Tuesday, May 25, 2021

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?


Anonymous said...

I think the Sign of the Cross Blu-ray is about as good as it is going to get. After all it was made in 1932.
I read this sad news on a Kino blog yesterday...

MACISTE CONTRO IL VAMPIRO is most likely canceled. The Italians were not willing to share the films elements with the studio. We hope to replace the title with something else.

PEPLUM TV said...

Yes, SIGN OF THE CROSS is an old movie and for the most part the grain is fine but I've seen some old movies of the period without that much grain.

I'm not surprised about the cancelation of MACISTE CONTRO IL VAMPIRO. Disappointed but not surprised.

orsh549 said...

I have the Cecil B. DeMille collection from Universal and I am satisfied with the DVDs. I did have an idea about the actors for that movie, but was totally stumped by the movie. I'll have to search for this movie.