Wednesday, June 30, 2021


Alan Steel enters the lair of the Moon men in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

By the Gods!

Sylvia Syms and Louis Jourdan in AMAZONS OF ROME (1961)

I haven't written a lot about this movie in recent years (but I did at the beginning of the blog). I like the movie but I can't get past the casting of Jourdan as a barbarian. I always joke: Cary Grant wasn't available? I understand what the director tried to do here (showing that barbarians were not just mindless idiots), and Jourdan is a good actor but the testosterone level in his character is low. Syms is very good in this pseudo-feminist movie. It's a solid production with a good cast but needed more oomph. The title probably did a disservice to the movie. I give 7 out of 10.

Musings! (06-29)

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


In last week's musings, I wrote about acquiring the VHS tape of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972) starring and directed by Charlton Heston. This tape, released in 1985, is the only uncut copy available to the public. The Blu-ray from Twilight Time is cut. Copies which have appeared on TV are heavily cut. I got the VHS just because of this. The issue was how to transfer it to digital. I'll go over this here.

It just so happens that I have a DVD recorder which also has a VCR. It's from Samsung and it's one of the best piece of electronics ever made. The last time I used it was a decade or so ago. I transferred almost all of my tapes to digital and once that task was over, I set the DVD recorder aside. Just a note: I don't own a TV set. Just computers. And with this recorder, a TV is needed. Now this amazing piece of electronics has ALL the connections behind it: RCA, composite, s-video and, yes, HDMI. 

Since I don't have a TV and no computer monitors with a HDMI connection, I had to buy a tiny, cheap monitor on Amazon. It has all the connections, including HDMI. I connected the tiny screen to the HDMI port. And proceeded to record something for the first time in over 10 years. Remarkably enough, the DVD/VCR recorder worked flawlessly. It's super easy to set up and operate. You just press one button on the remote: copy to DVD. I just needed to remember the process and steps and boom, the movie is now on DVD; see photo above with the DVD's menu. Photo below is a screenshot of the transfer. 

The one problem was the length of the movie. Since it's 160 minutes long, a regular 2 hour DVD is not good enough. So I had to record the film on two DVD+Rs. I have two external disc players, one for regular DVDs and another for Blu-rays. I put the discs in, ripped them and voila, I now have the uncut version in digital format.

Since this is VHS, the quality is obviously not comparable to DVD or Blu-ray but it's still pretty cool. I watched it as it recorded. This is truly the only version to watch.

I'll do a comparison of different versions soon.

I have other VHS tapes in my collection, including double cassettes of THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964) and SPARTACUS (1960) so i think I need to buy 8.5 gb DVD+R discs for those transfers.


Spanish VHS cover of THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR (1964) starring Mark Forest. This cover is cute but has nothing to do with the movie itself. First, Mark Forest has no beard. Second, there is no chariot race in the movie. Third, a chariot race with lions? Now I'd like to see that. 


Can you identify this movie from this screenshot? Should be pretty easy, if you know the movie, of course.

Ivan was able to identify the movie. It's TARKAN VS THE VIKINGS (1971). 



The more I watch it the more I appreciate what Charlton Heston tried to do with this movie. It's great. 1972, 1973 and 1974 saw a small explosion of PEPLUM movies, which this one was part of, even though it wasn't released in the US.


A pretty good movie. Every time I watch it, I appreciate even more. The direction is atypical, and the ending is sorta depressing. But overall, it's a PEPLUM movie that has gone under the radar. A movie with Leonora Ruffo (above) is always great to watch. And the speech at the end with Gerard Landry is pretty amazing (below). Landry and Ruffo are such overlooked actors. Note: the title is either SWORDS WITHOUT A COUNTRY and SWORD WITHOUT A COUNTRY.  



This is probably the least flattering figurine of Steve Reeves ever made. Look at those tiny legs. There are much better figurines out there of Steve.


