Monday, January 31, 2022

By the Gods!

Ruth (Elena Eden) soothes a dying Mahlon (Tom Tryon) in THE STORY OF RUTH (1960)

Though never released on Blu-ray, the movie is available in HD from streaming services such as Amazon Prime or Apple. You can rent it or buy it. So this copy I got is most likely from these services. The print is very nice. I like this film but I think it has one major flaw that prevents it from being great: Tom Tryon should have played Boaz, a role played by Stuart Whitman, while Whitman should have played Tryon's role, Mahlon. The movie never fully recovers after this scene. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of SON OF SAMSON (1960)

Some exciting news about this movie, the first Maciste movie since the silent era. **Much** more on this next week. I have this poster. It's HUGE and amazing.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Image of the week!

Aeneas (Steve Reeves) battles with Ajax (Mimmo Palmara) in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961)

Musings! (01-28)

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



One of the sad aspects with the recent passing of Mark Forest is the almost complete lack of articles or even mentions of his death. Of course, for someone who hasn't made a movie in over 50 years, one can accept the fact that he wasn't known with today's generation but still, a little mention would have been cool. I searched the internet and the only one I could find in English is this one. I found this one in Italian.

I was also pleasantly surprised with the reaction of last week's article, 'WHO'S LEFT?'. Many people were surprised by how many PEPLUM stars were left. Some people thought I should have included even the non-bodybuilders like Brett Halsey but the article was in response to the recent death of Mark Forest.


VHS cover for THE LOVES OF HERCULES...with the Barbarian Brothers, twins David and Peter Paul. Probably the wackiest cover yet!


Nothing earth-shattering. I got 3 Blu-rays, ATHENA (1954) starring Steve Reeves and Edmund Purdom; HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 (1981) starring Mel Brooks; and the dubious 'Blu-ray' FURY OF ACHILLES (1962), which is a DVD quality print upscaled to Blu-ray. The disc also includes PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE and THE TROJAN HORSE. 

And I got a set of lobby cards for SINS OF POMPEII (1951). Only $4.50 each photo. Not a bad deal.

Dubious 'Blu-ray' disc


I got ATHENA for it's direct connection to the PEPLUM genre. It has 3 PEPLUM stars, Edmund Purdom, Ed Fury and Steve Reeves, in all his glory. It's a strange musical with incongruous elements but thank god someone in Hollywood back then decided to film Steve as a bodybuilder for a movie


6 lobby cards of SINS OF POMPEII 


Speaking of HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1, Variety has reported that HULU is working on a TV series based on the 1981 Mel Brooks movie called...HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 2. How clever. Anyone, with no Madeline Kahn, what's the point of this series?

Anyway, does anyone but me remember this movie?

Identify the movie!

Can you identify this movie from this screenshot?

This is from HERCULES (1983). Someone in the comments identified it correctly. 

Have you seen...


AGE OF TREASON (1993)?  I've never heard of this TV movie. Then again, I stopped watching TV back in the 1990s so I'm not surprised by this. A PEPLUM starring Bryan Brown, with full Aussie accent, and Matthias Hues. The production actually looks decent. 


The blog's stats are all over the place.


One of the pitfalls of buying stuff overseas...I was supposed to have the German Blu-ray of SODOM AND GOMORRAH as a 'recent; acquisition' but the package was stolen. It's one of those annoying things about getting difficult to track stuff from Europe. 


Speaking of Blu-rays, one of the most frequently asked question I get is where to buy titles on Blu-ray or which movies are available on Blu-ray or even DVDs. People are desperate for decent releases of their favourite PEPLUM titles. 

I created HD Alert! specifically for this. But then when I post about a movie available on BD, they complaint it's an old release. 

I can't win...


Coming soon:

Edmund Purdom: obituary and that book on his life!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

By the Gods!

Kindar (Mark Forest) confronts his 'father,' Seymuth (Mimmo Palmara), in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965)

Finally got a hold of a stunning HD print of this, one of my favourite PEPLUM movies. It elevates the movie so much it's like watching a new movie. The HD shows the quality and beauty of this production. Locations, cast, score. Everything is excellent. The casting of Mimmo Palmara as Kindar's father was a stroke of genius. Palmara often starred against Steve Reeves while this was only his second movie with Mark, GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON being the first. From a German streaming service (logo on the top right).

