thanks to all of the support. It really means a lot to me.

I need to clarify a few things since my post yesterday.

At the moment, Youtube's claim is that I didn't infringe on someone's else's content (the channel doesn't have a copyright strike) but that the channel was restricted because of 'duplication.' The term is very vague but from the videos on Youtube about this very subject, I've realized that a channel can be penalized if the content is:

1- Repetition.

If the titles of the uploads are too much alike, Youtube's bots will consider the channel as spamming. This is a problem with the genre since PEPLUM titles pretty much sound alike. In fact, it's one of my constant subject here at the blog since the beginning: CINEMATIC CONFUSION. A lot of titles sound alike. I have clips of the same film, which makes my channel appear to be spam. And the actors in these films are nearly always the same: Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Mark Forest, etc. So it's difficult for the channel not to appear to be spam when this aspect is innate to the genre itself.

2- A lot of people have uploaded my content to their channels.

Bots see the same videos across dozens of channels. The bots then decide that my channel is made up of duplicated content. I've had channels since 2007. I've closed many channels since then. My old uploads still show up on other channels. In fact, I regularly get comments on my channel saying that this video or that one was already available on someone's else's channel. This happened when I uploaded an old clip for HERO OF BABYLON, which I've created for a previous channel. Now this video might be a source of problem if it's still available on someone's else channel.

This channel has uploaded almost all of my videos. Months ago, I complained to Youtube about it. I alluded to this problem without mentioning the situation:

And finally, there's a major issue with my videos and with Youtube, and some others channels which I can't talk about (without giving them free publicity). It's an annoying and stupid situation, and adds needless frustration, more so since I can't talk about it.

Youtube didn't do anything. Now because my content is available on other channels, my channel was struck down for 'duplication.' That channel is one of the main reasons for my problems.

Youtube's attitude is I need to make a copyright complaint if other people steal my stuff but I can't since these films are in the public domain. Anyone can steal my stuff which is one of the reasons why I didn't want to mention this problem before.

3- Blacklisted

In the email I got from Team Youtube about this duplication issue, they stated that my channel wouldn't be blacklisted, that my videos will keep the same ranking. Here's a screenshot of the stats since they penalized my channel:

They are clearly lying.

4- Start again

The only solution to this issue is to delete nearly all my uploads and start anew but with all different files. I can't use any of my previous works. This would be very time consuming but it also won't stop others from uploading my content to their channel and create this duplication problem again.

All the content I've uploaded to PEPLUM TV was edited and created by me. Fan dubs, compilations, etc. I've never taken anyone else's stuff from someone else's channel and directly uploaded to my own channel. So this duplication issue is awful. I'm in a catch-22 situation.

Then & Now: Franca Bettoja

Franca in DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961) ; a recent photo of Franca

Monday, September 17, 2018

By the Gods! (Blog note)

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

I started this blog back in 2010. At that time I already had a Youtube channel, which I created in 2007. I decided to make this blog for many reasons, mainly because the genre as a whole is seriously underrated but I also created it as an extension of my Youtube channel. To have people who visit the  blog to check out my Youtube channel as well. Since 2007, I've had numerous different incarnations of Youtube channels. From the get go, I've experienced numerous problems and set backs that would make one's head spin. Last week, out of nowhere, Youtube placed a restriction on my entire channel. PEPLUM TV has been put under some sort of lock down. It has been entirely demonetized and 'blacklisted' from being seen as recommended videos. I have a month to appeal the decision but aside from that there's nothing I can do. The decision they gave is extremely vague and doesn't exactly pin point to what upload (or uploads) triggered this problem. I have to guess it. And I have to say that I don't even have any copyright strikes. So, Youtube placed a permanent restriction on my channel even if I don't have any strikes. Amazing! It irks Youtube to no end that the content I upload is public domain and they can't copyright strike my uploads.

Basically, my Youtube channel is dead and even if I re-apply to change the decision in 30 days, there's very little chance the decision will be overturned.

I can't create a new channel. I already had 3 different channels which have also been rejected by Youtube.

I spend an enormous amount of time in creating Fan Dubs, uploading videos, choosing clips, etc, and in creating this blog. The video editing part has basically dominated my life for the past 4 years. Now that the only platform in which I was able to showcase my works is not available anymore, I've decided that I won't be uploading anything at PEPLUM TV. I won't be uploading anything anywhere. I know some people will say to go the Patreon way but I've already tried Patreon and it didn't work out (I only got 3 patrons).

Right now, at the moment, my mindset is not clear enough to post stuff here at the blog. I'm not abandoning the blog because it basically has a life of its own separate from PEPLUM TV but as I already stated above, I created the blog to help promote my Youtube channel(s) and now that the channel is pretty much dead, there's a part of me that feels that it's pointless to keep posting here. A PEPLUM blog without PEPLUM TV is pointless. It feel like I'm going backwards, not forward.