Some sad news: RARELUST is a great website with TONS of old movies. I got many from them. Usually, a free download took about 5 or 7 hours but they now changed their server provider and the downloads now take 10 to 15 hours. Really bad. If I pay, the downloads only take a few minutes but I don't want to pay for this kind of service.


Stats are maintaining between 1000 to 15000 views a day. Except for last Thursday which got over 2500. I still don't get why the blog gets these out of nowhere bursts. I didn't post anything out of the ordinary last Thursday. Unfortunately, the tracking info at Blogger is extremely limited. 


Future Musings:

- List of best costumes, for women and for men.

- List of PEPLUM books

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?

Monday, June 28, 2021

By the Gods!

Gina Lollobrigida as Sheba in SOLOMON AND SHEBA (1959)

I like Gina and this movie is fun but sorta uneven. One thing which is unnecessarily distracting are her eyebrows and bangs. Gina is a beautiful woman and simplicity is the best when to comes to someone like her and these dated looks do not do her any service. The shoot itself must have been arduous since Tyrone Power was cast as Solomon but died on the set. There are a few brief scenes of Tyrone in the final cut. I wonder if the stuff they filmed with Tyrone still exists. I hope so. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Straight-forward poster. The title translates as THE TRIBUNE OF ROME. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

By the Gods!

Alan Steel and Nando Tamberlani in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964) 

Gladius, played by Tamberlani, should asks Hercules: 'Will I die soon since I'm talking to you?'. It's one of those things in PEPLUM movies were characters who engage with the Hero usually end up dead after a while. Steel was in top action form, going through one peril after another. Fun movie. Do not listen to the naysayers. This movie is more fun than a thousand naysayers. 

At the movies...

THE ROBE playing at the Grauman's Chinese Theater. December 1953. Nice color photo.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

By the Gods!


Difficult to identify the actors with those helmets but I know the fellow in the middle in Pietro Marascalchi, who is not credited at IMDb for this movie. Pietro was a professional wrestler and he starred in a handful of movies; most notably he was Moloch in HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH (1964). His career never took off like it should have. He excelled in action scenes. Like so many actors of the PEPLUM genre, Pietro disappeared from the face of the earth. Those helmets must have been difficult to wear. Very awkward. The English dub for this movie is still missing.


Hedy Lamar and Cecil B deMille on the set of SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Clip of the week: SAMSON (1961)

Fight between Brad Harris and Alan Steel in SAMSON (1961)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

By the Gods!

Opening credits to ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972), with credits appearing across a matte painting. IMO, this is one of the best use of a matte painting in any PEPLUM movie. This setting will appear later on in the movie (below). more than once, but showcasing the credits in front of it actually makes it look more real than anything else.

Musings! (06-22)

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


Today I received the VHS tape of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972) starring and directed by Charlton Heston. This edition is uncut, at 160 minutes. If it's the same as the Norwegian copy I got recently, this tape doesn't have the intro and outdo music, like the one in the Twilight Time Blu-ray. But this is no big loss. The TT edition is cut. 

The problem now is transferring this VHS copy on a DVD disc and then ripping the disc for a digital copy. I'm working on this.

The VHS cover and cassette are in mint condition. I don't know if the tape itself works but assuming that no one actually watched this from its perfect state, I believe it should be in working condition.



THE FURY OF HERCULES starring Gordon Scott...? That's the head of Gordon Scott on the body of Brad Harris (that's not Scott's body). Again, Gordon Scott is the go to fellow for these Cinematic Confusions. 


An old ad celebrating the success of radio spot for HERCULES (1958), released in the US in 1959. Steve Reeves, who played Hercules, is also holding up ATTILA, which was one of Joseph E Levine's previous promotional projects before HERCULES. 


One of the hardest to get movies is JACOB AND ESAU (1963) starring Ken Clark. The movie is basically missing in action. Is it good? Is it an undiscovered classic? Who knows since no one has seen it for decades. But the Amsterdam Film Museum has a copy of the movie. Their database is open to the public and can be searched. The rare movie is part of their collection.


