Friday, September 27, 2019


I take a break every two months and my last break was July 26. How time flies!

Stay tuned!

I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"

My recent acquisitions: summer 2019

My last haul of PEPLUM stuff was back in May. I've waited some time to do another haul since I was waiting for stuff which took some time to arrive. It seems to be a lot, and it sorta is but it's stuff from over 4 months. I've also purchased some digital books which aren't shown in the pile.

Blu-rays, DVDs, books, posters, magazines, etc.

First, posters and movie memorabilia...

Lotsa stuff. I got most of it on the cheap which to me is mind boggling.

US / Canada movie poster of THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958). It's amazing condition. The movie was released in 1960 in Canada. $20.00 Canadian. Cheap!

Pressbook of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961). It's huge! $10 bucks.

Above and below: Incomplete US lobby cards set of THE MONGOLS + a gorgeous Italian fotobusta. The print quality is out of this world for such an old movie. Only 4 Euros for it! The lobby cards set: $7.99 US!

Incomplete lobby cards set for SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR. Only $7.99 US. 

Incomplete US lobby cards set of HERCULES AND THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON. I'm still wondering if these are (very well preserved) authentic prints or reprints. In any case, I like them.

Complete lobby cards set of QUEEN OF SHEBA. The most expensive thing listed here. Beautiful set.

 Complete US lobby cards set of LEGIONS OF THE NILE (1959). Only $30.00 US. 

Incomplete lobby cards set of THE CENTURION aka CONQUEROR OF CORINTH. I believe the title card is missing. Excellent set.

Above & below: Incomplete lobby cards set of REVENGE OF THE BLACK EAGLE (1951), from Canada. Though the French title was painted over the original English title I still think they're cool. Very rare. And only $18 bucks.

Some cute Danish movie programs. They're very tiny. The titles: DUEL OF THE TITANS; VENGEANCE OF HERCULES (aka original version of Goliath & the Dragon); URSUS IN THE VALLEY OF THE LIONS; GIANT OF MARATHON; THEODORA SLAVE EMPRESS and THE SEVEN REVENGES.

Two US programs (SLAVE GIRLS OF SHEBA and WOMEN OF DEVIL'S ISLAND from Rob Craig) + tons of German movie programs. Very inexpensive. 2 Euros each! There are even more programs in the slips. Too many titles to list. The design inside them is very cool. 

German poster of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS. The artwork is excellent but Mark looks like Anthony Steffen. Only $21.00 US. A steal!

 Half sheet of ERIK THE CONQUEROR. In amazing condition.

 Startling fotobusta of HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH. Cheap: 4 Euros.

 Gorgeous fotobusta of QUEEN OF THE PIRATES.  Again, only 4 Euros!

Fotobusta of NERO & THE BURNING OF ROME. I have yet to see the movie but at least I've got this nice poster.

HERCULES poster from Lebanon. Only $24.00 US. Very cool and it's authentic not a reprint.

Blu-rays and DVDs:

I bought a couple of DVDs and Blu-rays. I already mentioned the HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED Blu-rays from Japan. This HERCULES Blu-ray is my favourite home release of all time. I have more on the DVDs in future reviews. THE CONQUEROR was only $3.00. 

Vintage muscle magazines:

 A bunch of bodybuilding/physique magazines.

I'm not a fan of bodybuilding magazines in general and the content of most of these magazines are pretty much dry and outdated. Some of them feature articles on the PEPLUM genre or a specific bodybuilder who became a star but for the most part, the covers are usually the best thing about them.

 Two magazines with Mark Forest (Lou Degni) on the cover. I got a great deal on these.

Above & below: a bunch of magazines with Steve Reeves on the cover. Most of these are very good since they have articles on Steve inside. The Physique Pictorial below is interesting for the cover: it's a photo of Steve from HERCULES UNCHAINED but it was published in late summer 1959, when HERCULES was being released in the US.

Ed Fury on the cover. Only $5.00!

This tiny magazine is cool. It's the British edition. Imagine: pocket size Steve. Got this one on eBay from a seller in Romania!

Books and other publications: 

I purchased a bunch of recent and vintage publications. There's a mysterious graphic novel/comic book based on HERCULES UNCHAINED. I wrote about this at BY THE GODS! I also got a Fanzine type called PEPLUM by Mirek Lipinski, who follows me at Facebook. He was kind enough to mention my blog/content in it. A colorful publication.

Above & below: I'm still not sure what this is. I think it's a movie program for HERCULES (1958) but the seller on eBay wrote that it was a magazine printed in 1959. This magazine's content only covers HERCULES and nothing else. Hmm... It's in Chinese (anyone out there reads Chinese?). From a seller in Singapore. Very nice.

Another vintage magazine from Singapore with Steve Reeves on the cover. They credited the wrong movie for the cover. The publication is in English. I wish there were more magazines from the past with PEPLUM content.

This publication was sent to me for free. Thanks, David. It has reviews / overviews of PEPLUM movies. It's available at Amazon.

 HERCULES - THE FIRST SUPERHERO. I'll be reading this soon enough. 

DICTIONNAIRE DU PEPLUM. Oh boy...I have so much to say about this publication. 

I bought this digital book from Amazon: Hércules: y los hombres fuertes del cine épico. It's in Spanish. The good thing about this digital book is that I can copy/paste the text, translate it online. The book, like so many out there, is sorta dismissive of the genre. I bought it because Steve was on the cover!

I also bought 'THE NEW PEPLUM: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s' via Kindle.

And last but not least...

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES - A comprehensive filmography by Rob Craig.

Rob was kind enough to send this hefty book to me, for free. Rob had contacted me while he was writing the book. He needed a bunch of photos from PEPLUM movies to be identified. I helped him with the task. He wrote a special personalized note inside. He also sent a stack of photos along with the book. Amazon has it.

I read it and recommend it. AIP was important in the distribution of PEPLUM movies in the US/ Canada, at cinemas, drive-ins or TV. Thanks, Rob.

That's it for now.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

By the Gods!

Samson (Gordon Scott; Maciste in original) brings a young boy to a temple in SAMSON & THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961)

Considering that this movie was directed by Riccardo Freda, one could say it's one of his least 'authored' production. There's not much of the usual stylish Freda touches to be found in it. That doesn't mean it's not good. I like it. There are many great scenes here and there. It's just that Freda's distinctive style is missing. The film could have been directed by any other director.

The entire beginning was cut for the US release. Is it important? Yes and no. It does set up the characters and situation but it does drag the film a bit so it's understandable why 10 or so minutes was cut. The sad part: no English dub for those 10 minutes available anywhere. On a side note, not a single Gordon Scott PEPLUM movie is available on Blu-ray.

Mistakes in CLEOPATRA

CLEOPATRA (1963) was a massive undertaking so it's not surprising to find mistakes or anachronisms throughout the long epic. Here are just a few I noticed.

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When Cleopatra arrives in Rome, you can see the shadows from the scaffolding of the set on the black sphinx. The Arch was also built 300 years after Cleopatra so this scene is historically incorrect.

You can see the bikini tan line on Violeta Montenegro.

Above & below: When Cleopatra is rolled out of the carpet (obviously a stuntman with massive feet), she's wearing sandals but Taylor is seen walking in tiny high heels in the following shot.

Above & below: the shield Richard Burton is holding is lightweight and very pliable. Aluminum? It looks flimsy and fake. They most likely used a lightweight shield because lifting a shield made of real metal would have been tiring when doing or repeating different takes. Also, Burton is looking at his soldiers in the wrong direction between angles.

Elizabeth Taylor was operated on during the filming of the epic production after she developed a case of near fatal pneumonia. The scar is from a tracheotomy, and though not her fault, the irregular appearance of the scar creates issues with continuity: in one scene it's visible and then it's not in the next scene. Because of this, it's easy to determine which scenes were shot prior to the emergency operation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

By the Gods!

Gerard Butler as Set in GODS OF EGYPT (2016)

I avoided watching this movie, not due to the fact that it was panned by every critic out there but simply because new PEPLUM movies are, in general, so predictably disappointing. I finally watched it a few days ago and well, this one was different. First, I need to say that it is wildly inconsistent. Some great stuff meshed with some really cringy stuff. It's a shame the movie was so badly received because this is the most PEPLUM movie made recently! It has ALL the elements of your average PEPLUM tale/production, including a good-hearted thief (below, played by Brenton Thwaites, shades of Giuliano Gemma), his girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton), who reminds me of Bella Cortez, and for the first time in a long time, could be a Queen of neo-PEPLUM cinema. Her journey in the underworld is my favourite part. And of course there's two beefy men battling each other, with Set (Butler, who's fun to watch) fighting Horus (a miscast Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The action, the fighting or the general action throughout, is pure PEPLUM escapism. The score is memorable. It's obvious that director Alex Proyas is a big fan of the genre. This is much better than CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) remake or JOHN CARTER (2012). It's a shame there are many bad scenes, such as the Sphinx scene, which eclipsed the good ones. The casting of some of the roles was bad/questionable. And the uneven CGI also didn't help. Recommended to fans of PEPLUM cinema with some reservations. 

Set's soldiers with shields glowing like the sun, to blind Horus. Another movie inspired by the climax from SOLOMON & SHEBA (1959)


Jane Powell and Steve Reeves flex some muscle while filming ATHENA (1954)