Sunday, February 26, 2023


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

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, February 24, 2023

Image of the week!

Antea, Queen of the Amazons (Gianna Maria Canale) and Jason (Fabrizio Mioni) are in love in HERCULES (1958)


In today's example of different versions found in my collection, the spotlight is on SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961) starring Gordon Scott, Yoko Tani, Gabriele Antonini, Hélène Chanel and a host of other actors. Directed by Riccardo Freda.

It was time to compare versions with the recent release of the Kino Lorber Blu-ray edition, which is great. Almost nothing bad to say about it except for the fact that the US print is, contrary to claims, missing. There is a US edition included in the Blu-ray release but it's not taken from the actual print but a well made Fan Dub: they took the English audio track from the US release, which includes Les Baxter's score, and edited down to match the audio and edit of the original US release. It's nice but it's not the same. Also, the image is sorta very dark in many scenes, which seems to be a standard problem with these Blu-ray transfers.
Unfortunately, this Blu-ray edition doesn't have the original Italian audio as an extra, just the International English Dub on the uncut print with the original score by Carlo Innocenzi and the redubbed version with the Les Baxter score (and some Carlo Innocenzi bits...) in the US 'Fan Dub' cut. To give an example of the differences between the two English dubs, in the International English Dub, Gabriele Antonin's character is named Chew while in the US Dub, he's called Cho. 

Note: European PAL is 25 frames per second while NTSC is 24 frames per second, like how the movies were shown in movie theatres. At 25 FP, the runtime is abbreviated. The original runtime of the uncut version at 24 FPS is 95 minutes. The same movie, uncut, as PAL is 91 minutes. The original runtime of the US cut is 77 minutes and 3 seconds.

The actors in screengrabs below: Gabriele Antonini, Yoko Tani and Gordon Scott.

Original uncut version from the Kino Lorber Blu-ray (2022). 

Runtime: 95 minutes 38 sec

Aspect ratio: 1980 X 804

This print is uncut and in English but the audio is different than the US version.
 This one has the International English Dub.


'Fan Dub' version of the US cut from the Kino Lorber Blu-ray (2022). 

Runtime: 76 minutes 7 sec

Aspect ratio: 1920 X 804

The voices and dialogue of the US cut has different dialogue and voice actors. I prefer this one over the International English Dub which is good but not as interesting. The runtime is one minute shorter than the original US cut which is 77 minutes and 3 secs.


Original Italian HD TV Broadcast with French Dub (2020) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 1280 X 534

This is a 'Fan Dub' with the French audio added to an Italian HD TV broadcast of the movie. This edition has the Italian and French dubs.

Original Italian with English subtitles (2019) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec

Aspect ratio: 1080 X 432

This is a Fan Sub. English subtitles were added to this print by a fan out there. Same print as the Italian DVD (below) but set at a higher resolution.

Spanish DVD edition (2021) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 1018 X 432

Pretty much the standard Italian DVD print but from a Spanish DVD. Italian audio also included.


Original Italian version source unknown (2011) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 32 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 704 X 336

Missing opening credit of Gordon Scott - Yoko Tani. One of the earliest prints I got. Most likely from a VHS.

French VHS release (2017) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 10 sec (PAL or SECAM)

Aspect ratio: 720 X 334

A VHS source in widescreen. Runtime is different. 

Spanish edition with Spanish and Italian audio (2017)

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 720 X 304

A standard edition same as the Italian DVD.

French edition Fan made (2016) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 720 X 304

Another French Fan Dub. Print most likely taken from Italian DVD (below). Italian audio is included in this MKV file.

Italian DVD edition (2017) 

Runtime: 91 minutes 52 sec (PAL)

Aspect ratio: 720 X 304

This print is pretty much the standard print that was available form many years. Many have made special Fan Dub or Fan Sub editions with this copy.

Original US cut from the 50 Warriors DVD Pack (2008) 

Runtime: 77 minutes 3 sec

Aspect ratio: 624 X 368

This is the 'public domain' print available of the US rlease. It differs greatly from the original Italian uncut International English Dub version. The ten minutes intro is entirely cut. This DVD version is partially widescreen which is rare for US editions.

Notes: the years listed are not the years these editions became available but the year I acquired them. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray edition is the first HD version to be commercially available anywhere in the world.

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Richard Harrison and Renato Baldini in GIANTS OF ROME (1964) 

In this scene, Baldini's character wants to know what Harrison and his band are doing in the area. Harrison and his team are his prisoners. This movie has often been called the PEPLUM version of THE GUNS OF NAVARON. What's indicative of this movie is how it's nearly entirely filmed outside. There are some interior scenes, such as this one, but for the most part it was shot in a forest somewhere. This doesn't bother me but one of the reasons I love PEPLUM movies are intricate sets of how they lived back then. So, as much as I like this movie, which has a lot of memorable scenes, I always find this aspect sorta disappointing. Baldini used to be a leading man in the 1950s. By then he was playing supporting roles. Here, he's trying to force information from Harrison's character by threat of torture. As I said, I like this movie and it has some interesting aspects beyond the simple story but when one thinks of the PEPLUM genre, does this title pop up first? I like the fact the genre morphed beyond Hercules-style stories such as this one but it's kinda obscure or overlooked. IMO, Harrison has never looked better. The hours outside gave him a great tan. 😄


 Jane Powell and Steve Reeves flex their muscles on the set of ATHENA (1954)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Clip of the week: HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961)

Hercules (Reg Park) and his son (Luciano Marin) try to get out of a precarious situation!


Tuesday, February 21, 2023


Ulysses (Kirk Douglas) brings wine to Polyphemus (Umbero Silvestri) in ULYSSES (1954)

Having giants with actors is always difficult to recreate certainly when special effects were limited but the movie was directed in such a subtle way that it didn't seem like they were special effects. There weren't many scenes with Polyphemus and the crew of the ship together and the scene below is most likely a screen projection with Douglas walking up to the screen, bringing wine. The scene is obviously very dark as not to how to many discrepancies. And in the scene above, the legs are full scale practical effects.

Then & Now: Jane Seymour

Jane in SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977); a recent photo of the actress.

Monday, February 20, 2023


Anne Bancroft and Victor Mature in DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954) 

For me, seeing Anne Bancroft in a story set in Antiquity always strikes me as odd. I've only seen her in stories set in contemporary times so when she appears with gladiators I always make a double take. It's a small role but a great one as she stood out from the male pack. Anne's early career, appearing in movies such as GORILLA AT LARGE (1954), wasn't the  one she would have in just a few years so this must have been fun for her.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of THE CENTURION (1961) 

Very good art. The likeness of the actors is good. Also known in English as CONQUEROR OF CORINTH.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Image of the week!

Hercules (Kirk Morris) is pushed against a wall by Samson (Iloosh Khoshabe) in HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963)

At the movies...

CALIGULA'S HOT NIGHTS (1977) shown at a movie theatre in 1982 in Barcelona. It was also known as THE HOT NIGHTS OF CALIGULA but here the word NIGHT is incorrect.

Thursday, February 16, 2023


Raquel Welch in ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966) 

It was announced yesterday that Raquel died at the age of 82. After Gina, now Raquel, it's a sad time for movie lovers. She was a Hollywood legend and even though her career didn't have many PEPLUM movies, she starred in two memorable ones: this prehistoric classic and THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1973; below with Frank Finlay) in which she won a Golden Globe award. Rest in peace, Raquel!



 John Richardson gets his costume fixed on the set of ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

HD Alert!

Yoko Tani and Rory Calhoun in MARCO POLO (1962) 

By today I should have received the new Blu-ray edition of this movie and I would have given a quick review/overview of it but unfortunately something went wrong with Amazon and I still haven't received it yet even if I pre-ordered it. I should get it by next week. According to a comment from last Friday from someone who got it, the new Blu-ray is not the US cut with the Les Baxter score but the original International English Dub with the Angelo Lavagnino score. Somewhat disappointed by this. I'm happy it's uncut and I love Lavagnino's music but I don't know if the International English Dub has Rory's voice in it. I do have a copy of the US cut with the Baxter score, and Rory's voice, but the quality of the print is poor. I'll post info on it once I receive it.

More on that Golden Calf from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)

Since I posted about the auction of the Golden Calf from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) at Christie's, a fellow visitor of the blog posted some extensive information on it. I highly recommend you go back and read the comments by HSC.

With that being said, it seems this has created more of a mystery than anything else. Was the prop sold at Christie's not the one used in the movie? From the info I gathered from HSC, here are side by side comparisons of the many Golden Calf.


Above: The Golden Calf sold at Christie's. Looks different than the one in the movie.

