Saturday, February 26, 2022


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. 

Stay tuned!

I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"

Friday, February 25, 2022

Image of the week!

Captain Morgan (Steve Reeves) fight with Francois L'Olonnais (Armand Mestral) in MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960)

At the movies...

The premiere of QUO VADIS (1951) at the Liberty theatre in Portland, Oregon. Deborah Kerr was 'in person' for the event.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

By the Gods!

Ramses XIII (Jerry Zelnik) in PHARAOH (1966) 

This is one of the most amazing movies ever made, PEPLUM or not. Not necessarily because of its quality (it's great) or how entertaining the movie is (it's very stylish) but because the filmmaker decided to recreat ancient Egyptian culture in Poland, with a Polish cast. The entire recreation is something to behold. Of course, today, this movie would be canceled because of 'cultural appropriation' or something, in their eyes anyway, but for me the recreation is almost out of this world. A one of a kind movie. I recently got two copies of this, one nearly uncut but not the right aspect ration, and one cut with the correct aspect ration. This one. The resolution is 2532 x 1074. It's not regular HD, which is 1920 x 1080.

Lobby Cards Set: GLADIATOR OF ROME (1962)

British lobby cards set of GLADIATOR OF ROME, re-titled as BATTLES OF THE GLADIATORS, starring Gordon Scott and all. Excellent set. Except for card 3, all the other cards are great. Gordon front and centre. I have to get this. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

HD Alert!

I wrote this piece at BY THE GODS!: Are you ready for 4k?

PEPLUM movies on regular HD are few and far in-between (for now) so good luck finding any PEPLUM production made in Europe on 4K. For those who don't know, 4K is the next level of HD, also called Ultra HD. Of course, Hollywood movies have already been released in 4K, such as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) starring Charlton Heston (above). The Before After above is sorta convincing (less blurry) but not by that much. Of all the scenes they could have chosen from that movie, they chose that one. I guess it's to show the contrast of the many colours. 

Vintage Article

Article on Steve Reeves' film career from a French magazine

Monday, February 21, 2022

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott in action in KERIM - SON OF THE SHEIK (1962)

A pretty solid PEPLUM with Scott in fine form. The direction itself is a bit on the static side, certainly for an action movie but overall it's quite fun to watch. An Egyptian version of this was shot, also starring Gordon Scott, but it hasn't surfaced yet. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of MASTER OF THE WORLD (1983)

Evocative poster.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Image of the week!

Brigitte Helm is Antinea in QUEEN OF ATLANTIS (1932)

Different Versions: SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

In today's example of different versions found in my collection, the spotlight is on SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962) starring Steward Granger, Anouk Aimée, Stanley Baker and a host of other actors.

With the recent release of the German and Japanese Blu-rays, I thought it was time to make some comparisons. The German uncut version is excellent but oddly enough the shorter version, or cut, available in the German Blu-ray and the same print on the Japanese Blu-ray, is better than the uncut one. Both uncut and cut are excellent, compared to older copies, but the colours of the cut print are richer.

The run time for this movie are almost all different, more so when looking at the frame rates.


Resolution/aspect ratio: 1920 x 1036 

Run time/Frame rate: 2h 34m (24fps)

Excellent print but a couple of issues. The opening credits is grainy compared to the cut print and the image throughout is slightly too bright.

GERMAN Blu-ray (CUT)

Resolution/aspect ratio: 1920 x 1080 (with black bars)

Run time/Frame rate: 1h 57m (24fps)

This CUT print, included in the German Blu-ray, and the print on the Japanese Blu-ray is, imo, better. Unfortunately, there's nearly 37 minutes missing from this version.


Resolution/aspect ratio: 1920 x 1036

Run time/Frame rate: 1h 57m (24fps)

Same print as the CUT print found on the German Blu-ray. The image is better. The GIF animation below shows how the image is less bright, retaining more natural skin tones and details.



Resolution/aspect ratio: 1280 x 720 (with black bars) - heavily cropped widescreen

1258 x 541 (without bars)

Run time/Frame rate: 1h 51m (24fps)

The worst copy in my collection. Unwatchable. Run time is identical to TV broadcast below but since this one is at 24 frames per second, and the TV broadcast is at 25 frames per second, the run times are different.


