Sunday, August 28, 2022


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. Last full break was back at  the beginning of July. 

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, August 26, 2022

Image of the week!

A vengeful Artemide (Gianna Maria Canale) is about to meet her fate in THE CENTURION (1961; aka Conqueror of Corinth)


SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961). Directed by Riccardo Freda. Starring Gordon Scott, Yôko Tani, Hélène Chanel, Gabriele Antonini, Dante DiPaolo, Leonardo Severini.

Original Italian title: Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan

This review of the new Kino Lorber Blu-ray edition of SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD will be short. It's great. Buy it.

Seriously, unlike other releases, this one is pretty much straightforward and not much to go over. There are two versions included in this release, including the original Italian cut. And there's US American International cut. This version is where things get a bit tricky. 

The Italian cut is complete, same as the RAI HD broadcast, which I have. The only difference is the runtime. Not because the RAI one is cut but because the movie was shown in PAL format, which means 25 frames per second while the uncut version on the Blu-ray is at 24 frames per second. This slight change makes the runtime of the RAI TV broadcast shorter than the one on the Blu-ray. 25fps shaves off time from the original version at 24 fps. It's a European thing. Anyway, so there's no need to do a side-by-side comparison since by looking at the frame rates differences, they are most likely identical. 

I'll make a 'Different Versions' post in the future comparing all the different copies I have but the runtime for the on on the Blu-ray is 95 minutes 38 seconds, while the runtime of the RAI broadcast is at 91 minutes 52 seconds. Same movie, different frame rates, completely different aspect ratio. If I find any major differences, I'll post them in that article.

The image is crisp though not as colorful, or 'Technicolor', as the old Public Domain one. The one problem are scenes at night or dark scenes. Like so many recent Blu-ray editions, the dark scenes are so dark it's sometimes difficult to make out what's going on (above). 

Size comparison: Top left is the old Public Domain version available on WARRIORS 50 pack I bought 14 or so years ago. Below it is the US cut from the new Blu-ray. Same scene, same time, totally different aspect ratio.

The big issue with this excellent release is the US American International Pictures or AIP cut. It's *not* a genuine copy taken from a negative of that version. It's basically a Fan Dub, like those I've been doing for years, in which they took the audio from the AIP version, cleaned it up, and re-edited the movie from the pristine original Italian version to match this AIP cut. I don't know who did this but they did a great job. The opening and closing credits are from the old Public Domain print but the rest is nearly the same as the old version. The runtimes are slightly different but by a second or so. This is an interesting thing. Is it legit though? I'm sure the negatives of the AIP cut are lost or impossible to find so they reverted to this Fan Dub approach which works but it's not a genuine copy of the AIP print. 

Hélène Chanel and Leonardo Severini in the 17 minutes + intro that was cut from the AIP version for its US release. 

The other big difference is the Uncut vs AIP cut versions. The runtime for the AIP is around 77 minutes while the original Italian copy is 95 minutes (24 fps). That's a whopping 18 minutes cut for the AIP version. The question was: will the missing scene (nearly all the beginning excluding opening credits), have an English dub? The answer is YES! So the original 95 minutes copy is in English from the start. For years, fans like me had to watch the intro in Italian and then to English when Samson (Gordon Scott) shows up. I wanted to make a Fan Dub of it but this major gap complicated things. So no need for subtitles for the beginning of this movie.

The US cut on the Blu-ray starts with the familiar AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES logo take from the Public Domain print. Don't worry, the image gets better after the short credits.
I give this edition a 10. Even though the AIP cut is not really a genuine copy, and even though dark scenes are too dark, and the Italian audio is not included (why?), and the BD is barebones with only some commentary by the omnipresent Bava-expert Tim Lucas, this release is near perfect. What's really remarkable about this release is that it's the first time a major PEPLUM title was released in HD first in North America and not Europe. Quite a miracle. More of this please.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Gordon Mitchell as Hamar in CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962) 

A lot of people hate on this movie. I love it. I don't know why people hate it. Not only is it based on fact (Caesar was kidnapped by pirates) but it also has an entertaining performance by Gordon Mitchell. He's so over-the-top (like the movie) that you can't help but enjoy it. A lot of people say that Mitchell's best performance in a PEPLUM is FURY OF ACHILLES (1962) and I agree but for me this is equal to ACHILLES. The director, Sergio Grieco, turned the machismo up to 11 for this movie. I can't wait for it to be available in HD. Also known as JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES.


Gordon Scott and Diana Hyland have fun on the set of HERCULES AND THE PRINCESS OF TROY (1965)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Hercules (Mark Forest) to the one of the hardest Feat of Strengths in any PEPLUM movies. With José Greci and Ken Clark. From a Fan Dub I made.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

HD Alert!

SUDAN (1945)  is now available on Blu-ray with the Maria Montez - Jon Hall Collection, along with GYPSY WILDCAT and WHITE SAVAGE. It's priced at $31 at and a whopping $61 at Inflation!!!

Maria Montez is Queen Naila

Germano Longo, R.I.P.

