Friday, November 22, 2019


I take a break every two months and my last break was at the end of September. 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!"

By the Gods!

Gianna Maria Canale, as Sabina, arrives in a Roman litter in SPARTACUS - SINS OF ROME (1953)

I recently acquired a virtually uncut version of this movie, in English no less. Unfortunately the audio is horrible so I need to fix it. An additional 20 minutes over the old version available everywhere (which I uploaded to my PEPLUM TV channel). This scene happens at the beginning. It's so great to view the film the way it was meant to be seen. Directed by Riccardo Freda. One of the best PEPLUM movies ever made.

Massimo Girotti (Spartacus) and Canale during one of the film's best moments. The dialogue in the Italian version and the English dub is sorta different even though both are good. Thanks to the beautiful B&W photography, they both look like Greek statues or deities.

Blog notes

As December is just around the corner, and the year's end will be soon upon us, I feel the need to go over stuff about this blog and other sites, including, and social media accounts.

This blog,, is healthier than ever before. Just look at the traffic shown in the screenshot below. On average, the blog gets between 1000 to 2000 visits a day. It's been picking up nicely these past few weeks, which makes me sad because I'm taking a break now. 

The blog's lifetime views: roughly 3.5 million views.

Stats for individual pages:

PEPLUM - Heroes & Beefcake - 44590 views

PEPLUM - Babes & Beauties - 35468 views

PEPLUM Introduction - 22581 views

Tragic Stars  - 18515 views

Featured Film - 17241 views

The Real PEPLUM X - 15999 views

Special Features - 15283 views

Titles - 15194 views

30 Greatest Moments of PEPLUM Cinema - 13872 views

Actors/Crew - 7954 views

PEPLUM Cliches -  6936 views

I'm amazed by how popular the Tragic Stars page is. You can navigate through the permanent pages on the left hand side menu.


I'll keep posting at this photos only blog.


The new blog is going smoothly even though the main reason why I created is still in the works. I'll disclose it soon enough, probably before the end of the year.

Youtube channels

I have two Youtube channels. PEPLUM TV and the new one BY THE GODS. PEPLUM TV is more popular than ever. The channel has over 220K subscribers. And it never stops even if I have to keep deleting uploads because of false copyright claims. As for BY THE GODS, well, it's just a back-up channel until my other projects kick in.

Youtube recently stated that they will choose to close channels which aren't 'commercially viable' to them. Since my channel has been demonetized for over a year, Youtube doesn't make any money from it. I'm not saying they will close the channel but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. I don't know if they'll go after BY THE GODS since it's a new channel and still growing. If Youtube decides to close my main channel, here are some of stats for it.

PEPLUM TV lifetime views: 89 million!!! (it's actually higher than that since many videos were removed)

Most popular videos:

THE TRIUMPH OF MACISTE starring Kirk Morris - over 21 million views!

HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS starring Mark Forest - over 15 million views!

HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES starring Kirk Morris - over 9 million views!

These are the top 3 only. There are other videos in the millions of views as well. It would be sad if Youtube closed the channel but there's nothing much I can do about it. One thing's for sure: PEPLUM movies are POPULAR!

I haven't done a Fan Dub since the channel was demonetized. I have very little time on my hands these days but I'll try to go back to it eventually. But I admit that I've been burned one too many times: other people or channels stealing my work and profiting from it. It's all so disheartening.

The BY THE GODS channel is a back up channel, in case anything happens to the main one. It's also be part of the upcoming, unannounced project associated with the blog.

Social media accounts

The Twitter and Facebook accounts of PEPLUM TV are still going strong. You can view the stats on their pages. I enjoy keeping them up to date but my main focus is really the blogs and Youtube channels. But there are some really amazing friends at the Facebook account. There's more engagement there than the blog itself.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated on new projects and things in the works. I'm so busy right now that I have to find time to do just the smallest of things.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

By the Gods!

