Tuesday, August 31, 2021

HD Alert!

Steve Reeves in A LONG RIDE FROM HELL (1968)

For Steve Reeves completists, someone uploaded an HD copy of this on Youtube. As I previously stated with SAMSON AND THE LOST TREASURE OF THE INCAS, as odd as it is, there's a Western sub-category to the PEPLUM genre. Movies that were either started as a PEPLUM movie and changed after the success of FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) by Sergio Leone. Studios in Italy abandoned the PEPLUM genre and left many actors and directors without a genre to work with. This was Steve's last film before retiring from acting, which is a shame because he was a charismatic presence on the big screen. Leone apparently wanted Steve to star in FISTFUL but Clint Eastwood was cast instead after Reeves declined the offer. Reeves and Leone worked together on THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959). What's really fascinating about this movie is the fact that many actors of the PEPLUM genre, many of which didn't work with Steve, finally worked with him. This includes Rosalba Neri. As a die-hard PEPLUM fan, it's great to see Rosalba and Steve together. There was a 4 years gap between SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA and this movie.

Vintage Article

I collect old articles and I have tons of them in folders. This is one of many. I don't know where I got it and the image is not too clear but it's fun to see. It's a summary of HERCULES UNCHAINED from some Italian publication, with a good selection of images. If I recall correctly, the photo of Steve Reeves lifting Primo Carnera is hard to get. I've rarely seen it elsewhere.

Monday, August 30, 2021

By the Gods!

Edy Vessel and Guy Madison in SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) 

Last week I announced, via BY THE GODS!, that a German Blu-ray of this movie will be released in October. Great news. Made by the same folks who made the classic GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959), starring Steve Reeves, this one pretty much follows the same template with Jack Palance being the unruly barbarian here. I like this movie but in terms of being memorable, it's nowhere near the classic GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS, which has several iconic scenes in it. The movie was already shown in HD on some HD channel / streaming service (notice the MGM HD logo in the top left). This screenshot is from that version which I already have in my collection. The upcoming Blu-ray from Germany will have the English track but it won't have the obtrusive MGM HD logo. The fact this movie is being released in such a great quality is simply because United Artists / MGM actually owns the copyright to this while GOLIATH is without a studio backing it up and is left in limbo. It's sad but that's how the world of copyrights work.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of HERCULES (1958)

One of many posters made for the original release, and they're all great. Excellent likeness of Steve Reeves.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Image of the week!

Messalina (Susan Hayward) congratulates Demetrius (Victor Mature) in winning the deadly contest and, in turn, becoming a free man in DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954)

At the movies...

QUO VADIS playing at the Astor Theatre on Broadway in 1951. 

BY THE GODS!: New Upcoming German Blu-ray release....

 Another title to be released on Blu-ray from Germany...


Thursday, August 26, 2021

By the Gods!

Sylva Koscina as Clio in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

Sylva's role in this excellent movie was small. I wished it had been bigger. In fact, I wished she had the leading role instead of Tina Louise. Nothing against Tina, and she does a good job for what was a complicated role (multiple identities, memory lost, etc) but I feel Sylva would have done a greater job, would have been more affecting. It would have been memorable. For now, her role amounts to a little more than a footnote which is a shame. She deserved better.


Kirk Douglas takes a photo with his cast-mates, Jean Simmons and Tony Curtis, on the set of SPARTACUS (1960)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


The walled city in ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

This movie was directed by Antonio Margheriti who loved working with miniature practicle models and we see a couple of scenes of his expertise. The structure in the middle resembles the temple used in WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962), in which Margheriti worked on the extensive special effects for the Apocalyptic climax.

PEPLUM Comic Books

The use of comic books to promote a PEPLUM movie was popular back in the 1950s and 1960s. HERCULES (1958) was a great example of its use. Some of these are sorta questionable but for the most part they look great.

If you want to read more comic books, I have three permanent pages dedicated to them, including the two HERCULES prints.

PEPLUM Comix page 1

PEPLUM Comix page 2

PEPLUM Comix page 3

BEN-HUR (1959)




THE 300 SPARTANS (1962) retitled as LION OF SPARTA

Monday, August 23, 2021

By the Gods!

Ursus (Ed Fury) is put to the test working a giant millstone in URSUS IN THE LAND OF FIRE (1963)

This is the third Ursus movie starring Ed Fury. Some say this is the best one of the three. I dunno. I like it and there re some great moments in it, like this scene but the first one is hard to beat. The entire series is filled with the most villainous characters ever put on screen. It's something to behold. After starring in the series, Ed returned to the US and could only pull acting roles as an extra. Ed is 93 years old now.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) 

One of many posters with Anita Ekberg, who's likeness here is on point. The dress painted here is actually not shown in the movie, or only seen from a distance.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Image of the week!

Cain (Richard Harris) and the killing of Abel (Franco Nero) from THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING... (1966)


Steve Reeves with some unidentified man. The man is familiar but I can't figure out who he is. Can someone out there identify him?