Resolution/aspect ratio: 928 x 522 cropped widescreen

Run time/Frame rate: 1h 51m (25fps)

You'd think a TV broadcast of the movie in HD would be good but it's not. Colours are terrible and the image is cropped and distorted. A disappointment. 


Resolution/aspect ratio: 720 x 368 cropped widescreen

Run time/Frame rate: 2h 22m (25fps)

This is the print that I got in my collection for the longest time and it's wildly uneven. Many scenes with VHS-like artifacts in between clearer print. Colours are drab. The run time is unlike any other here. Another big disappointment.


Resolution/aspect ratio: 718 x 432 cropped widescreen

Run time/Frame rate: 2h 25m (25fps)

Though the image is not perfect, the details in the costumes and such are much better than the German DVD or many other prints. Run time different than others here as well.


Resolution/aspect ratio: 688 x 406 cropped widescreen

Run time/Frame rate: 2h 24m (25fps)

Poor print but at least it was in (cropped) widescreen.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

By the Gods!

Lou Ferrigno and Dan Vadis in the fiery ending to THE SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS (1983)

Don't ask me what's going on here. Even though looks like Hercules and is dressed like Hercules he's not playing Hercules. This was Dan Vadis' last movie. His appearance with Lou in this bridged the Golden Era of PEPLUM movies with the 2nd wave of the 1980s. Dan still had the athleticism from the 1960s but the acting in this movie is not really good so almost no one is spared, including Dan. 


Sylva Koscina and Steve Reeves have fun on the set of HERCULES (1958)

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


Scenes from GLADIATORS 7 (1962)

This movie has multiple scenes with matte paintings, mainly of the foreboding castle pictured here. Though Mario Bava worked on this production, the matte paintings were done by Emilio Ruiz del Río, who has done matte work for other movies. He worked in movies doing special effects all the way to PAN'S LABYRITH (2006).

Then & Now: Brett Halsey

Brett in THE SEVENTH SWORD (1962); a recent photo of the actor

Monday, February 14, 2022

By the Gods!

Anita Ekberg as Queen Zenobia in SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959)

I got a copy of this film in English and with English subtitles when there's no English audio. Ever since I started collecting PEPLUM movies, the English dub version was impossible to get but then the movie was shown on TV in England and voila, the English track was finally available. But the copy that was broadcasted was heavily cut. The original run time is 98 minutes. The TV version was 77 minutes. I tried to do a Fan Dub of this but abandoned the project halfway through. The English copy was so cut, with tiny scenes shaved off throughout, that a Fan Dub was impossible. The solution was to add subtitles to the original Italian version. I did (see below) but I already have 5 or 6 different copies with subtitles, albeit in bad condition. The solution is adding the subtitles when the English audio was missing. So this new copy I found has done this (above). Notice the differences between the subtitles. 

If this movie gets the Blu-ray release, and it should, hopefully the entire English dub, uncut, will be included. This movie deserves a Blu-ray release.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original US poster of THE BEASTMASTER (1982) 

Nice Frazetta-style artwork

Friday, February 11, 2022

Image of the week!

Simon the magician (Jack Palance) entertains Caesar in an opulent feast in THE SILVER CHALICE (1954)


Stewart Granger and Rita Hayworth have fun on the set of SALOME (1953)

Thursday, February 10, 2022

By the Gods!

 Joe Robinson is TAUR THE MIGHTY (1963)

What's a PEPLUM movie without a scene like this? The Hero is strong enough to topple temples but he's rendered powerless when surrounded by a crew with spears pointed at him. A compilation would be fun but Youtube would take it down so I don't bother anymore. This is one of two Taur/Thor movies Joe did during the PEPLUM explosion. I have several different copies of this and got one in pretty good definition (as this screenshot shows) but it's not in HD. THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN was one of the first PEPLUM movies released on Blu-ray. 

Lobby Cards Set: SON OF SAMSON (1960)

Partial UK lobby cards set of SON OF SAMSON, called MACISTE THE MIGHTY in the UK, starring Mark Forest and Chelo Alonso. Though in B&W, this set is excellent. There are three additional cards and, along with these here, make a pretty good set. A lot of Mark Forest in action. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Clip of the week: THE LOVES OF HERCULES

Jayne Mansfield in THE LOVES OF HERCULES. This scene is not in prints from Europe. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

HD Alert!

As I already wrote at BY THE GODS!, Kino Lorber has announced that they'll have a Blu-ray disc later this year of SON OF SAMSON (1960) starring Mark Forest (above) and Chelo Alonso (below). This is great news. Not only will they be releasing SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961) but the very first Maciste movie of the 1960s. Hopefully, more titles will follow.

The screenshots here are from a print in HD and it's beautiful. There are two versions available, one with the English dub and the other being the original uncut Italian version (with English subs). I got these two copies on the internet and they are most likely taken fro the copy available at AMAZON Prime UK, which is HD. If the Kino Lorber disc uses the same print as this one, it will be great. The image is near perfect. Even if I have these copies, I will buy the US Blu-ray release. 

Who wore it best?

Who wore this costume the best?

Robert Taylor - QUO VADIS (1951; original production)

Rex Reason - SALOME (1953)

Cesare Danova - screen test for BEN-HUR (1959)

Remarkably enough, my vote is for Cesare

Monday, February 7, 2022

By the Gods!

Salome (Rita Hayworth) is greeted by King Herod (Charles Laughton ) and his entourage in SALOME (1953)

After the success of QUO VADIS (1951) and SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), and the eventual success of THE ROBE the same year SALOME was released, Hollywood went full in with spectacular movies set in Antiquity, mainly based on stories from the Bible. The character Salome is a well known Biblical figure and making a movie based on her story starring Rita Hayworth almost seemed like an inevitability. But since this is a Columbia Pictures, the scale of the movie itself wasn't as gargantuan as those movies listed above. The mostly studio bound movie doesn't look that different than other Columbia releases back then, like SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953). The production is very good but nowhere near something like QUO VADIS. In fact, costumes from QUO VADIS were re-used for this movie. What sets this one apart from the Columbia 'cheapies' is the excellent cast: Charles Laughton, Judith Anderson (far left), Stewart Granger (Roman), Cedric Hardwicke, etc. All A listers. I like this movie but it is limited by its budget. I got a copy of this in HD and it is so much better than the one from the DVD. It actually looks almost spectacular, like the scene above. Details are excellent and the movie looks less like some TV episode. The dance of the seven veils, the movie's highlight, looks like a work of art now. The movie was never released on Blu-ray in the US but it is available in HD at Amazon US

PEPLUM Movie Poster

British quad of SALOME (1953) 

Beautiful artwork. Makes the movie appear epic.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Image of the week!

 Karim (Steve Reeves) finds the Blue Rose in THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

At the movies...

 THE EGYPTIAN (1954) playing at the FOX theatre in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

By the Gods!

Queen Deianira (Jayne Mansfield) takes a bath in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960) 

This scene is cut in all copies of the movie except for the first official US print ever released on DVD by Trimark video. In European versions, Jayne is already dressed and walks down the elevated platform of the bath. In the US copy, there's an additional 20 seconds or so of Jayne 'appearing' behind the semi sheer fabric of a white sheet. I always wonder why this scene is missing from European prints. A 'Bathing Beauty' scene is pretty much standard in PEPLUM  movies and, imo, Jayne would be a natural in this kind of scene but no, it's cut. I have 8 or 9 different versions of this movie and it's missing from all of them except for the US print. The US print and the European prints are like two different movies and making a Fan Dub of them is nearly impossible. I wrote about this in a previous post. 

I'll upload this scene as 'Clip of the week' next week.

Side note: NETFLIX apparently has a copy of this movie, in English. I'm not subscribed to NETFLIX and I don't know the specs of the print they have. If anyone has NETFLIX, can you check it out for me and see if this scene is included or missing?

Addendum: it seems NETFLIX removed THE LOVES OF HERCULES. It used to be available there. Here's a screenshot of when I uploaded the movie to Youtube, as a test hence Love Test11, and the movie was blocked all over the world by NETFLIX.



A candid photo of George Ardisson and Pascale Petit on the set of A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962)

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Tuesday, February 1, 2022



This low budget Roger Corman movie, shot in a week, has some excellent matte paintings, including these two shots (back to back in the movie) with the castle exterior and interior. I couldn't find the artist(s) responsible for these matte paintings.


Then & Now: Laura Gemser

Laura in CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982); a recent interview with the actress