Tere Velázquez and Lex Johnson become lovers in THE RAPE OF THE SABINES (1962)

A unique movie in that it's a Mexican production aping an Italian PEPLUM movie. It's an odd production with some merit but it's more of a curio than anything else. The movie is awkward in that it's really self-conscious that it's mimicking a genre popular in a different culture. As a facsimile, it's pretty good but once you look beyond the obvious appearance of it all, the movie has little to offer. To the uninitiated, the movie might appear to be a typical PEPLUM but to me as a die-hard fan, the movie lacks a plethora of stuff which automatically tells me this ain't the real thing. It's shot in 'Mexiscope' which is 1.37:1, or nearly 4:3, not widescreen, the preferred aspect ratio of European productions. This observational point is easy to notice but other missing elements which give it away, like the same props seen in almost every Italian movie, such as the same cauldron. Missing are the same supporting actors or extras who are rarely credited, and of course the familiar locations, like the Monte Gelato waterfall.

The script follows the classic story: Romulus and Remus fight (briefly), and the victorious Romulus decides to establish Rome but they need women so they kidnap the women from the nearby Sabine tribe. The story shows how the women eventually become the wives of their new husbands. It's a turgid sort of a 'sex comedy', focused mainly on two couples: Lex Johnson and Tere Velázquez, and Wolf Ruvinskis and Lorena Velázquez. Wolf Ruvinskis acted in many Mexican productions, including popular wrestling movies. The two Velázquez also worked extensively in the Mexican movie industry. To set the two women apart: Tere is the dark haired one and Lorena is the lighter haired one (Lorena's hair actually abruptly changes to different shade throughout the movie). And Lex Johnson, an American, acted in just a couple of movies and TV production. This was his first starring role. He sorta fits the genre, like Ed Fury did.

The production is very ordinary, TV-like. The exterior sets look like an unused amusement park. The women's costumes are flashy, maybe a bit too flashy. And the men sport the typical tiny tunic/peplum popular in those movies back then, and since most of the men are very fit, the little clothes they wear suits them. There is some narration. The man who narrates sounds like Orson Welles.

It's known under different titles: THE RAPE OF THE SABINES, THE RAPE OF THE SABINE WOMEN, THE SHAME OF THE SABINE WOMEN or THE REBELLION OF THE SABINES (title of Spanish release). I used the title seen in the opening credit: THE RAPE OF THE SABINES. The movie is not bad. It is entertaining but it's not remarkable by any means. For example, the fight between Romulus and Remus at the beginning is one of the lamest things you'll ever see. There's an attempt for the story to touch upon the many aspects of the legend but since they have very little time (80 minutes or so), everything is touched upon in a superficial manner. It's not one of those PEPLUM movies which I watch over and over because they're so much fun.

Lex Johnson and Wolf Ruvinskis, as Romulus, who just killed Remus. Underwhelming scene.

There were two SABINE movies released around the same period. This one and the more famous ROMULUS & THE SABINE WOMEN (1961) starring Roger Moore, Mylene Demongeot and a cast of famous Italian and European actors. It's enjoyable but not very convincing. Like many PEPLUM movies of the time, the 1961 one wavered awkwardly between comedy and seriousness, ultimately to its detriment. Which one I prefer? I definitely prefer the Italian one even though the Mexican production focused mainly on the effects of the mass abduction while the ROMULUS & THE SABINE WOMEN was more focused on Moore playing the lover of many women.

I have three versions of this: the Something Weird release at 81 minutes (it's not available at Something Weird anymore). And two versions in Spanish, one in B&W and the other in color. Both have the same title during the opening credits and are also 81 minutes long.


US lobby cards set of THE RAPE OF THE SABINES (1962), here as THE SHAME OF THE SABINE WOMEN. Colourful set but it's a fairly poor one in that it only includes scenes of the mass abduction, which is just one part of the movie. No photos of the male actors and some shots of Tere Velázquez and Lorena Velázquez. It's still eye catching and I wouldn't mind having it but there's no variety.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

By the Gods!