Thursday, August 19, 2021

By the Gods!

Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in 300 (2006)

It's been 15 years since the movie was released. It's part of the 'third wave' of PEPLUM movies made in the early 2000s after the success of GLADIATOR (2000). It's impact is still visible today in other PEPLUM movies. Personally, I've always had difficulty watching it because it's so stylized. And I'm not a fan of excessive slow motion. Butler is great as Leonidas. Does anyone out there like this movie?


Here are 3 additional books from my library. They are added to the list found at the permanent page. Note that the formatting of the reviews is different since the old reviews were published using the old Blogger formatting which is not available anymore.



- Includes Italian productions
- Some interesting features, including a five page historical timeline
- Author clearly likes these movies
- The least expensive PEPLUM book I ever bought: $8.00


- Confusing chapters: categorized by subject which often muddles up things.
- Dismissive of Italian movies
- Terrible cover
- Many mistakes including incorrect photo credits!

I'm glad I have this book in my library and it was so cheap that I can't complain about it but I don't recommend this confusing book. 

GUIDA AL CINEMA PEPLUM by Oscar Lapena Marchena


- Lists movies by year of release, which gives a good chronological overview of genre and how it progressed
- Book translated in English
- Lists X-rated PEPLUM movies of the 1970s and 1980s
- Chapter on directors
- Eye-catching cover


- Horrid page layout and photos look like photocopies.
- Incomplete, titles missing
- Index is incomplete (only titles)
Book translated in English but I don't have it yet. If I had known the book was translated in English I probably wouldn't have bought this version.

This book was originally published in Spanish. I got the Italian one. I like this book because there are some good ideas in it but looking at the page layout, it was clearly not made by professionals. 

MUSCLES, MYTHS, AND MOVIES by Stephen Flacassier


- Pretty good overview of the genre
- Author clearly likes these movies
- Includes cool icons or illustrations indicating what is included in movie. For instance, if there are monsters in the story an image of a monster is included within a square with 4 illustrations.


- Nothing really bad about it
- Reviews based from viewing poor copies of movies.
- More zine than book
- Incomplete
- Published before the internet so errors are understandable

The author was kind enough to send a free copy.
I like it. An update would be fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

HD alert!

Marcus (Preston Foster) secures the shackles of a slave (Bruce King) who tried to kill his owner in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1935)

I got a HD copy of this film this past weekend. It's interesting. The image is a screenshot from the movie file. It's in 16x9 aspect ratio even though its original ratio was 4:3. Personally, I always prefer watching the movie in the original way it was shot but I must admit that there's a lot more details visible this 'blown up' way, certainly in regards to the actors' eyes. I'll try to see if I can fix it. This scene is part of the catalyst which forces Marcus to become a gladiator. One of the few PEPLUM movies made in the 1930s.

Vintage article: SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962)

From a publication from the UK. 

From this article one can see that Robert Aldrich was everywhere.

Monday, August 16, 2021

By the Gods!

Gordon Mitchell and Abbe Lane in JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962)

I like this movie even though a lot of so-called PEPLUM fans don't like it. It's quite the macho film experience. Directed with OTT machismo style by Sergio Grieco, who, just a couple years before this directed subdued and 'nice' movies like PIA OF PTOLOMY (1958). Mitchell, who almost always played angry villains, is here playing a notorious pirate who took Caesar hostage. The movie is inspired by real events but I doubt anything in this fun movie resembles anything with history. Abbe Lane was an 'It' girl back then. The singer starred in a handful of movies made in Italy.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of GLADIATORS 7 (1962)

Interesting artwork which sums up the PEPLUM genre in one work of art. That lady in the back is not in the movie. That's Cathia Caro, of TRIUMPH OF MACISTE. That's NOT Loredana Nusciak. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Image of the Week

 Samson (Victor Mature) is about to topple the temple in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)


Rossana Podestà, in costume as Helen of Troy, is photographed with a Vespa on the set of HELEN OF TROY (1956)

At BY THE GODS!: The German Gladiator DVD 2-pack…

Quick overview of this new German DVD pack 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

By the Gods!


This movie started as a PEPLUM but was switched at the last minute into a Western setting after the success of Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964). It still feels and looks like a PEPLUM movie so a hybrid was created: PEPLUM Western. This is not the only PEPLUM Western out there. This screenshot is from a HD print from a RAI TV broadcast. I have to say that the print is the best one yet (even though it needed a bit of colour correction. It's on the reddish side...). The details are amazing but the vertical of the image is squished, making everyone look a bit taller than they are. But I have no complaints. Alan looks amazing as usual.

Vintage Advertising

Huge ad for HERCULES (1958) presumably in France.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


A scene from CARRY ON CLEO (1964)

Fun movie and amusing matte painting. Simple and effective. The same artist made the ROME location shot below. Cliff Culley was the artist who created these works.

