Thursday, November 5, 2020

By the Gods!

Warren Stevens, Patricia Medina, and Lex Barker in DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955)

The question many might think right now: is this a PEPLUM movie? I say yes. It's not a Western. It's not a costume drama (too much action). It has all the elements of a PEPLUM movie, including sword fights, duels, brawls, etc. This is maybe my favourite William Castle mini-movies he made for Columbia Pictures. I already wrote about Castle 9 years ago here. Lex was in between his Tarzan movies and his future PEPLUM movies made in Europe (he had already done those two THUG movies in Italy). Lex is quite impressive in this. He towers over everyone. This movie used to show up all the time on a now defunct Canadian TV channel, DRIVE-IN CLASSICS. 


Scott Ochiltree said...

There are some Lex Barker European movies that I would love to see, starting with WILD MEN OF KURDISTAN.

Unfortunately it needs either English subtitles (my preference) or dubbing from its original German.

Can you please take on this project? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How do you define a peplum film? I've always been a bit confused as to what criteria the movie must have.

PEPLUM TV said...

DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI is a PEPLUM movie the same way CATHERINE OF RUSSIA starring Hildegard Knef and Sergio Fantoni is a PEPLUM movie. Upon first glance, they don't look seem to be but once you watch them its clear they are.

The most specific definition is a pulpy version of stories. Cast, crew, style and mostly cliches make a PEPLUM movie.

If one has to be specific in the standard definition, movies like THE ROBE wouldn't be included. To most, the definition of PEPLUM is cheap Italian 'knock-offs' of Hollywood films. That's not the definition. French film critics were the first to use the term and they used to describe big moves like TEN COMMANDMENTS to small movies. Even JOHN CARTER was called a PEPLUM by a French film critic at LE MONDE. The umbrella term covers a lot. Art films like THE TROJAN WOMEN shouldn't be included but the storyline is enough for it to be included even if there's nothing pulpy about it. The range is wide.

Anonymous said...

These days it seems every movie in black and white with a shadow is Noir. Now it seems as if every movie with a sword is peplum. These broad definitions seem to be very personal. Peplum is in the eye of the beholder.