Sunday, May 30, 2021


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again.

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!"

Friday, May 28, 2021

By the Gods!

A dying Mark Antony (Charlton Heston) is helped by Cleopatra (Hildegard Neil), Iras (Monica Peterson), and Chairman (Jane Lapotaire) in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972)

I recently got a long version of this movie. It's from a VHS source with Norwegian subtitles. The runtime for this copy is 2 hours and 32 minutes. I already had two copies of this with different length. None of the runtimes from the DVD, the Twilight Time Blu-ray or this VHS copy, or those listed at Amazon or IMDb match. It's very confusing! The screenshot above wasn't taken from the VHS copy. The movie itself looks great.

Addendum: I just figured out the difference between runtimes. The Twilight Time Blu-ray edition has the musical intro and outro. My other versions do not have them, including the Norwegian VHS copy. I'll have more on the differences in a future post.

At the movies...

The premiere of HELEN OF TROY (1956)at the Warner theatre in Leicester Square, London. The Queen attended the premiere event. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

By the Gods!

Zoroaster (Arnoldo Foà) warns Mirra (Jackie Lane) of impending doom in WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962)

I believe that this is the only PEPLUM film to have the prophet Zoroaster in its story. Zoroaster was the one who founded Zoroastrianism centuries before Christianity. It's a unique religion in that one can only be born in it. Arnoldo, who died in 2014, lived to 97 and acted in over 100 productions, including other PEPLUM productions. He was a very good actor even though Zoroaster probably didn't look like that. I like this film, even with all its faults.

(Blogger is experiencing massive technical issues across all blogs. I couldn't upload anything new so I had to re-post something already published)


Stanley Baker and Anouk Aimée wait for a scene to be ready while working on SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Clip of the week: SAMSON AND THE SLAVE QUEEN (1963)

Alan Steel vs Pierre Brice. Clip taken from a Fan Dub I made. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

By the Gods!

Queen Zenobia (Anita Ekberg) and Marcus Valerius (Georges Marchal) in SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) 

This is a screenshot of a recent copy I got from my most excellent PEPLUM source somewhere in Europe. This print was the one available for streaming from RAI in Italy. I didn't retouch the image. Now why would they show a print like this? There's already a beautiful print out there so why not use that one? This one looks like it was transferred straight from an old battered 35 mm print with no colour correction. I'm trying to understand the reasoning here. The nice one was too expensive? They didn't have the rights to it? It's quite fascinating. Great movie nonetheless.

Musings! (05-25)

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)

This week's musings will center mostly on the small batch of DVDs and Blu-ray I got. Oddly enough, even the Cinematic Confusion comes from one of the new DVDs.

Recent acquisitions

Blu-ray edition of THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932)

I bought this Blu-ray because the copies of the movie in my collection are pretty mediocre. The movie itself is great and the Kino Lorber copy is fine but the grain is insane. This movie was shot in Academy ratio or 4:3 so of course the image doesn't stretch to the 16x9 aspect ratio of modern TV screens. This edition is a step above the old ones I had but the visible grain is sometimes distracting.

German DVD of MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1964) starring Reg Park. I bought this DVD expecting very little and I got very little. It's basically the same edition as the one available on the French Double DVD pack released years ago (below), but with (scratchy) German and Italian audio, and a slightly higher resolution. The DVD case comes with a removable double-sided cover. More on this below at Cinematic Confusion. The Amazon page for this DVD says English is included but it's not.

Three dupes from a seller pointed out to me by Orsh549. Remarkably enough, this seller is the first fellow I traded with over a decade ago. I stopped trading with him after some nasty dupes. I'm very familiar with him. I bought these dupes because I wanted to see if DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) and SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960), two Paramount pictures releases which I already discussed here at a previous Musings!, were legit. DUEL OF THE TITANS is but SIEGE OF SYRACUSE is an old copy from Sinister Cinema, which is in Italian with English subtitles. I had this copy over a decade ago so that one was disappointing but the DUEL OF THE TITANS dupe is glorious (image below). It has the modern day Paramount logo and the opening credits are in widescreen but the movie itself is in 4:3. The English dub and I assume is the original US theatrical runtime. I have to study this one and compare it with the recent Blu-ray from Germany. I'm very happy to finally have the official US version of this movie. It was most likely taken from a DVR of a showing on some cable network. 

Steve Reeves and Virna Lisi in DUEL OF THE TITANS, US edition.

The third movie is THE COSSACKS (1960) starring Edmund Purdom. It's a terrible print taken from a VHS source but at least it's the English version so that's a plus.

I doubt I'll be buying from this place again. I don't want to end up with old copies from other places like Sinister Cinema or Something Weird. 

Cinematic Confusion

The Cinematic Confusion this week comes from the German edition of MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES I got yesterday in the mail. As I stated above, the slipcover is double-sided so one can choose which cover they prefer. Remarkably enough, both covers have very little to do with the movie itself: they're Tarzan movies not Maciste ones. And no one looks like Reg Park. 

I working on an article about the connection between Tarzan movies and PEPLUM movies. This edition supports it beautifully. Very confusing though.

Speaking of dupes...

If going to sell a dupe, might as well get the title right. So, Hercules against one barbarian? It's HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964) starring Mark Forest and Jose Greci. Avoid Synergy DVDs like the plague. 

That's not Reg...

Speaking of Reg Park, I notice that during the big crowd scene in the fab HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) when Hercules arrives in Atlantis, he's really not in the shot. They show a close-up of Reg and in the next scene (below), with the large crowd, it's a body double who walks towards the temple. The man doesn't walk like Reg and doesn't have the build like big Reg. Cost cutting measures are a normal thing when making movies but this one takes the cake.


Last week's 'Identify the movie' was a scene from LOVE IN ROME starring PEPLUM stars Mylene Demongeot, Jacques Sernas and Vittorio de Sica. It's not a PEPLUM movie but a scene of the three working on a PEPLUM movie. It's a great scene.


Future Musings:

- List of PEPLUM books

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?

Monday, May 24, 2021

By the Gods!

Alan Steel in action in HERCULES AGAINST ROME (1964)

Some really beautiful prints in HD have surfaced recently. Again, not in English but Italian or French. It's one of my favourites. It's a fun movie without being too silly like many latter day PEPLUM epics sorta became. I'm certain that if this movie was to be released on Blu-ray in English it would sell like hotcakes but alas no one out there has the wherewithal to make this happen. 

PEPLUM Movie Posters

British poster of GLADIATOR OF ROME (1962) 

Many PEPLUM movies were officially released in Britain. It's always great to see official movie memorabilia of Italian PEPLUM movies in English. 

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, May 21, 2021

By the Gods!

Gianna Maria Canale in TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962)

The movie will have a DVD release in France (link) but no Blu-ray. It's odd that DVDs are still being made in 2021. No info on languages/audio options. Gianna is my favourite actress of PEPLUM movies so this release is great. There were a handful of female Pirate movies back then. This is one of the better ones.

Addendum: has the movie listed for sale, available July 6. Audio options: Italian and French. No English.

At the movies...

SPARTACUS (1960) playing at the Pantages theatre, in Hollywood.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

By the Gods!

Marco Antonio (Luis Sandrini) and Cleopatra (Maria Antonieta Pons) in THE INTIMATE LIFE OF MARK ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1947)

Yesterday I posted a clip from this movie. It's often overlooked even though it's quite opulent. There are dozens of matte paintings, big sets, costumes, etc. It was made before SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949) and FABIOLA (1949). It was probably green lighted after the more opulent CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA (1945) was release, and this comedy was inspired by it. There were few PEPLUM movies of the 1940s and this one is certainly one of the tops one of that decade. The story starts in the present and slowly moves to the past. The intro is tedious but once it's entirely set in Ancient Rome, it's fun and colourful. I'm not familiar with any of the actors in this Mexican production (it's not Italian). I have two copies of this, one with English subtitles and one without. Both prints are murky in quality. 

Lobby Cards Set: THE GODDESS OF LOVE (1957)

US lobby cards set of GODDESS OF LOVE (1957) starring Belinda Lee, Jacques Sernas, and Massimo Girotti. Not bad but should have contained a few more stand-out scenes from the film, like the one on the beach. I guess that was too racy. The best card is the top right one. This set proves the movie was released in English, the English version is still missing in action.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

By the Gods!

The city of Troy seen with Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) in the foreground, from FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

The appearance of the matte painting is interesting in that we see the city of Troy when Achilles lifts up a body. It's not a scene in which we see when a character arrives at the city after a long journey or something. It makes the scene look quite incidental which heightens its realism. It's quite clever. The city looks barren though.

Musings! (05-18)

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)


With summer quickly approaching, things should take a few turns here. Many projects which I've set aside for months should take shape during the next 3 or 4 months (if everything goes according to plan...)

Cinematic Confusion

The artwork is confusing: Yes, Jayne Mansfield is blonde but in the movie she has dark hair. And Hercules, played by Mickey Hargitay, is not has dark haired and has no beard. They also don't wear any clothes which resemble the artwork. I always wonder how they always come up with this kind of conflicting/confusing art?

Identify the movie!

Can you identify this movie and the 3 mains stars in this screenshot? Without searching IMDb or the internet, of course.

Have you seen?

This BARABBAS (2012) mini-series starring Billy Zane. I saw clips of this movie and it sorta looks okay but it's nearly 3 hours long. Yeesh.

Movies I watched


Very good PEPLUM, a classic. Some scenes still hit hard. I purchased the Blu-ray because my copy was fairly plain, in terms of resolution and quality. 


Of course, I watched this rare movie more than once. The only thing missing are English subtitles. I highly doubt the English dub will ever surface. 


The bootleg copy I recently got is incomplete and in poor quality but even so I watched it twice.


A recent acquisition. I watched it last night. Very entertaining.

Recent Acquisitions

I got this DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955) Blu-ray from Germany. Some say it's not a PEPLUM and one could argue that they're right but sword fights don't belong in Westerns and this movie has 3 good sword fights. Starring Lex Barker and Patricia Medina. Original English track included. 


I purchased this MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINE (1964) DVD from Germany as well. It's a standard DVD. The cover is odd / interesting. I'll give a quick overview of it once I get it. No English track though even if Amazon says there is one.


As I already mentioned before, I wanted to create a Youtube channel with short clips from PEPLUM movies. TikTok now has taken off and Youtube has introduced a new feature called Youtube Shorts, hoping to compete with the wildly successful TikTok. Funny how things work out in the end. This feature is only available in a few countries, not mine, so I won't be able to do these yet but once it'll become available I should create these clips and it should be fun.


Future Musings:

- List of PEPLUM books

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?

Monday, May 17, 2021

By the Gods!

Jason (Roland Carey) has to climb a giant statue to retrieve the Golden Fleece in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

If there's one PEPLUM movie I thought would be available in HD early on, it's this one. And yet here we are and it's still not available in HD. With a proper transfer, this movie will look amazing in HD, certainly this scene, which, in my view, is one of the top scenes of the PEPLUM genre. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Japanese poster of THE SON OF SPARTACUS (1962; aka The Slave) 

Great poster. Japanese posters are so stylish and dramatic. 

Addendum: this is actually an ad for a Japanese magazine. I presume they used the same artwork for the poster.

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, May 14, 2021

By the Gods!

Charles Laughton and Claudette Colbert in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) 

The photo above is quite amazing, certainly compared to how we see it in the movie itself (below). So much detail missing. The movie itself is quite startling and sorta groundbreaking in a couple of ways but the grandeur, as seen in the photo above, is sorta missing in the tight B&W composition. 

As mentioned in this week's Musings!, THE SIGN OF THE CROSS was re-released in 1944 with additional footage. You can view some additional details at BY THE GODS! blog.


Behind the scenes photo with Sylvia Lopez and Edmund Purdom, in costume, while filming HEROD THE GREAT (1959)

Thursday, May 13, 2021

By the Gods!

Princess Nellifer (Joan Collins), Treneh (Sydney Chaplin) and Nabuna (an unknown actor) in a scene from LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955)

The actor who played Nabuna is s mystery. IMDb credits Carlo D'Angelo as the actor but this is a mistake. The real Carlo is below (from HEROD THE GREAT). These are two different people. So for now his identity remains a mystery. It's odd to watch a big production like this and to have an actor in a good role, with dialogue and all, and remain a mystery. Would Joan know (or remember)? 

Different Versions: HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN from my collection

This will become a regular feature here at the blog. I'll show the different versions of titles, big or small, with at least than 3 versions or more in my collection.

Since publishing the HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN review of The Film Detective Blu-ray review, some have enquired about this TV version I used as an example between the Blu-ray and the Retromedia DVD. I could have used the copy of the French DVD or Italian DVD but I got the Italian broadcast one 8 years ago, in 2013, and I thought that it would be an adequate version for the comaprison.

If you look at my PEPLUM collection I posted online, I don't have DVD discs of the Italian and French DVD releases. I acquired those versions through trades. I have the movie on disc with the MillCreek version (from the WARRIORS 50 megapack), the Retromedia DVD release, which I used in the comparison, and the new Blu-ray release from The Film Detective. All other files are digital via the internet.

For this comparison, I'll go from the highest resolution to the lowest. I have 9 different versions of the movie. I've included the resolutions in each screenshots.

Posted at the permanent page: DIFFERENT VERSIONS

The Film Detective Blu-ray

This is the release with the highest resolution. It's a shame the clarity is pretty weak, there's a distortion in the image and the orange tint ruins what could have been a great release.

Fan Sub version

I don't know who did this Fan Sub (adding custom made English subtitles to a print with a different language) but I believe it was made with the Italian DVD version. In the process, its aspect ratio was up-converted to 1014x434. It's not a native resolution to the original file. It only has the Italian audio.

French DVD version

As I stated before, I don't have the DVD disc of the French version. It's a very good print but on the dark side. This MKV file has both the Italian and French languages.

Retromedia DVD version

I have the disc, from the cool HERCULES COLLECTION boxset. This print has more info on the left side, top and bottom but not on the right side. In English only.

Italian TV Broadcast

This is the so-called Italian TV broadcast version I got back in 2013. This print differs from the French and Italian DVDs so it doesn't originate from these releases. It's cropped from all sides and it's not as dark and the colours are more muted. I used this version for the Blu-ray review. In Italian only.

Italian DVD version

The copy is from the Italian DVD, which I don't have in my collection of physical media, such as DVDs, VHS or Blu-rays. It's much darker than the TV broadcast or the recent Blu-ray release in the US.  And there's more information on all sides.

French VHS version

The French VHS is terrible quality but it's in widescreen. In French only.

Spanish version

I found this Spanish version on Youtube. It's heavily cropped and the colours are very saturated. In Spanish only.

MillCreek version

This is the version from the WARRIORS 50 megapack. Horrible image. In English only.