Friday, July 29, 2022

Image of the week!

The death of Agnese (Wandisa Guida), carried by Vibio (Lang Jeffries) and cherished by Fabiola (Rhonda Fleming), brings about a change in REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960)

VHS Covers

VHS cover of MASSACRE IN THE BLACK FOREST (1967) from the Netherlands. Cover has very little to do with this movie. The artwork is from THE TEN GLADIATORS poster.

Thursday, July 28, 2022


Hercules (Mark Forest) is the Hero in HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964)

If someone asked me to define the PEPLUM genre, I would flippantly say: everyone is dressed except the Hero. Okay, that's a generalization but even in Hollywood pictures, like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS or BEN-HUR, the Hero is often without clothes a bare minimum of clothing. The Italian movies took it to an all different level. In this movie, Mark's costumes are actually pretty varied. I might highlight this in one post but in general he's all muscled up and ready for adventure. This is one of two so-called Twin Productions (article), with HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS being the first of the two, and BARBARIANS being made after. While MONGOLS is non-stop pure action, and one of my favourites, this one, even though it's filled with action, is more of a Fairytale-style, with evil lurking in every corner. The contrast between the two movies is cool, the two films directed brilliantly by Domenico Paolella. I love MONGOLS and BARBARIANS but the action in MONGOLS edges out the action in BARBARIANS while the tone and atmosphere in BARBARIANS edges out MONGOLS. 
Mark is great in both, and he was really the focus of these movies and he knew it and revelled in it, making these movies some of the best of the PEPLUM genre.


 Kirk Douglas on the set of SPARTACUS (1960)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Clip of the week: THE SILVER CHALICE (1954)

Simon Magus (Jack Palance) thinks he's god! With Virginia Mayo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

HD Alert!

There are no new titles to be released on Blu-ray on the immediate horizon so this is just a reminder of the new SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD Blu-ray will be available on August 16. It stars Gordon Scott and directed by Riccardo Freda. The image below is from the Spanish DVD.

Vintage Article

Article on John Derek on his role in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956), with Charlton Heston there, in some bodybuilding magazine of the 1950s with an extra: a photo of Steve Reeves with a caption stating of upcoming movies with Reeves.

Monday, July 25, 2022


Sandro Moretti, Leonora Ruffo, Mark Forest and Philippe Hersent in a cast photo of GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON (1960)

Great cast of actors who probably wondered what they were doing in this movie. I love this movie but it is goofy at times. It's also sorta psychedelic as well before the psychedelic movement of the late 1960s. Director Vittorio Cottafavi loved experimenting with things and this movie has a lot of experimental moments. Two versions of this exist: The original Italian version and the US version, which added the dragon. It's available on Prime Video in Italy but it's not in high definition. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) 

Colourful poster of great movie!

Friday, July 22, 2022

Image of the week!

 Maciste (Kirk Morris) shows his strength in TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

At the movies...

 KING OF KINGS (1961) playing at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood.

Thursday, July 21, 2022


Perseus (Richard Harrison) and Andromeda (Anna Ranalli) have a friendly chat in PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (1963)

One of the best PEPLUM films that's not yet released in HD or Blu-ray. Though audiences today might find the movie too old, personally, I think it still holds up brilliantly. A precursor to CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). There are more than one versions of this, including the Spanish one which is basically the same as the Italian one and yet many scenes were edited totally differently and special effects were added to the monster scenes, including the cool Medusa.


Joan Collins, Jack Hawkins and Howard Hawks go over a scene on the set of LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955)

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Clip of the week: THE MINOTAUR (1960)

Theseus (Bob Mathias) meets Anfitrite (Susanne Loret) after a brush with death in THE MINOTAUR (1960) 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


Anthar (Kirk Morris) faces off with a rhinoceros in ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

Heroes fighting with wild animals is a common thing in PEPLUM movies, starting with Hercules (Steve Reeves) fighting the Cretan bull in HERCULES (1958). But this is the first time a hero is against a rhino. The 'fake' rhino is very well made and looks quite real compared to other animal props in other movies Kirk Morris starred in (the crocodile in SAMSON AND THE SEA BEAST) or other non-Kirk Morris movies, like the croc Alan Steel fights with in SAMSON AND THE SLAVE QUEEN. 

From IMDb's list of credits for ANTHAR, no one is directly credited for this excellent bit of practical special effects.


Paul Wynter fights with Gordon Mitchell in ATLAS IN THE LAND OF the CYCLOPS. This is the second clip I uploaded to this platform. Though the first clip got good views the entire platform is very nebulous.

