Friday, July 31, 2020

By the Gods!

Renato Baldini, Gianna Maria Canale and Roger Pigaut in a tense moment in THEODORA - SLAVE EMPRESS (1954)

"You live like cattle! And you're proud of it" Andres (Pigaut) tell Arcas (Baldwin) and Theodora (Canale).

I'm not familiar with Roger Pigaut's career as he practically stopped working in the 1960s. Gianna Maria Canale is, of course, the Queen of Cinecittà. The most prolific female actress of the PEPLUM genre. And then there's Renato Baldini who almost steals the show from under everyone as the hot-tempered and boisterous on and off lover of Theodora. A great movie directed by Riccardo Freda. 

At the movies...

SPARTACUS (1960) playing at the De MILLE theatre. Below is the flashy billboard advertising the movie and cinema.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

By the Gods!

Rosalba Neri and Mimmo Palmara in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965)

The two are the villains in the story and the casting couldn't have been better. The two should have made tons of movies together. They were a match made in heaven (or is it hell?). Alas, it didn't happen. One of my favourite PEPS. 

Interview with Roland Carey

A true find: an interview with the ever elusive Roland Carey, star of THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960), SWORD OF EL CID (1962), and  REVOLT OF THE BARBARIANS (1964). The interview is in French but I'm fluent in French so I got everything.

This interview is really fun. Roland seemed to be a fun guy, with a good sense of humour. He does drop a lot of names here, including auditioning for Sergio Leone for the role that Clint Eastwood eventually got. According to Roland, Leone wanted an American actor and the moment Leone saw he wasn't American, he said the audition was over. He mentioned that he and Clint both dated Linda Christian and became friends from this relationship. He mentioned that he filmed a pilot for a TARZAN TV series but he had to refuse the series since the contract was for 7 years. He said he didn't want to be tied to a TV series for so long. Lotsa fun trivia in it. Roland died last year so this interview is a keep. It shows clips of his movies, including his PEPLUM ones.

Roland as Jason in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

Monday, July 27, 2020

By the Gods!

The sacrificial ceremony scene from CARTHAGE IN FLAMES (1960)

This scene is way too brief in the gargantuan movie. I don't know if that's Anne Haywood being help up, sans clothes, or a body double. The identity of the actor who played the sacrificer is unknown. Both are basically nude. Quite daring for 1960. I don't know if Anne's voice was used for the English dub. It's my favourite scene from this epic. It's really spectacular but unfortunately it's short. They should have stretched this scene for all its worth (big sets and all). Oh well...

PEPLUM Movie poster

French poster of THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964; aka Messalina vs the Son of Hercules)

Great art. A popular design with PEPLUM posters: having the Hero appear between a gladiator's legs. 

PEPLUM TV Official store

Thursday, July 23, 2020

By the Gods!

Richard Burton as Alexander in ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

For some reason, this movie on the legendary life of the Greek leader draws vastly different views. It's sorta polarizing. Some people hate it. Personally, I like it. It's aloof (like many movies back then) but the production is excellent, the cast is excellent, the look of the movie is very good. But the episodic screenplay is sorta flat. So much to cover in so little time. Will there ever be a film or TV series that will do justice to it? With the current political correct/cancel culture/ anti-Western culture hysteria going on at the moment, would people watch something based on a conqueror?

Steve Reeves' leading ladies: who's your favorite?

Steve Reeves made 14 PEPLUM movies and of those movies he starred along beautiful leading ladies. He often had two female characters he was besotted by (or vice versa).

Note: I only included those who were lovers of Reeves' characters, or women who tried to seduce him. For example, I didn't include Gianna Maria Canale from SON OF SPARTACUS because she doesn't try to seduce him or show any interest in Reeves' character, Randus.

Who's your favorite?

HERCULES (1958) - Sylva Koscina

Sylva Koscina played Iole, the fated daughter of King Pelias. Her family goes through a lot once Hercules (Reeves) shows up to help Pelias with training his soldiers. A perennial favorite. 

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) - Sylvia Lopez

The statuesque Sylvia Lopez played Omphale in this sequel to the popular 1958 release. Omphale tried to make Hercules forget all about Iole.

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) - Sylva Koscina

Sylva reprised her role as Iole even though she had to 'share' screen time with a rival in Omphale.

THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) - Giorgia Moll

The comely Giorgia Moll was the 'nice' love interest to Steve's character. This was her first of two films she made with Steve.

THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) - Scilla Gabel

Scilla Gabel played the bored princess who sympathized with Agi Murad (Reeves)


Cuban-born Chelo Alonso was the hip shaking love interest to Reeves' Goliath. Another perennial favorite of many fans.