Above and below: Another Golden Calf, displayed at the Museo des Cinema in Torino, Italy. This one looks more like the one in the movie. The main problem with the comparison is the golden sheen seen in the photo from the movie. To make it more clear... at B&W photos of the calf. The surface is more like the calf displayed in Italy than the one sold at Christie's. The prop in Italy is the real deal. I suspect that the prop sold at Christie's is a prototype that was used as reference and it was never meant to be seen in the final movie. That's my only explanation. 

Thanks to HSC for this fun tidbit!

Monday, February 13, 2023


Hélène Chanel and Kirk Morris in MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964)

This is a fun movie with a colourful story (see title). In this scene, Farida, played by Chanel, gives Maciste something to drink. Maciste thinks it's laced with some drugs and she shows him not to worry. But then she drugs him from a needle embedded in the sofa they're sitting on! At one point, Maciste says "Who ever knows what really goes on in a woman's head!" which always makes me laugh out loud. One of a bunch of PEPLUM movies Chanel and Morris made together. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of TOTO AND CLEOPATRA (1963)

Nice poster of this comedy.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Image of the week!

 Dancing ceremony prior to sacrificial offerings to the Minotaur in THE MINOTAUR (1960)

The Golden Calf prop...

The Golden Calf from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) was auctioned off at Christie's. The price: $15, 275. The calf looks different than how it appeared in the final movie. The main body of the one sold at Christie's has a wooden body. The one below shows it was made of gold. Thanks to Paul for the info.

Thursday, February 9, 2023


Hercules (Brad Harris) stops a gate from closing in FURY OF HERCULES (1962)

A Twin Production with SAMSON (1961), ie both films with identical sets, cast and crew, with SAMSON being the better one. FURY OF HERCULES is fun to watch and there are a lot of inspired scenes like this one but the story is all over the place and convoluted. The story in SAMSON is pretty straight forward. This is one of many movies Brad made with director Gianfranco Parolini, including many non-PEPLUM titles. I wonder why the two worked so often together.


Aroldo Tieri, Walter Chiari, Abbe Lane and Ugo Tognazzi on the set of TIBERIUS (1960). Photo was taken in 1959.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Scenes from THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

Two scenes with matte paintings. Both are pretty subtle in that one thinks 'Is it really matte paintings?' but they are. The one below is very simple: everything above is a painting. It's a very simple one but needed if there were buildings or other objects in the background that had to be hidden. Tom Howard is credited for 'special photographic effects' but it doesn't say if that included matte work.

(Not so) Vintage Article...

Not a vintage article but a somewhat recent one, published in 2014. It's great to read articles such as this one but the tone is, as usual, dismissive. Not as dismissive as other publication but it basically says distributor Joseph E Levine's publicity campaign made it a success. Oddly enough, the article also states that the movie made $12 million in Italy alone...without Levine's campaign. The article basically contradicts itself. I'll have more on this in the near future.

Monday, February 6, 2023


Arian (Mark Forest) is introduced to Menelaus (Alberto Lupo) in THE LION OF THEBES (1964)

Alberto Lupo's role is small but significant. He had cameo-like roles as an important army leader in other movies. He always added a semblance of credibility to movies. He was in 6 movies in 1964 alone. I wonder if these cameos were for the Italian market. Mark was insanely buff in this movie. No costumes could contain him. Does anyone know the significance of the black tapestry in the background. That's Carlo Tamberlani making the introduction.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

German poster of GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) 

Great poster. The German title makes Goliath into Hercules. It translates as HERCULES - TERROR OF THE HUNS.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Image of the week!

A dying Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guiness) is visited by Livius (Stephen Boyd) and Lucilla (Sophia Loren) in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964)


PEPLUM stars Moira Orfei and Dan Vadis on the cover of ERCOLE. Probably made when the two starred in TRIUMPH OF HERCULES.

Thursday, February 2, 2023


Scilla Gabel in SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) 

Spoilers for those who haven't seen the movie.

One of the big mistakes of this movie was getting rid of Scilla Gabel so early into the movie. She barely last beyond the movie's opening credits, with that torture scene she has with Mimmo Palmara, who also didn't last long. IMO, Scilla was a more striking actress than most of those in the movie. She could have played the role of Pier Angeli or Rossana Podesta. Once she's gone the movie automatically suffers from it. It was a star making appearance cut short. 


Sullivan Stapleton on the set of 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (2014)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023