Monday, July 18, 2022


Susy Andersen is forced to become a gladiatrix in THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN (1963)

One of the first PEPLUM movies released on Blu-ray, which was unexpected. I tried doing a Fan Dub of this movie but alas the US English audio didn't match the Europe release. It was available on TUBI TV for a while but it has been pulled since. I wonder which print they used? TUBI TV often create their own Fan Dubs and one of them, ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961), uses the audio from my old Fan Dub I uploaded years ago to Youtube. Anyway, what happened to Susy? She was great in THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960 aka SAPPHO THE VENUS OF LESBOS) as Actis. She's also very good in this movie and believable as a female gladiator as she towers over everyone. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1978; TV)

This was a movie shown on TV in the US but released theatrically in some countries, like France.

Monday, July 11, 2022


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. Last full break was the first week of May.

So 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, July 8, 2022

Image of the week!

Chelo Alonso is THE QUEEN OF THE TARTARS (1960)

Muscles Inc.

PEPLUM star Paul Winter, two times Mr Universe winner, on the cover of a French bodybuilding magazine. Paul starred in MACISTE - THE STONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1961) and ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961). This photo shows the amazing symmetry Paul achieved which won him top bodybuilder of 1960 and 1966.

Thursday, July 7, 2022



That's Jack Gilford, Patricia Jessel and Zero Mostel. Adapted from a popular Broadway musical comedy, this ribald movie is, like so many comedies based on Antiquity, hit or miss. The cast is great and the direction is lively. IMO, the production is the star of the movie. I love the look of it. It's an orgy of Ancient Roman culture. I especially like Patricia Jessel. Her role, with Ancient Roman makeup, was perfect. Sadly, she died in 1968, two years after this movie, at the age of 47. But today, the movie looks and feels dated, as it tried too hard to be hip. 


Wolfgang Petersen and Brad Pitt go over the details of a scene on the set of TROY (2004)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Clip of the week: TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS (1964)

The Ten Gladiators in action. Too many actors to name but the two who confront each other, soldier and gladiator, are the brothers Emilio and Roberto Messina.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022


The Cyclop from THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

Special effects by Carlo Rambaldi. The cyclop in this movie is pretty good and terryfying. It's a man in a costume with an animatronic head. The eye and mouth are moving, not stiff (below). Carlo would later work on  KING KONG (1976) and ET - THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982).

Then & Now: Howard Ross

Howard as Maciste in SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964); Howard from an interview made last year.

Monday, July 4, 2022


Spartacus (Massimo Girotti) has a love/hate relationship with Sabina (Gianna Maria Canale) in SPARTACUS - SINS OF ROME (1953)

Many scenes were cut in the US version but this one, a sorta daring one for its time, remained. Unlike the Kubrick version, this Spartacus had to deal with being the love interest of Sabina,the spoiled daughter of a powerful Roman ruler. He's forced to be with her, against his will but we can see that as much as he hates it he also doesn't mind living a 'normal' life. This conflict in him makes him more interesting. IMO, the story of Spartacus needed this conflict. He rebelled against Rome even though he wouldn't mind living a good life. Spartacus' love/hate relationship with Sabina is extreme. It makes the movie more dramatic. 

The hair styles of actresses in movies set in the past often conflict with the setting. They are almost always anachronistic. Not in this movie. Gianna's *big* hair was the total opposite of the conservative 1950s. This is one aspect that makes the movie look modern even today.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

German poster of THE SON OF SPARTACUS (1962; aka The Slave)

Simple and yet effective. The poster does Steve Reeves justice.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Image of the week!

 Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom) is enchanted by Nefer (Bella Darvi) in THE EGYPTIAN (1954)



This review will be short. The daughter of PEPLUM star Edmund Purdom decided to write a book on her famous, or infamous, father. The book is awkward and confusing. She knows very little of the PEPLUM genre or what her father worked on (in theatre or movies) and her approach is a mix of disdain, embarrassment and curiosity. Yes, it's a strange mix. I didn't like the book because her lack of information on her father's career, handed down by her mother, who, albeit was abandoned by Purdom after the actor had a decade long 'secret' affair with Linda Christian, also a star of PEPLUM movies. Their relationship began in the kookie MGM musical ATHENA (1954), which also starred future PEPLUM superstar Steve Reeves. Edmund's relationship with Linda Christian is fascinating. Such a strange one. There's an interview with Linda on Youtube which is more detailed than this book. I like Edmund as an actor. His career was strange as well. He almost became a superstar but a series of scandals made him persona non grata in Hollywood so Edmund moved to Rome, and PEPLUM movies, for the rest of his life. Most people don't remember him today. Only movie fans like me. I did learn a couple of things that were unknown to me (Lana Turner hated working with him...) but this book is a fairly sad affair.

Posted at the permanent PEPLUM Books page