The opening title of SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960; L'assedio di Siracusa)

This is from the open credits of the Italian copy since the US version is missing in action. My favourite opening from any PEPLUM movie. The music, the direction, the zooming on the artwork screams we're in for an epic story. And it is. Directed by Pietro Francisci, who understood the PEPLUM genre more than anyone else. Note: I cut part of the opening to make the file size small.

Peculiar PEPLUM titles

I came across a Youtube channel which uploaded many of my videos to their channel. Amongst the other titles there were titles for movies I never heard of. The distributor, Republic Pictures, acquired these old black & white copies of actual Italian movies, *retitled* them and sold them as different movies from the original ones. Anyway, very odd.

LAND OF GLADIATORS is actually THE INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR (1961). The original English intro was cut and a new credits were created.

ALI BABA AND THE DARK WIZARD is ALI BABA AND THE SACRED CROWN (1962), which is also known as THE SEVEN TASKS OF ALI BABA. The opening English credits were also cut, replaced by the new title and abbreviated credits.

Like the two above, this title doesn't exist. It's actually MACISTE - AVENGER OF THE MAYANS (1965). This Spanish title translates as HERCULES AGAINST THE WILD GOD.

Every video starts with this logo.

Monday, November 18, 2019

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott and Gianna Maria Canale are rivals and lovers in THE LION OF ST. MARK (1963)

This is one of the best Gordon Scott productions...or is it a Gianna Maria Canale film? Regardless, the movie is tops. The cinematography is lush. The score by Carlo Rustichelli is excellent and bold. The cast, which includes Rik Battaglia and Franca Bettoia, is strong. The story is set in Venice and the locations are very nice. Scott is the son of the Doge, who moonlights as the masked avenger. Pirates are terrorizing Venice and the Adriatic coast and the masked 'Lion of St-Mark' gets involved. Is he friend or foe? Canale is part of the pirates who is captured by Venetian forces and Scott frees her (by buying her freedom), telling the men who captured her that he'll personally take care of her case but the two fall for each other and instead releases her, with a promise the two would meet again.

My only (minor) complaint about the movie is the use of some dilapidated locations, which were most likely not dilapidated hundreds ago but were when the movie was shot. These locations were mostly used for large scale fight scenes. But the interior sets are beautiful. Of all the 'Masked Avenger' movies made during the Golden Era, this is one of the best.

PEPLUM Movie Posters

German poster of THE THREE AVENGERS (1964)

The German title translates as THE INVINCIBLE THREE. Interesting design. Part artwork (bottom and 3 swords) with image from movie, with Mimmo Palmara and Alan Steel.

Friday, November 15, 2019

By the Gods!

A scene of Babylon from ALEXANDER (2004)

Is anyone impressed by this CGI scenes? I never really care for them. They almost always look fake or like some elaborate animation. Visually, it's striking for a few seconds but the longer these scenes remain on screen, the less impressive they become. It's not that different than matte paintings seen in old movies but these somehow look more like paintings than actual matte paintings of the past.

Wardrobe malfunction

Andre Lawrence in 7 FROM THEBES (1964). Oops!

Updated the page with new examples.

PEPLUM DVD reviews

I recently bought a couple of DVDs and Blu-rays and wrote about it here. I already mentioned the HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED Blu-rays from Japan so I won't review them. Here's a quick rundown of the regular DVDs.

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII - German DVD (Starlight/ Intergroove edition)

Steve Reeves in the arena. Spectacular.

Even though I already have this movie from various sources I wanted to see how good this German DVD was since I heard good things about it. Well, it's good but not as great as its reputation. Though the image quality is excellent pretty much throughout (see above) a couple of scenes are really badly transferred. See below. All in all, it's good but not great. Can't wait for the Blu-ray of this spectacular movie. Includes English, German and Italian audio.

Angel Aranda. Awful transfer during this scene. 


