Thursday, December 29, 2022

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year to all my followers and visitors, regulars and casual lurkers!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

 I hope you all have a wonderful and plentiful Christmas and joyous holidays!

Image of the week!

Artafernes (Mimmo Palmara) and Gordian aka Goliath (Gordon Scott) fight to the death in GOLIATH AND THE REBEL SLAVE (1963)

Lobby Cards Set: BEN-HUR (1959)

Original UK lobby cards set of BEN-HUR (1959) starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and all. Great set with more cards than the usual 8 cards set for this super-production. There are actually even more cards than these ten here. Covers nearly all the great scenes in the movie except for the nativity scene at the beginning. I like the portraits of the actors. These  cards look better than the US lobby cards set.

Thursday, December 22, 2022


Richard Harrison in GLADIATORS 7 (1962)

Another pretty solid PEPLUM with Harrison. Like the previous THE INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR, this is an Italian - Spanish co-production. I like it and I have watched it many times but it does have weak parts here and there. Some tighter editing would resolve this issue. Harrison's character is framed for a murder he didn't commit (in this scene) and he recruits other rogue 'gladiators' to help him combat the evil ruler who framed him. The love story is the weakest part and by the end it is completely forgotten. Something tells me some scenes were left on the cutting room's floor. But overall, it's very good, including some excellent matte paintings, which is sorta rare for these types of action-packed PEPLUM movies. There are some nice copies out there, including a pseudo HD one but the night scenes are way too dark and one can't see anything. So a pristine clear copy is still not available. The title is one of those titles that's either in singular or plural, aka GLADIATOR 7 or GLADIATORS 7. 


Tina Louise on the set of SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS (1960; aka The Warrior Empress)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Clip the week: BEN-HUR (1959)

The Three Wise Men visit Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, with Joseph (Laurence Payne) and Mary (José Greci).

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


Spectacular scene from QUO VADIS (1951)

The movie QUO VADIS is replete with matte painting and special effects, too many to cover in one post. In this post I'll focus on the victory parade ceremony, which is one of the most spectacular scenes ever put on film. Just compare the scene as it looked like in the movie and how it was in real life. Stunning matte work with a stunning set. Peter Ellenshaw was the artist responsible for this seamless work of art.


Lydia Alfonsi, RIP

Italian actress Lydia Alfonsi died on September 21 at the age of 94. She only appeared in a handful of PEPLUM movies but they're all memorable. Lydia was unforgettable as the Sybil in HERCULES (1958), including the scene where Hercules asks her for guidance which, imo, is one of the most iconic scenes of the genre. She starred in 3 movies with Steve Reeves.

Note: her name was spelled Lydia or Lidia depending on the movie. Her last acting role for a movie was  LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1997) in which she was credited as Lydia.

Rest in peace, Lydia.

Lydia played the Sybil in HERCULES (1958). She's memorable in all her scenes, including this one in which Hercules (Steve Reeves) arrives to help King Pelias. The one below is iconic!

Lydia's next PEPLUM movie was THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960). The movie starts with her in which she is murdered by the evil Licos, played by Massimo Serato (below).


Lydia starred in MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) along with Valérie Lagrange in this Steve Reeves adventure. Another supporting role.


Lydia played Cassandra in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) starring along with Steve Reeves (below). Another memorable role for the excellent actress.


Cassandra (Lydia Alfonsi) has no love for her brother Paris (Warner Bentivegna) in THE TROJAN HORSE, directed by Giorgio Ferroni.

Monday, December 19, 2022


Creusa (Juliette Mayniel, in red) seeks help from Cassandra (Lydia Alfonsi, behind altar) at the Temple of Athena in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961)

This movie has some really good full scale sets, including this one, with massive steps and all. This is not a matte painting. The movie was shot in less expensive Serbia. I'm assuming this is the Temple of Athena since Creusa is praying for her. Lydia Alfonsi died recently and I'll have a profile on her career. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME (1964) 

Great gladiator poster even though no such scene occurs in the movie. They fight in the arena at one point but they wear big helmets.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Image of the week!

Paris (Ricardo Cortez) woos Helen of Troy (Maria Corda) in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HELEN OF TROY (1927)

At the movies...

Premiere of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) at the Cartier cinema in Quebec city, Canada.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


Rezius (Richard Harrison) meets the evil Prime Minister Rabirius (Leo Anchóriz) in THE INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR (1961)

That's Antonio Molino Rojo on the left. I like this movie. It's solid entertainment. It's one of those PEPLUM movies that's forever under the radar. I still haven't seen a decent copy of it. It's an Italian - Spanish co-production, which means a lot of the actors or supporting actors are Spanish. I can't wait to find a decent copy of this. With that being said, the costumes are awful. It's a shame the costumes are such an eyesore. It brings a decent PEPLUM a few notches down. 


Robert Taylor takes home movies of the extras on the set of QUO VADIS (1951). Nice colour photo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

HD Alert!

German Blu-ray edition of HANNIBAL (1959) starring Victor Mature and Rita Gam (below), will be released in 2023. The BD is being sold as a Terence Hill - Bud Spencer movie which is definitely not. Terence, who is credited as Mario Girotti, has a good role in it but Bud has basically a cameo. The specs says it's uncut, with the German and American versions which are identical. Two discs set with extras.

I already have HANNIBAL in HD, from the Japanese Blu-ray and the one taken from Amazon Prime. I don't know if I'm going to get this one. If it's spectacular, I will. Or if the extras are worth it.