Then & Now: Edoardo Nevola

Edoardo as Prince Darius in THE INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR (1961); A recent photo of the child actor

Monday, August 9, 2021

By the Gods!

Philippe Hersent and Mark Forest in GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON (1960)

Interesting picture. The costume Hersent is wearing is the same costume worn by Ivo Garrani (King Pelias) in HERCULES (1958). This was supposed to be a Hercules movie, not a Goliath one. The original title, LA VENDETTA DI ERCOLE or THE REVENGE OF HERCULES, was changed to GOLIATH because the US distributor, AIP, already released Goliath movies (GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS). AIP also wanted to make the movie more kid friendly and added the dragon, with additional scenes. It seems the script of this movie was also made from remnants of the third and never filmed Hercules movies starring Steve Reeves. I uploaded this movie to the PEPLUM TV channel.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of THE SON OF SPARTACUS (1961; aka The Slave)

One of many posters for this movie. This one is great for fans of Steve Reeves. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Image of the Week

Talos attacking the Argonauts in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) 


Fredric March, Danielle Darrieux and director Robert Rossen have a chat on the set of ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

By the Gods!


That's Sal Ponti and Edward Platt looking at the statue. This statue was originally from THE PRODIGAL (1955) starring Lana Turner (below). The statue looked much smaller in ATLANTIS than in THE PRODIGAL...maybe because Lana was such a petite woman. Other parts of the set were from other movies as well. In fact, the entire production is like a Hollywood treasure throve of stuff re-used for this production. Many consider this a sci-fi movie but it's actually one of the closest thing to a genuine Italian-style PEPLUM movie Hollywood has ever made. 

Lobby Cards Set: CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)

Original US lobby cards set of CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Douglas, Grace Jones, and all. Very colourful set with great photos of the cast, including Arnold. This set would make me want to see the movie. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

By the Gods!

A happy Hercules (Mark Forest) in HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964) 

It's an odd thing to notice but one rarely sees Hercules smiling in PEPLUM movies. Hercules is supposed to be brooding and tempestuous. One of the best titles of the PEPLUM genre. Even Michael J. Weldon, of Psychotronic Films, said he loved the title, and he hates PEPLUM movies. This screenshot was taken from a HD copy. It's beautiful.


Here's a quick overview of some of the PEPLUM books I have in my library.

More titles will be added on a regular basis.

List posted at the permanent page.

WITH FIRE & SWORD by Patrick Lucanio

An expensive book (over $100.00), it was seemingly published more for Academia than for the general public. 

- Great format and text. Easy to read.
- A good overview of the genre, no matter how error filled it is
- Great name for book

- Unnecessarily repetitious and padded
- Many errors
- Dubious knowledge of the genre
- Super expensive
- Few images or illustrations

RETRO STUD by David Chapman

The first PEPLUM book I ever bought. Like almost all books listed here, this one has good aspects to it and some truly horrendous ones as well (yes, horrendous!). I don't even know where to start!

- Good layout
- Excellent selection of posters

- Author dislikes the PEPLUM genre (!!!)
- A boatful of titles that don't exist
- Generally lazy

CINEMA ITALIANO by Howard Hughes

Well, I won't beat around the bush with this book: avoid

- None to list

- Doesn't care for the genre
- Out of 300 pages, only 75 pages dedicated to the PEPLUM genre
- Expensive

LE PEPLUM by Laurent Aknin

A small book (123 pages or so) that's nearly all about Hollywood. 

- Covers recent PEPLUM films
- Good layout
- Cute

- Little interest in Italian PEPLUM films
- Nearly all Hollywood

EPIC FILMS (second edition) by Gary Allen Smith

Very well researched and the layout is beautiful. Needs updating though.

- Excellent layout
- Well researched
- Includes titles of projects that weren't completed.

- Missing titles or genres (like Arabian genre...but all PEPLUM books have this problem...)
- Pricey!

IL GRANDE LIBRO DI ERCOLE by Steve Della Casa and Marco Giusti

Reviewing this hefty book is difficult since it's in Italian.

- Actors list, with photos, is excellent
- Good but not great layout
- Illustrated

- Authors favour Hollywood films
- Missing titles, genres, etc
- Name of the book doesn't make any sense

ITALIAN SWORD & SANDAL FILMS  by Roy Kinnard and Tony Crnkovich

This 'book' only contains listings. 

- Nothing

- Everything. A rip-off.


This magazine (is it really a magazine?) covers the subject of films from the 1950s (and early 1960s). 

- Glossy publication
- Rare interview with Steve Reeves

- Photos, photos, photos
- Expensive (nearly $40.00 with shipping and handling)

HEROES NEVER DIE! by Barry Atkinson

One of the latest books covering the genre.

- Excellent publication (print, design...)
- Illustrated (photos, posters...)

- Dubious reviews of movies that are impossible to get
- Overwrought writing style
- Comes in two editions: black and white, and in colour. The colour edition is very expensive.

More to come...