Rod Taylor, Ed Fury and Dorian Gray.

I bought this German DVD in hopes of having a great version of this: no cuts and such. Well, the DVD is good but it's cut. The original version has brief title cards which have all been cut. Maybe the fact that they cut the original text, which were in Italian, because it would have been too complicated to translate those short scenes. Oh well. I like it but since there's no English or Italian audio, only German, the DVD falls short of being recommended. It was cheap though. Only 4 Euros.

MACISTE - AVENGER OF THE MAYANS - Spanish DVD (Naimara edition)

It says Ingles, or English, for audio but there's no such version

I bought this DVD of this rare movie because it stated on the back that the English track was included. I highly doubted it since it would have surface on the internet but I bought it anyway and lo and behold, there's no English track included. Not recommended at all.

GRANDES FILM CLASICOS DVD set (Impulso edition) -

I bought this set to see how good the transfers were. They are all excellent. Italian and Spanish audio included. I prefer watching the Italian version. The transfers are definite upgrades over what version were available out there. SAMSON & THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD is uncut. It includes the 10 minute missing at the start of the US cut. The previous copy of ATLAS IN TE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS was not bad but this one is beautiful. And SON OF SAMSON is the best upgrade. It looks so much better than any of the multiple versions I have in my collection. Some scenes are a bit too dark but the scenes set in the exterior are gorgeous. So, overall this set is very good. I wished they had the English audio. It would have made the set even greater.

Films included:


Gordon Mitchell in a scene from the movie. Good transfer.


Hélène Chanel seen in the 10 minutes cut from the US version. Good transfer with the contrast a bit too high.


Chelo Alonso and Mark Forest. This scene is a bit too dark but overall this transfer is a vast  improvement over the only US release.

THE CONQUEROR - US DVD (Good times home video)

This edition was release in 1999. It's still very good. Though the package says the aspect ration is 2.35:1 once I ripped the DVD it came out as 4:3. It's widescreen with black bars on top and bottom. I just had to remove the black bars and got a full widescreen version of this. There's a HD version scheduled (or already released?). I don't mind this movie at all and I don't understand why it's so hated. It's basically a B-movie with a great cast and production. Let's not take it too seriously. It only cost me $3.00 for the DVD so it was a great bargain. English, French and Spanish audio included. Without a doubt this is the best deal from this haul and I'm very happy with it.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

By the Gods!

Massimo Serato and Livio Lorenzon (background) send Ugo Sasso to his death in CAVALIER IN DEVIL'S CASTLE (1959; Il cavaliere del castello maledetto)

A solid PEPLUM with a great cast: Massimo Serato, Irène Tunc, Luisella Boni, Pierre Cressoy, Ugo Sasso, Livio Lorenzon, and Luciano Marin, who died on Tuesday. The story is about an evil man (Serato) who tries to marry himself into power and a masked avenger known as The Masked Cavalier who tries to stop him. Who is the Masked Cavalier? It's sorta easy to figure out, even with all the red herrings. The story is pretty much standard stuff (so many PEPLUM films have this storyline) and it has pretty much almost every PEPLUM clichés known to man but it's solidly directed by Mario Costa, so the familiar script doesn't detract. Serato is especially good in this but there is one major problem: his two ladies keep dumping on him throughout the story. A villain should always have a compliant mistress or lover, who's as unscrupulous as he is. If he doesn't than he's really not that powerful or important if he can't a single babe to love him. But it doesn't stop him from trying to woe him and in one scene he's so good that Contessa Isabella (Luisella Boni) is confused: she hates him with a passion but he was able to persuade her for a while. Pierre Cressoy, who usually is the lead actor, is sorta wasted in this. The fate of his character is a bit confusing. The film was originally shot in color and widescreen but this copy is in B&W. The English title is a bit odd. The original Italian title translates as THE KNIGHT OF THE CURSED CASTLE. Very entertaining.