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) - Christine Kaufmann

Christine's first big role in a PEPLUM movie was being the leading love interest to Steve Reeves. She was 14 years old when she made the movie!

THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) - Mylène Demongeot

Mylène Demongeot was the moody leading leading in this Steve Reeves action epic. 

THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) - Daniela Rocca

Daniela Rocca's character tried to seduce Phillipides (Reeves) to no avail. 

MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) - Chelo Alonso

Chelo and Steve returned in this excellent pirate movie. She loved Morgan but Morgan had his eyes set on someone else.

MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) - Valérie Lagrange

Valérie Lagrange was the chaste love interest to Reeves' Captain Morgan. 

THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) - Giorgia Moll

Giorgia and Steve were re-united for this colorful fantasy adventure. 

THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) - Edy Vessel

Edy Vessel played a seductress who tried to kill Karim (Reeves). A brief but memorable role.

THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) - Juliette Mayniel

Juliette played Creusa, the tragic wife of Aeneas. 

THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) - Edy Vessel

Edy Vessel, as Helen of Troy, was a seductress to Reeves' Aeneas. 

DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) - Virna Lisi

Virna Lisi was cast as the love-interest to Reeves' Romulus.

SON OF SPARTACUS (1962) - Ombretta Colli

Ombretta played a slave that Randus (Reeves) saved.

THE LAST GLORY OF TROY (1962) - Carla Marlier

Carla was the moody love interest to Reeves' Aeneas in this sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE.

SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963) - Geneviève Grad

Geneviève Grad and Reeves' characters became romantically involved during their arduous struggle.

SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964) - Jacqueline Sassard

Jacqueline was the chaste love interest to Reeves' Sandokan. There's very little romance in it but a Hero always had to have a leading lady to support him.

That's it. A pretty good list of beautiful and interesting characters.

So, who's your favorite?

PEPLUM Xtra: Mae West with Ed Fury and Reg Lewis

Monday, July 20, 2020

By the Gods!

Captain Morgan (Steve Reeves) is struggling to set himself free from being sold at a slave market in MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960)

In this, Steve plays an 'ordinary' man, in that he doesn't have great strength. He's still powerful, as he overwhelms the men holding him but he's not Hercules of Goliath so he comes across as more human than  most of his roles, which played off of his star making HERCULES (1958) hit. Great film that needs a decent HD transfer.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of SHE (1965)

Very nice poster. It looks 'epic'! The French title translates as THE GODDESS OF FIRE.

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, July 17, 2020

By the Gods!

Mark Forest fights a gorilla (or beast) in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

These scenes are always tricky. Thankfully, the gorilla is dark enough so you can't see the flaws of the costume. And the fight itself is pretty good )one of the highlights of the movie). I wonder, who played the gorilla? Must have been difficult doing stuntwork in that costume. I used to have that clip on my channel and it was pulled. It was very popular. 

At the movies...

Premiere of THE SILVER CHALICE at the Pontiac theatre in Saranac Lake, December 1954. Why Saranac Lake?

Addendum: I got the answer for having the premiere in Saranac Lake (thanks to 'anonymous'):

The world premiere showing of the 1954 film, The Silver Chalice was held at the theatre; the premier was hosted by television personality Art Linkletter. Saranac Lake won the movie premiere for having sold the most Christmas seals that year.

You can view footage of the premiere here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

By the Gods!

Steve Reeves is SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963) 

Sandokan here sports the 'Mark of a Hero', with the claws of a tiger having ripped his shirt and skin. This is one of the popular clichés of the PEPLUM genre, and a sure sign the Hero has earned his 'stripes' to be the leader, sorta speaking. One of Steve's best movies (they're all great, actually). Gino Marturano and Wilbert Bradley are in the background.


Jane Russell visits the set of ANDROCLES & THE LION (1952) to say hello to friend Victor Mature. Both starred in THE LAS VEGAS STORY (1952). ANDROCLES' cast mate Jean Simmons joins in the snapshot. .

Monday, July 13, 2020

By the Gods!

Lucianno Pollentin, Cameron Mitchell, and Elissa Pichelli in KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (1966)

A late entry in the PEPLUM genre, this Mario Bava movie is more drama than action-adventure or fantasy. I don't have any issue with this but for those Bava fans out there looking for his usual colourful camera work will be disappointed as it's one of the most straight-forward movies Bava ever made. I finally got the HD version of this, in English, so I'll be watching it soon enough. Previous versions were only available in Italian. This is one of a handful of Viking movies Cameron Mitchell made in the 1960s. The image quality of the HD version is excellent (as seen in this screenshot) but the English audio is weak and tinny. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Argentinean poster of SAMSON AGAINST THE SHEIK (1962)

A very simple poster. I like it.