I won't be posting as often as before, mainly until I figure out what's in store for this blog or anything to do with PEPLUM stuff. The only thing I know is that PEPLUM TV on Youtube is dead (unless there's a miracle and the decision is overturned). Ultimately, I would like to do a documentary or, to be more realistic, to write a book on the genre, which means I need to focus all my attention on this which means I'll have even less time for the blog. I have over 8 years of material here. I've been rereading old posts and I'm amazed by how much information I have that few have seen. I'll be re-posting old posts on and off for now, until I figure out things. I'm at a certain point in my life in which I need to move forward, to be as productive as possible. And continuing the blog **full time** without PEPLUM TV is not part of it.

The latest incarnation of PEPLUM TV has been enormously successful. The channel has over 128,000 subscribers with over 55 million views (it's lower now since I deleted many uploads). I have many videos with millions of views. Its success is most likely the reason why a restriction was placed on it. Once a channel surpasses 100,000 subscribers, someone (not a bot) is assigned to the channel and they look over the channel to help promote it even further. This person probably saw the content of my channel and it was sent to the Youtube gulag (among other reasons including people uploading my videos to their channels subsequently making my content look like it's not original).

The videos uploaded there will stay, as a permanent exhibit of the PEPLUM genre. I had so many things planned for PEPLUM TV but all of this is now flushed down the toilet.

Thanks for your understanding.

Movie Poster Mondays

US poster for THE SIN OF ADAM & EVE

R rated! For the nudity because this movie is totally benign. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Article of the week: Sergio Leone and the PEPLUM genre

Sergio Leone shares director credit with Robert Aldrich. A rarity.

Sergio Leone is considered the genius behind the popular Spaghetti Western movies released in the 1960s and 1970s. His first western, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) starring Clint Eastwood, became a world wide hit and a flood of westerns made in Europe dominated movie screens for more than a decade.

Remarkably, few people know that Leone was also instrumental in making the PEPLUM genre the success that it was back in the late 1950s to mid-1960s.

Sergio Leone only directed 7 films but assisted to over 30 films, including titles such as THE BICYCLE THIEF (1948). Of the PEPLUM genre, here's a partial list of the titles Leone worked as assistant director or second unit director:

FABIOLA (1949)

He was assistant director for this major PEPLUM production that's often cited as one of the films which helped re-ignite interest in the genre. How much of his input ended up on screen is difficult to say but since he was Assistant Director, his input was most likely considerable.

QUO VADIS (1951)

Another major production which helped create the interest in PEPLUM films, Leone was Second Unit Director to this Hollywood super-production that was filmed in Italy.


Assistant Director to this film directed by Mario Bonnard. Leone and Bonnard worked together in future projects. I guess they got along.


This Robert Wise epic was filmed in Italy. Leone was Second Unit Director, most likely participating in filming the many big battle scenes.


Assistant director to this big Swashbuckler starring Lex Barker and Sylvia Lopez. Director Primo Zeglio and Leone have worked on other titles together.


Leone was Assistant Director but also co-wrote the screenplay. Love this film directed by Mario Bonnard. Both Bonnard and Leone would work together again on THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (see below).


Leone was Assistant Director and one of many writers who worked on this problematic production. Other directors associated with this film: Riccardo Freda, Michelangelo Antonioni, Michele Lupo! Amazing!


Leone replaced Mario Bonnard as director when Bonnard fell ill during the start of the production. Leone is credited as director (2nd unit) but the opening credits still show Bonnard as the director. His experienced making this and other films most likely helped him with his following project, BEN-HUR. Steve Reeves (above) and Leone apparently got along so well that Leone wanted Reeves to play the role Clint Eastwood made famous in his Spaghetti Westerns.

BEN-HUR (1959)

Leone was Second Unit Director to this Hollywood super-production. According to Wikipedia (I know), Leone was Senior Assistant Director and he was also responsible to film retakes for the chariot race scene.


Leone's first film as director was a PEPLUM (yeah!). He was also one of the main writers for the somewhat convoluted screenplay. That's Leone will Rory Calhoun in the photo below.


As seen in the screenshot at the very top, Leone is credited along Robert Aldrich as director in the opening credits for the Italian version. I'm sure Aldrich wouldn't be happy about this but Leone's input was more than just Assistant Director therefore his co-director credit is justified.

Credit as writer:

Aside from the titles already mentioned above, Leone was also writer (credited or not) for these PEPLUM titles.


One of many writers for this most excellent PEPLUM starring Ed Fury (above).


Leone contributed to the story and dialogue for this film starring Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves.


Leone was the main writer for this seldom seen PEPLUM film starring Linda Cristal.


That's quite an impressive list of titles!

So, as you can see, Sergio Leone's input in the PEPLUM is considerable and yet it's nearly totally overlooked. Many Spaghetti Western fans are often surprised of Leone's beginnings in the world of cinema. You seldom hear SW fans laud the PEPLUM genre and yet the greatest filmmaker responsible for the Spaghetti Westerns was also instrumental in the creation of PEPLUM films.

posted at the permanent Article of the Week page

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster of VALLEY OF THE DOOMED (1960)

A PEPLUM Western. Colourful poster, with Chelo Alonso front and center.