The cast: Pierre Cressoy, Live Lorenzon, Luisella Boni and Luciano Marin

Actor Profile: Luciano Marin (R.I.P.)

Luciano Marin in THE TARTARS (1961)

Continuing with profiling supporting actors of Italian/Euro PEPLUM films. This time it's on Luciano Marin, who, remarkably enough died on November 12 at the age of 87. I was working on his profile, starting with THE TARTARS (1961) on Tuesday. So, this post is an actor's profile and a R.I.P..

Luciano was a supporting actor in the PEPLUM genre: he never had lead role. He often played the handsome son of the lead actor's character, and often was the secondary 'young' love story whenever the lead actor didn't have a love interest. Even though he was portrayed as being young, he was in his late 20s, early 30s when he made most of his movies. He appeared in 26 movies between 1958 and 1965, 15 of which were of the PEPLUM genre, many of which are classics. R.I.P..

CAVALIER IN DEVIL'S CASTLE (1959; Il cavaliere del castello maledetto)

Above and below: Luciano's first PEPLUM style movie was this fun black&white Swashbuckler auctioneer. He was the 'young' one who's often mischievous even though he was 28 years old during that time. Below, he's with perennial villain Livio Lorenzon.

SON OF RED CORSAIR (1959; Il figlio del corsaro rosso )

Above & below: Luciano had a supporting role as Miguel. He co-starred with Sylvia Lopez.

GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS (1959; Il terrore dei barbari )

Above and below: Probably his most famous role, Luciano co-starred with Steve Reeves in this classic.

SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960; L'assedio di Siracusa )

Above and below: Luciano played the son of Archimedes in this epic directed by Pietro Francisci. Alberto Farnese and Tina Louise played his parents even though his real father was Archimedes (below).

FURY OF THE PAGANS (1960; La furia dei barbari)

Luciano had a supporting role in this barbarian movie.

THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960; I giganti della Tessaglia)

Massimo Girotti and Luciano on the Argo

Luciano was one of the Argonauts in this epic directed by Riccardo Freda. Another classic.

Luciano and Roland Carey, who was Jason

He was the 'young' love story, with Cathia Caro (back to us).

THE TARTARS (1961; I tartari)

Above and below: Luciano played Victor Mature's son. I profiled this movie on Tuesday, which prompted me to do a profile on the Italian actor. Bella Cortez was his love interest (below)

HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961; Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide)

Above and below: Another classic PEPLUM with Luciano as the son of Hercules, played by Reg Park (above). In real life, Reg was only 3 years older than Luciano. He was also the 'young' love story in this one as well, with Laura Efrikian.

DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961; Orazi e Curiazi)

Luciano co-starred with Alan Ladd.

SULEIMAN THE CONQUEROR (1961; Solimano il conquistatore)

The handsome Luciano had another supporting role in this seldom seen movie

COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE (1962; Maciste contro i mostri)

In a change of pace, Luciano was one of the leading stars in this prehistoric epic. Reg Lewis was the main star but Luciano had a lot to do in this film.

WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962; Le sette folgori di Assur)

Above and below: One of his most substantial roles was in this movie co-starring Jackie Lane (below)

SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964; Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili )

Luciano and Elisa Montés played 'young' lovers in this PEPLUM comedy.

FIRE OVER ROME (1964; L'incendio di Roma)

Luciano had a small role in this epic starring Lang Jeffries. 

MACISTE - AVENGER OF THE MAYANS (1965; Maciste il vendicatore dei Maya)

Barbara Loy, Nando Angelini, Kirk Morris and Luciano Marin made up the main cast of this odd movie.

Scenes from COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE, starring Luciano, were re-ussed with new scenes like the one above. This was his last appearance as an actor on the big screen. He appeared in some TV productions. It was an inauspicious end to a movie career of great hits. 

Previous Actor profiles:

Jacques Berthier

Aldo Pini

Ursula Davis

Philippe Hersent