Then & Now: Spiros Focás

Spiros in MESSALINA (1960); a recent photo of the actor

Monday, December 12, 2022


Kirk Morris, Margaret Lee, and Aldo Bufi Landi plot something in SAMSON AND THE SEA BEAST (1964)

A fun movie with some unintentionally hilarious moments. The Sea Beast in the title is a bit confusing: does it refer to the villain played by Daniele Vargas or the crocodile in which Lee's character was to be sacrificed to? Beast is in either singular or plural. Morris is in top form, and Aldo gives good support. I profiled him here at the blog. Margaret Lee is a British actress who worked in some French movies but mostly in Italian productions. Her real last name is Box. She's an overlooked beauty. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964) 

Beautiful poster. The title for this movie varies a lot. It's THE PIRATES OF MALAYSIA without Sandokan or PIRATE OF MALAYSIA with Sandokan. THere's also THE PIRATES OF THE SEVEN SEAS. Pirate is either in plural or singular. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Image of the week!

Nero (Peter Ustinov) sings while Petronius (Leo Genn) and Tigellinus (Ralph Truman) watch on as Rome burns in QUO VADIS (1951)

VHS Covers

UK VHS cover of THE FALL OF ROME (1963). Cover has nothing to do with movie. But I guess they had to sell it to folks back then.

Thursday, December 8, 2022


Ubaratutu (Harry Baird) fights with buddy Thor (Joe Robinson) while the Queen (Janine Hendy) tries to stop Thor in THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN (1963)

Remarkably enough, this was one of the first PEPLUM movies released on Blu-ray in Italy. The English version wasn't included which was a shame. Someone did a Fan Dub of it with the French audio but the English audio can't be aligned with the image. I like this movie. It's a curio for sure though. It's an action film but it's sorta slow going. The movie has an interacial friendship/rivalry between two men, one white and one black, something the director did in 3 other movies, with MACISTE - THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1961) with Mark Forest and Paul Wynter. Then there's ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1962) with Gordon Mitchell and Paul Wynter. And there's TAUR THE MIGHTY (1963), also with Joe Robinson and Harry Baird. THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN and TAUR THE MIGHTY are Twin Productions, with virtually the same plot, and same settings and good part of the same cast. Both of those movies were supposed to be Tarzan films but the Burroughs estate wanted to sue the productions so everything was changed at the last minute. It's hard to believe this movie and TAUR were to be Tarzan films. Tarzan and Amazons? The English title is also goofy: THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN...aren't Amazons always women? Shouldn't it be THOR AND THE AMAZONS? The director, Antonio Leonviola, was in the film business since the 1930s. He had experience. Like I said, a curio for sure but an entertaining one.


Susan Hayward and director Henry King have a chat on the set of DAVID AND BATHSHEBA (1951)

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Clip of the week: THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961)

Georges Marchal is tortured with the 'bell.' Also with Conrado San Martin and Rory Calhoun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Scenes from THE FALL OF ROME (1963)

Director Antonio Margheriti loved working with practical effects or models in almost all of his films and this one was no exception. I always look forward to scenes like these. The destruction of Rome is quite eye popping. 

Cinematic Confusion!

The never ending tradition of Cinematic Confusion in the PEPLUM genre continues.

French magazine with a cover of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves but with a photo of DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) starring Reeves and Gordon Scott.


DVD cover of HERCULES AND THE MASKED RIDER (1963) starring...Steve Reeves? The movie actually stars Alan Steel but they used a photo of Reeves.


Cover of Super 8 reel of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961). Now this one takes the prize. No dragon in the movie (that's from THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) and that's Mimmo Palmara as Hercules...when Reg Park was Hercules.

Monday, December 5, 2022


David (Gregory Peck) and Bathsheba (Susan Hayward) in DAVID AND BATHSHEBA (1951)

Does anyone like this movie? I like it but one can't compare it to SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949) which is filled with memorable moments. This movie is pretty solid but unmemorable. Very little of it stays in the mind. I think Peck didn't care much for it but Susan was great in it, as all of her PEPLUM roles. She clearly loved making these kind of movies. It was green lighted after the Cecil B DeMille movie was a humongous hit. 
DAVID AND BATHSHEBA was a hit, at around $5 million but SAMSON AND DELILAH box office return was $25+ million.

PEPLUM Movie Posters

Original Italian poster of THE FALL OF ROME (1963) 

Great poster. Unfortunately I can't find a better picture. Really cool.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Image of the week!

Phillipides (Steve Reeves) saves Andromeda (Mylène Demongeot) in THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959)

Mylène Demongeot, R.I.P.

French actress Mylène Demongeot died today at the age of 87. She starred in five major PEPLUM productions, and co-starred with Steve Reeves and Roger Moore. She was a popular actress at the time but she was not very fond of PEPLUM movies. About her PEPLUM roles, she was quoted as saying:

Never would I have agreed to appear in "Sword and Sandals" films if the Italian producers had not immediately agreed to pay me twice the fee I was usually offered. I simply did not have the moral strength to refuse such an amount of money.

Even so, she was memorable in all of them. All the PEPLUM stars are dying. So sad. R.I.P..


Mylène played Andromeda in THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) with Steve Reeves (below). This is my personal favourite of the her PEPLUM movies.


Mylène starred in two THREE MUSKETEERS movies with Gerard Barray (pictured). 

Mylène's next PEPLUM role was in ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (1961) starring Roger Moore. The first picture above is also from this movie.

Mylène starred in GOLD FOR THE CAESARS (1963) with Massimo Girotti (above) and Jeffrey Hunter (below). She's very good in this somewhat more serious PEPLUM movie.

LOVE IN ROME (1960). Though not a PEPLUM movie, Mylene plays an actress who stars in a PEPLUM movie along with Jacques Sernas.

List of PEPLUM films: