Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Musings! (07-20)

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


Italian filmmaking has many particularities not often seen in film productions from other countries. One of them is the predominance of having one or two (or more) directors assigned per production. One of the reasons this happened a lot back in the day is an English film crew working in tandem with an Italian one, such as DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961) with Terence Young, the English director, and Ferdinando Baldi as the Italian director. Since English crews worked mainly in English, a director or assistant director able to communicate with the predominantly Italian crew was crucial. So every film helmed by a director who spoke English or another language other than Italian always had an Italian director assigned to him. There's a list of titles which fall in this category.

Other scenarios to explain the use of more than one director: the original director became ill during production and the assistant director took over. This happened with THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) in which Mario Bonnard became ill and Sergio Leone had to take over the complex shoot. Depending on which release, Leone is credited as a co-director or as the sole director.

Same movie, different credit: in the Italian DVD, Sergio Leone is credited as second unit director for THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959). In the French DVD, below, Leone is credited as the main director.

Another scenario is the original director quit or was fired in mid-production and someone else took over. This is what apparently happened with GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961), with Sergio Corbucci taking over the production after Giacomo Gentilomo was gone.

But now there's another scenario in which a second director is now credited for a movie even though they weren't responsible for the entire project. This has been happening a lot with websites such as IMDb or Wikipedia in which fans of a certain director make the effort of adding him as second director to the pages of these movies at these websites. One of these movies is SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) directed by Robert Aldrich and with Sergio Leone sharing credit as co-director (above). According to some, Leone was only involved in the big battle scenes while others claim he was involved for everything. I'm sure Aldrich wouldn't be too happy about this change but since he's dead he can't fight back. 

The same thing is going on with THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961) in which director Henry Levin now shares a co-direction credit with Mario Bava. The fans of the latter are particuliarly obsessed in making sure Bava gets co-direction credit for every movie he worked on, no matter how important or not his input was. If you go to the IMDb page of THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (linked above), Bava is listed first as director even though he reportedly worked only less than a quarter of the film itself, with Levin working the bulk of the production. I like Bava but some of his fans are kinda creepy. 

This irks me. As someone who has had a passing experience in film production, I can tell you that this re-writing of history is incorrect. I was once involved in a production for a major Hollywood production, directed by a well known director and for the two weeks I worked, I only saw this famous director a couple of times. The assistant director did all the work (shouting action, etc) while the director was behind the scenes, monitoring everything from a studio of TVs which showed what was going on. The assistant director never got co-direction credit even though he was the one who worked directly with cast and crew. If an assistant director filmed 5 minutes or 10 minutes for whatever reasons the main director wasn't available that day, that doesn't mean the assistant director should share direction credits. For an assistant director to do a scene and not be credited is pretty much a standard practice in the movie making industry. 

Since the PEPLUM genre has very little respect to begin with and few people out there are ready to defend it, these things will keep on going.


Re-release poster for GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959). I don't know where to start. Anyway, Steve never wears pants in the entire movie.


Can you identify this movie from this screenshot? It sorta looks murky but it's a pivotal moment in the movie so those who saw it probably know.

Last week's movie, IRONMASTER (1983), was identified by 'Anonymous.' 


Joan collins' screentest for CLEOPATRA (1963) in which Elizabeth Taylor was eventually cast.


An ad for the premiere showing of GLADIATOR OF ROME on TV. This amazes me. PEPLUM movies were very popular back then, enough to have an ad for a TV premiere. Those were the days...



The stats for the past two weeks have been great. side from July 14 and 19, most of the views during the past 2 weeks hovered above or around 2000. 


I posted an article at BY THE GODS! on the most popular tweets...


Speaking of Twitter, I noted that I was going to do a Twitter account for the actresses of the PEPLUM genre. Right now I feel like I'm being over extended with everything so I'll try to see after my time off.


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?


Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say about the Bava fans. I think if he walked onto the set of a film they think he directed it. Esther and the King is another prime example. It was a project began at Fox in the U.S. and was only moved to Italy because of a writers strike. To read about it in Bava books you would think he did everything! Sergio Leone worked but briefly on Sodom and Gomorrah before being fired by Robert Aldrich. His name appears on some prints because of a contractual obligation in regard to the Italian financing.

PEPLUM TV said...

I like Sergio Leone and don't blame him or whoever for the situation with SODOM AND GOMORRAH but at one time, IMDb listed Sergio as co-director which was surprising. Websites like IMDb and Wikipedia are easily controlled by some fanatics who want to 're-write' history to their liking and unfortunately the PEPLUM genre has been affected by these annoying gatekeepers.