Lobby Cards Set: THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960)

US lobby cards set for THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960; aka Sappho - The Venus of Lesbos) starring Tina Louise and Kerwin Mathews. Columbia Pictures releases almost always had terrible prints and this one is no exception. It looks like it has two title cards. The 2nd card on top is a scene cut from the US release. It's just okay.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

HD Alert!

A double feature HD Alert! 


Good news, Twilight Time released a Blu-ray of MESSALINA (1960) starring Belinda Lee. The recent French Blu-ray disc is most likely the source of this release. This is great news because MESSALINA is one of the most pirated PEPLUM movies ever and the fact it got an official release in the US is amazing.


As these screenshots from the French Blu-ray show, the movie looks great.

Note: since TWILIGHT TIME have stopped making BD, the price of their releases have skyrocketed. The least expensive place to buy is at the link above.


There's a lot of HD news these days (believe me...) and just breaking, KINO LORBER announced that they have Blu-ray release of SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961) starring Gordon Scott. Now this is amazing news, on many levels. First of all, this movie has been lingering in obscurity for a long time. There are two versions: the original Italian version at 95 minutes, and the US cut called SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD, with over ten minutes cut from the original. The cut scenes are mainly at the beginning with a long intro into the world in which Samson (Maciste in the original) would show up and cause havoc. Those scenes NEVER appeared in English anywhere. So the question: will this new release have the entire uncut version in English? Or will the first ten minutes be in Italian with English subs up until the US version started?

This release will also include a 2K scan of a 16mm print of the US version. Now this is great new. In other words, the two versions will be included in this release. Woo-hoo!

Now the bad news: Kino Lorber were also supposed to release GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES and that release, also starring Gordon Scott, didn't pan out. Hopefully Kino Lorber acquired the full rights to these versions before this amazing announcement. 

Once released, we will finally be able to enjoy its grandeur, directed by master filmmaker Riccardo Freda. No more lingering in obscurity.

Vintage Article

French magazine article on Mark Forest, who recently passed away. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

By the Gods!

Patroclus (Ennio Girolami), Achilles (Gordon Mitchell), Agamemnon (Mario Petri), and Ulysses (Piero Lulli) inspects the spoils of war in FURY OF ACHILLES (1961).

This screenshot was taken from a recent Blu-ray release of the movie. I wrote a brief overview at BY THE GODS! if you want to know more about it. Tomorrow, I'll be posting HD ALERT! and wanted to include this release but technically, it's not a new HD print so I'm writing this today. You can read all of it at BTG! Regardless, this shot is pretty amazing from an excellent PEPLUM. Probably my favourite TROY movie. I recently discovered something about Mario Petri which surprised me. I'll have more on this an upcoming MUSINGS!. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) starring Steve Reeves

Interesting poster. Artwork is nice but the interesting point is that the movie was released by Paramount Pictures in France while United Artists was the distributor in the US. Also, Sergio Leone's name is not listed anywhere. In SUPERTOTALSCOPE!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Image of the week!

Sylvia Syms vs soldiers in AMAZONS OF ROME (1961)

At the Movies...

NIGHT IN PARADISE (1946), starring Turhan Bey, playing while women line up for a sale at a hosiery store.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

By the Gods!

Reg Park as Hercules in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961)

The world of the PEPLUM genre is an odd one and things keep getting more odd. A streaming channel calle Tubi TV has two PEPLUM movies, this one and 'GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON' to view for free. What's odd about this is the fact that both uploads are actually Fan Dubs. Someone, and I don't who, made Fan Dubs of these two movies, and re-edited some scenes so the print is nearly 100% in English. But this has created some interesting issues.

- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS was the International title for the English market around the globe but the movie was re-titled HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN by US distributors in the 1960s. They also changed the opening credits. An English copy with the original title of HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS doesn't exist (or has never surfaced). So the copy uploaded at Tubi TV doesn't really exist. It's a Fan Dub. 


- Things are even more odd with GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON. Again, the original version of this movie was THE REVENGE OF HERCULES (or Vengeance) and it had no dragon. US distributors added a dragon to make it more marketable, and gave it the new DRAGON title, and Hercules became Goliath. Now someone at Tubi TV made a Fan Dub, adding the English audio to the original REVENGE OF HERCULES print even though in the English version Hercules is called Goliath and there's **no dragon** in it but they kept the US title GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON. Got it?

Talk about Cinematic Confusion. Thanks to someone, I got both copies in my collection. I won't link those movies here. Just search the titles and Tubi TV. Enjoy!


Steve Reeves and Sergio Corbucci have a chat on the set of DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Scenes of Rome from THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 (1981)

This Mel Brooks comedy has several excellent matte paintings. The one above is one of the best I've ever seen in any movie. It also tracks down so it's not static.

The scene below also looks great though not perfect. These screenshots were taken from the Blu-ray release. So if the matte work looks impressive on Blu-ray, you know they're good. The legendary Albert Whitlock worked on these.

Then & Now: Terry Kilburn

Terry in SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953); a recent photo of the actor 

Monday, January 17, 2022

By the Gods!

Mimmo Palmara and Alan Steel fight (for amusement) in HERCULES AND THE MASKED RIDER (1963)

This is a fun fight scene which ends in a draw (it was timed to end with an hourglass). Mimmo was fit but you can clearly see Alan had the advantage in terms of physical strength. The two become friends and they never fight again in the rest of the movie. It's a shame because the fight was good. I really like this movie. It's one of those cross-genre movies most people don't get about the PEPLUM genre. I got a nice copy, thanks to my great source in Europe. It's not in full HD and the image is a bit too dark and red (it needs colour correction) but it's the best copy out there yet. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster THE LION OF THEBES (1964) 

Great poster. Very colorful. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Image of the week!

Claudette Colbert as Empress Poppaea in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932)

Who's left?

With the passing of Mark Forest on January 7, many speculated over the remaining PEPLUM stars. Mark was one of the big stars, and as I mentioned in his obit, his death sorta signals the end of an era. But there are still a good number of actors of the genre who are still with us. Many of them had a similar career as Mark, certainly Ed Fury, so the era is still not completely over. We're in the twilight phase I guess. 

I won't list regular actors, like Roger Browne (MARS - GOD OF WAR) or Mark Damon (THE SON OF CLEOPATRA) or Brett Halsey (THE MAGNIFICENT ADVENTURER), who are still with us. I'll only list the bodybuilder/actors, known for their work in physique modelling before heading to Rome. I also won't list stars like Lou Ferrigno who became famous decades after the Golden Era of the PEPLUM genre.


Ed Fury starred in multiple PEPLUM movies, including the popular URSUS series. Ed is 93 years old today. I can't find a current photo of him. This screenshot is from THE SEVEN REVENGES.


Kirk Morris is alive. He was born in 1942. He's the star of many PEPLUM movies, including MACISTE IN HELL. He's aging fairly well.


Richard Harrison is one of the biggest PEPLUM stars left. He made 9 genre movies in the early 1960s, including PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (1963; Medusa against the Son of Hercules).


Peter is still alive. He's famous for his role in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE TV series but Peter made 4 PEPLUM movies in the 1960s, including HERCULES AND THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON (left).


Howard, born Renato Rossini, is still with us. In fact, he celebrated his birthday recently, on January 10. Howard was in many PEPLUM productions, including SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE in which he played Maciste. 


Bodybuilder Pietro Torrisi starred in many PEPLUM movies of the Golden Era, as supporting actor, but he had lead roles in the movies from the 1980s, including THE THRONE OF FIRE with Sabrina Siani.


Giovanni didn't have a lead role in PEPLUM movies but he was famous for being the body double/stuntman for Steve Reeves and he appeared in small roles here and there but his unforgettable role as Antaeus in HERCULES THE AVENGER solidified him as a PEPLUM star. Below: Giovanni in a recent documentary on the genre. 


Canadian-born Samson is still alive. He's a regular at signing conventions. The movie above:  VENGEANCE OF URSUS. He's most famous for playing Hercules in THE 3 STOOGES MEET HERCULES.

So, there's still a fair number of PEPLUM stars left but the list will dwindle fast since most of the are 80 years and older.