I was in communications with a PEPLUM star of the Golden Era for a written interview...I cover this at BY THE GODS


I recently thought of not adding the blog's name to photos and such. It would speed up things considerable. And then I see the photo above, at IMDb. Yes, my stuff is *everywhere*. People take a lot of stuff from the blog. So, I decided I didn't have a choice but to keep on doing this. 



The blog's stats are all over the place. For a week, it was super high with a peak of nearly 5000 views for one day while staying in and around 1000 views for 10 days or so. Very wild and inexplicable views. 


Future Musings:

- List of PEPLUM books

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?

Monday, June 21, 2021

By the Gods!

Brigitte Nielsen in RED SONJA (1985)

Does anyone like this movie? I'm not trying to be facetious here but I've seen this movie countless of times and barely remember anything from it. It had a great director, Richard Fleischer, who directed THE VIKINGS (1958) and BARABBAS (1961), much older movies and yet I remember them quite well. It's a strange phenomenon. It expires from my mind as soon as I stop watching it. Arnold Schwarzenegger is billed as the main star but he actually has a supporting role more than anything else.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster of DAMON AND PYTHIAS (1962) 

Servicable poster. It's surprising that Guy Williams wasn't front and center. He was a recognizable star back then, and today as well. THE TYRANT OF SYRACUSE was the Italian title (and the UK as well).

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, June 18, 2021

By the Gods!

Steve Reeves as Romulus in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

I promised to do a review of the new German Blu-ray of this movie but said I wanted to wait until I got the US version first, to compare. And I did. I watched the German version, the English copy from the German BD, and the US version (bottom right) together. The German version is cut, which is not surprising. But the English one from the Blu-ray and the old US version (with Paramount logo) are identical. No scenes were cut. Same runtime. So there's not much to review. 

Virna Lisi in DUEL OF THE TITANS. I watched three versions at the same time. The one with the English track (bottom left) on the German Blu-ray is identical to the US version, seen here in 4:3 aspect ratio at the bottom right. The runtimes are identical. 

My only complaint about the new German Blu-ray: the audio could have been stronger. It's sorta flat. And some night scenes are really dark. But oddly enough this is very common with almost all Blu-ray releases of PEPLUM movies. And if only the Paramount logo was at the beginning of the movie but since this a German release, the Paramount logo didn't belong there. I give the Blu-ray 9 out of 10. 

Hopefully this movie will be released in the US on Blu-ray, with Paramount logo at the beginning. 


Charlton Heston filming the legendary chariot scene from BEN-HUR (1959)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By the Gods!

Gene Evans and Rock Hudson star in THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953) 

A fun old-fashioned adventure movie starring Rock Hudson as an action hero. I like this film and the HD copy of this is very nice, so much better than anything seen before. Was Rock suited for action movies? He's pretty good in this and thankfully the movie doesn't take itself too seriously which helps keep this movie in the fun category. It pretty much follows all the clichés of PEPLUM movies, including going on a quest to try to find those responsible for his father's death, which leads to the Golden Blade. One of many PEPLUM movies with GOLDEN in their titles.

Different Versions: THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959)

In today's example of different versions found in my collection, the spotlight is on THE GIANT OF MARATHON starring Steve Reeves and Mylène Demongeot. Brace yourselves.

The movie hasn't been released in any format in HD but it was shown in 1280 HD on TV in France. 

The list goes from highest resolution to the lowest. The best versions are the ones with full widescreen image. So, the French TV broadcast, the US Retromedia DVD, and the Italian trade copies are the most accurate. The others are cropped.

Posted at the Permanent page

French TV Broadcast 

French - TV broadcast - widescreen -1280 x 544 - opening credits: French - runtime: 84m 44s - PAL - French only

French Fan Dub / Trade 

French - Trade/Fan Dub - 16X9 - 1078 x 576 - opening credits: Italian but intro text in English - runtime: 83m 45s - PAL - French only

French DVD pack 

French - DVD pack - 16X9 - 768 x 412 - opening credits: Italian but intro text in English - runtime: 83m 56s at PAL - 3 languages: Italian, French and English.


US - DVD - widescreen - 720 x 304 - opening credits: English - No MGM logo - runtime: 86m 14s - NTSC - English only

Italian TV Broadcast

Italian - TV broadcast - widescreen - 715 x 331 - opening credits: Italian but intro text in English - runtime: 84m 37s - PAL - Italian only

Millcreek / Public domain

US - WARRIORS 50 pack (Millcreek) - 4:3 - 638 x 460 - opening credits: English - MGM logo - runtime: 84m 24s - NTSC - English only


US - DVD pack - 4:3 - 624 x 464 - opening credits: English - MGM Logo - runtime: 84m 21s - NTSC - English only

Italian (Trade)

Italian - Trade - widescreen 624 x 256 - opening credits: Italian but intro text in English - runtime: 84m 23s - PAL - Italian only 

Greek copy from Youtube

Greek - Youtube - 4:3 widescreen - 450 x 360 - opening credits: English title (different than the original English design) but credits in French - runtime: 83m 54s - PAL - English with Greek subtitles


Trade means I got it from trading with someone. Source unknown.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

By the Gods!

Ned Beatty died on Sunday, age 83. Ned was a familiar face in the 1970s and 80s, in which he appeared in the mini-series, THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1984). He worked along a big cast that included Nicholas Clay (below). RIP, Ned.

Musings! (06-15)

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


2021 is turning into the year rare versions are finally showing up after years of obscurity. I already mentioned this last week and the trend, for now, continues.


I finally got the English subtitles to TIBERIUS (1960) starring Ugo Tognazzi, Abbe Lane and Walter Chiari. The English audio does exist since it was shown on TV in the US in the 1960s. Hopefully, the English dub will also surface since this is a wordy comedy, with non-stop dialogue and reading all that text is a bit much for a comedy.


And the original English title of HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE is now on Youtube. It was one of the movies from the SONS OF HERCULES TV series, and was titled SONS OF HERCULES...IN THE LAND OF DARKNESS. That was the only English title available for decades...until now. Yeah! Note: this movie was released as HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE in the UK but I'm not sure if this print is from the UK. 


This is a VHS cover for SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964). The artwork on the cover is identical to the original one except the speared woman. That was added for this VHS release. The thing is...this movie is a goofy comedy so why such a gruesome image. WTH? 


SEX OLYMPICS (1972). A German movie set in Antiquity. I got English subtitles for this and have been watching it as I'm writing this. Another typically 1970s movie. 



Speaking of German movies...DVDs or movies release in Germany have some odd history. I've pointed this out many times for many years and I just discovered another oddity. I ripped some German DVDs from my collection into MKVs and discovered that SAMSON (1961) is missing the entire beginning when Samson (Brad Harris) fights over a boar with Millstone (Alan Steel). This scene is a PEPLUM classic and yet it's cut from the German DVD release.


It's very odd certainly when SAMSON was actually released as a Hercules movie but FURY OF HERCULES, with Brad Harris and Alan Steel, was released as SAMSON. 


Can you identify this movie from this photo?

Henry was able to identify the movie. It's a cut scene for LOVES OF THREE QUEENS (1954) starring Hedy Lamar. 


Last week, Orsh was able to identify the movie, CONQUEROR OF THE ORIENT (1960) after one clue. Good job. It wasn't an easy one.


I changed the blog's banner with a new one. I like the previous one with Steve Reeves in THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD but that was specifically for 2020, which was the tenth anniversary of the blog. It replaced the one below which was used for the longest time.

You can view all of the blog's banners and banners used for other social media outlets here 


Future Musings:

- List of PEPLUM books

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?