Italian-born actor Germano Longo died on July 14 at the age of 89. An excellent actor who started in small but stand-out supporting roles and appeared in a bunch of classic PEPLUM movies, including DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961).

I won't go over his entire career in PEPLUM movies but highlight some titles and what I think is his best role. R.I.P..


Germano first starring role was in ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956) with Rosanna Schiaffino. A  supporting role and whenever he was on screen he stole the show.


Germano had another supporting role in SIGFRIDO (1957) though not as flashy as the one in ROLAND THE MIGHTY.


Germano in APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958) with John Kitzmiller.


Germano starred in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) and had a scene in which he fought with Gordon Scott. Main photo above is from this movie.

Germano had a starring role in SWORD IN THE SHADOWS (1961). He's absolutely amazing in it. Fun movie no one has seen.

In what I believe is his best role, Germano played Omnos in SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963) along with Yvonne Furneaux (below). His solid performance as the ever scheming Omnos grounds the entire movie.


His PEPLUM titles:


SIGFRIDO (The Dragon's Blood) (1957)
















Monday, August 22, 2022


Kirk Morris rescues Rosalba Neri from the scorching desert in DESERT RAIDERS (1964) 

Kirk made a bunch of 'desert' movies in and around 1964. This is one of them. Unlike most of his movies, this one is more serious. It doesn't mean less good but it is not as fun as watching MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964) which is a Twin Production with RAIDERS. It's also one of those movies the English dub track is missing. Rosalba's career in PEPLUM movies is varied and colourful and was about to end in a year or so along with the genre itself. She would continue acting in plenty of other movies though. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster of FURY OF HERCULES (1962) 

Sums up pretty much all PEPLUM movies!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Image of the week!

Phillipides (Steve Reeves) teams up with Milziade (Alberto Lupo) in THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959)

At the movies...

KING OF KINGS (1961) playing at the Michael Todd theatre in NYC.

Thursday, August 18, 2022


Pythias (Don Burnett) looks over to Damon (Guy Williams) and Adriana (Liana Orfei) in DAMON AND PYTHIAS (1962)

This movie lingered in the public domain territory for years, with awful washed-out prints. But it was recently released in a beautiful DVD print from Warner Archive...which makes me wonder, is it still in the public domain? This movie is a perfect amalgamation of Italian and US crews making a PEPLUM. The production is solid with some good performances. It sometimes feel like a TV movie but an above average one. Also known as THE TYRANT OF SYRACUSE. Do you like it?


 Candid photo of the crew and set of DAVID AND BATHSHEBA (1951)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Clip of the week: THE REVOLT OF THE PRAETORIANS (1964)

They're on to him...Richard Harrison as the Red Wolf! With Piero Lulli and others. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022



Last week, I posted a clip from this movie which showcased the excellent matte paintings in this movie. Above is a scene from that clip. Mind you, this is an action scene, not a set-up scene. The director was wise to use the matte work like this. Below is another excellent matte painting seen at the beginning of the movie (and not in the clip I posted). Overall, some of the best matte paintings I've seen in an Italian production. The artist (or artists) who created these is not credited.



Today, it's THE REVENGE OF THE BARBARIANS (1960) starring Daniela Rocca, José Greci and Anthony Steel, amongst others. Great film. One of my personal favourites. Remarkably enough, this is one case where the Italian version is missing. No original Italian title available yet. There are few choices for this one, only English and two Germans. There's actually two other German titles: ALARICH - EROBERER VON ROM and ALARICHS KAMPF GEGEN ROM.

The English title is pretty straightforward. It's a literal translation of the the Italian: LA VENDETTA DEI BARBARI.

First German title which translates as BATTLE FOR ROME.

Second German title and it translates as DAY OF WINNERS. From a VHS release.


Daniela Rocca and cast in this great PEPLUM!

Monday, August 15, 2022


Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida) dances up a paganistic storm in SOLOMON AND SHEBA (1959)

A movie plagued with production issues, with the biggest being the unexpected death of Tyrone Power on the set. Power was eventually replaced by Yul Brynner. The movie looks great and has some interested set pieces but overall the movie is sorta...lifeless...well except for this dance number which is the highlight of the movie. Gina was a great dancer (see her as Esmeralda in HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME - 1956) and even though the dance here is more on the 'pagan' side (more wild than coordinated) it's still fun to watch. 

One thing that really irks me about this movie (aside from the ending...) is the fact that her name in the movie is Sheba but the country she ruled was called Sheba. Historically, she never had a known name even though she's sometimes referred to as Makeda. In the Italian production, THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (1952), she's called Balkis.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Belgian poster of ATLAS AGAINST THE CZAR (1964) 

Typically colourful poster from Belgium. Good likeness of Kirk Morris.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Image of the week!

Mary Magdalene (Yvonne de Carlo) and Gaius Marcellus (Jorge Mistral) watch Jesus on the cross in the last scene from THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958)


100 BIBLE FILMS by Matthew Page

This informative book lists and reviews 100 well known and not so well known movies based on the bible. This book points out the interesting aspect of the PEPLUM genre and why the term PEPLUM is important  as an umbrella term. As I've mentioned for over a decade here at the blog, many people categorize films set in the past as the same. Epic movies. Historical dramas. Sword & Sandal. Biblical, etc. HERCULES (1958) is not a biblical movie like the THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) and yet a big chunk of the population out there actually don't see a difference between the two. The stories of both films are set in the past. People were togas or similar looking costumes. There are chariots in HERCULES and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. The list goes on. So once one sorts out the movies based on the bible, like this book does, an entirely different picture is created. 

There are still super-productions like COMMANDMENTS or BEN-HUR (1959) but there's no CLEOPATRA (1963) or SPARTACUS (1960) or THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964). With so many big titles from Hollywood missing or Italian productions, one can see how many movies based on the bible were actually made. Of course, the list is incomplete. The author, Matthew Page, had to pick and choose the most prominent ones or the most interesting ones. Page writes on his selection at the beginning of the book.

This means many Italian titles like THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958) starring Yvonne de Carlo or PONTIUS PILATE (1962) starring Jean Marais, or the numerous movies with Christians being persecuted, like THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) or REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960), are not listed.

Even with this fault, I recommend this book. It's one of the best books on the PEPLUM genre or the biblical movies. With so many books on the PEPLUM genre that hates the genre itself, it's refreshing to read a book that doesn't denigrate it. I don't necessarily agree with some of his reviews, which is fine. There are interesting tidbits on the making of these movies, like the production issues behind KING OF KINGS (1961). There are tons of photos and the format and layout make the book easy to read or simply peruse. As I'm thinking of publishing my own book or books on PEPLUM movies one day, the format I'm thinking of closely resembles this one though with different layout. 

I bough the paperback version which goes for around $35 in Canada and $26 in the US. The book was creased during the delivery so thanks Amazon. :(

If you want to know more on Matthew Page, he has a great blog called BIBLE FILMS. He goes over every bible movies, including those he didn't list in the book. Make sure to check it out.

Posted at the permanent PEPLUM Books page.

Thursday, August 11, 2022


Romulus (Roger Moore) is visited by Venus (Rosanna Schiaffino) and Mars (Jean Marais) in ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (1961)

I like almost all PEPLUM movies, including this one even if sorta leaves me indifferent. The production is excellent, the cast is brilliant. There are great scenes like this one, a dream sequence of sorts, which is the highlight of the entire movie even if it's brief. The only big problem this movie has is that it suffers from an identity crisis. Is it a comedy? A historical picture? A historical comedy about...rape? It didn't know how to approach the touchy subject. Even the trailers for the movie are confusing, trying to make it appear as a light, fun movie about the kidnapping of the Sabine women. La Dolce Ratto? PEPLUM comedies are almost always the same. Not funny in a ROTFL way but not clever enough to be viewed as a sophisticated production. Scenes of bare-breasted Sabine women were cut from the US release but can be seen in the French version, which has all the scenes intact.


Lana Turner keeping warm on the set of THE PRODIGAL (1955). Below is the scene/costume in the movie.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Mark Forest and Giuliano Gemma in action during the action-packed climax! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

HD Alert!

Massimo Serato and Jayne Mansfield in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)

A screenshot from a HD print from a streaming service in Europe. The image clarity is stunning. The movie looks great. What's remarkable is how Jayne and Mickey Hargitay look slim or not as pudgy as in the older prints. Very odd. Not available on Blu-ray anywhere yet.

Vintage Article

Here's an old article on the career of Steve Reeves. Great set of photos.

Monday, August 8, 2022


Maciste (Kirk Morris) is put to the test in ATLAS AGAINST THE CZAR (1964) 

The US version starts with a pre-credit message: KIRK MORRIS - The Legendary Atlas Now Known as "MACHISTE". The title is Atlas but in the movie he's called 'Machiste' or Maciste. This is one of many Feats of Strength scenes in this fun movie. It takes a while for Maciste to show up, and it's in a quite original way which adds to the lore of Maciste. Non-PEPLUM fans might think very little of these movies but for me, I absolutely enjoy them.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) 

Nice artwork but it could basically represent any PEPLUM movie.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Image of week: DUEL OF THE TITANS

Julia (Virna Lisi) surrounded by her handmaiden Estia (José Greci) and Curzio (Jacques Sernas) in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)


US lobby cards set of THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) starring Steve Reeves, Scilla Gabel and others. Very good set with many cards showcasing Steve. The producers realized Steve was the best selling point of the movie and I'm sure this set drew attention to the movie, as it was designed to do.

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Millstone (Alan Steel) and Samson (Brad Harris) team up to topple the evil ruler in SAMSON (1961)

Though Brad was good in his starring role, imo, Alan Steel stole it from Brad. He was so much more charismatic and he eventually became a PEPLUM star. This movie was always available in a decent print so it's odd that a HD print of it hasn't surfaced yet. The French version is called SAMSON AGAINST HERCULES with Steel as Hercules. That's Irena Prosen.