Friday, September 29, 2023

Blog Note

Note: BY THE GODS! magazine is completed. There were some delays over some technical issues (such as barcodes...) but now everything has been resolved. The magazine will most likely be available next week! Links and information will be posted here and at BY THE GODS!.

Image of the week!

Venus (Annie Gorassini) tells Mars (Roger Browne) she will marry the victor in VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER (1962)


Steve Reeves from HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) on the cover of a French magazine (Dec 2000). 

Thursday, September 28, 2023


Yvonne Furneaux as Semiramis in SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963) 

I like this film. I even made a Fan Dub of it, the first copy in English and widescreen. Yvonne looks great in this photo. The movie itself is not that Babylonian, certainly the costumes. But it's very entertaining, with a great cast. Yvonne is excellent as Semiramis. A Blu-ray was released in Germany. Two releases actually, with a recent one back last July. I still haven't splurged on it. I wish there was a detailed review of this release somewhere on the internet. It doesn't help that there's no English audio.


The construction of the colossus statue on the set of THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961)

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Clip of the week: THE OLD TESTAMENT (1963)

Big battle between Syrians and Israelites. The movie stars Brad Harris but he's not in this clip.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Scenes from THE OLD TESTAMENT (1963)

This elaborate movie starring Brad Harris has several scenes with special effects, including these two matte paintings. The production itself is very colourful and intricate, even if the final result is a uneven film experience. But these are pretty good. I couldn't find who was responsible for the matte work.

Ancient Greek temple discovered underwater

Amazing stuff! Looks like they found a lot of interesting objects like coins and jewellery. It demonstrates that Greeks were allowed to trade and settle in the city during the Saïte dynasty. From the article:

The ruins of an ancient underwater temple have been discovered in the ancient sunken city Heracleion, off Egypt's north coast, described as Egypt's Atlantis.

The city slumped into the sea some 1,200 years ago but since its discovery in 2000 marine archaeologists have been probing to uncover new parts of the settlements.

In the most recent discovery, Egyptian and European divers uncovered the ruin of a temple along with several boats holding treasures like bronze coins and jewellery.



Monday, September 25, 2023


Mara Lane watches gladiators in action in 79 AD: THE DESTRUCTION OF HERCULANEUM (1962)

The first time I watched this movie and saw this scene I went 'Wow!" It's one of the few times that I reacted vocally when watching a PEPLUM movie. I love the genre and this scene is right up there as one of my favourites. The story is ok. It's nothing remarkable. What's remarkable is the production and cast. In my opinion, it's one of the best looking PEPLUM movie ever made. It's like PEPLUM nirvana. Mara Lane only appeared in a few movies before quitting acting. It's a shame. I liked her. This screen shot if from a pseudo HD copy which is very beautiful. Unfortunately, it has digital artifacts throughout and it's pretty much unwatchable.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian movie poster of HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964)

One of many posters for this movie, excluding its 1970s re-release. I like this one. Maybe it's for sale on eBay.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Image of the week!

Samson (Iloosh Khoshabe) and Hercules (Kirk Morris) fight hard in HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963)


I feel like I'm repeating myself but there's a new HD version of HERCULES UNCHAINED available on the internet. It's from RAI (Italian network). The same thing happened to HERCULES two months ago

Like the HERCULES RAI copy, this new HERCULES UNCHAINED version from RAI is the same print available on the Japanese Blu-ray. For me, there's really nothing new about them since I already have the Japanese BD. The only thing new and cool about these prints is that the English audio was added to them by a dedicated fan. But this HERCULES UNCHAINED in HD is not really good. It's zoomed in and cropped. I'm comparing it to the German 2 DVDs set I have in my collection (above). BTW, this German DVD set has the English audio included. Unfortunately, this version is heavily cut.

Above is a screen shot from the German DVD. This is the correct aspect ratio. Below is the same scene from the RAI TV copy. As you can see it's zoomed in and cropped.


Above is the screen shot from the RAI TV version. Below is from the German DVD. Everything in the red rectangle is the RAI TV / Japanese Blu-ray. Everything outside the red rectangle has been cropped out, which is a lot. I don't like this HD version. It's not the original framing. If RAI can't show a correct version of this classic, I'm afraid the movie will never get released properly in HD.



The SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR, or SIGN OF ROME, German DVD above has an English version. It's the only one available in English anywhere. It's not from the original US theatrical release with the English opening credits but the audio of this copy is in English (with Italian opening credits). It's at around 82 minutes which means over 10 minute was cut from the original version. Even so, it's better than nothing. This same copy was shown in the UK years ago on a channel called MOVIES 4 MEN minus the opening credits in Italian. I also have this version. Years ago I tried to do a Fan Dub using this English audio but there were too many cuts and I gave up halfway into it. You can buy the German DVD here.

Anita Ekberg as Queen Zenobia. This scene is cut from the English version on the German DVD. Instead, a voice over explains everything.

Thursday, September 21, 2023


Caesar (Cameron Mitchell) dictates a letter to his scribes in CAESAR THE CONQUEROR (1962)

Probably Mitchell's most nuanced performance in a PEPLUM movie. Was he miscast as Julius Caesar? Maybe a bit but he's so relaxed in his role that his appearance is not an issue. Mitchell made a lot of PEPLUM movies. Few regard this when one thinks of his (uneven) career as an actor. I like this film. The only complaint I have is, like so many other PEPLUM movies, including one starring Mitchell, the actor's involvement in the story is almost negligible by the end of the movie. It's the same thing with Mitchell's other production, MASSACRE IN A BLACK FOREST (1967). Mitchell completely disappears by the end and a stand-in takes his place. It's one of those odd things in Italian moviemaking. 


Behind the scenes photo of the making of ROMAN SCANDALS (1933)

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

HD Alert!

Andromeda (Anna Ranalli) and Perseus (Richard Harrison) have an emotional discussion in PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (1963)

I revisited this HD print in my collection, originally taken from a streaming service in Spain, and I forgot how stunning many parts of it are. The crisp cinematography makes it look like it was shot yesterday. This is the Spanish version of the film, EL VALLE DE LOS HOMBRES DE PIEDRA. It differs from the Italian version in many ways, including additional effects, music and scenes not seen in the Italian version. Anyway, the details in some scenes, like the one below with the monster coming out of the lake, is stunning. This is definitely Richard Harrison's best PEPLUM.

Hey, Kino Lorber, get this print now. And include both the Italian and Spanish versions with English audio as well. 


Then & Now: Charles Band

 Charles in THE AVENGER (1962) with Steve Reeves; a current photo

Monday, September 18, 2023


Liana Orfei dances up a storm in PIRATES OF THE COAST (1960), also starring Lex Barker

I watched this movie again this weekend. I like it. The one thing that annoys me is why was Liana a supporting character? The female lead actress is fine but Liana was so much better. This is not the only movie in which she was relegated to supporting role instead of a leading one. She eventually because a lead actress, certainly with HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963) but she was often overlooked imo. Of course, she dances in almost all of her movies and this one is no exception. As for Lex, well, he made so many PEPLUM pirates / Swashbucklers movies in that short time period that something it's difficult to tell his roles apart. Directed by Domenico Paolella, who's one of the best directors of the genre.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961) 

Excellent poster. Captures the essence of the Muscle Men PEPLUM movies. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Image of the week!

Theodora (Gianna Maria Canale) joins a chariot race to the surprise of everyone in THEODORA - SLAVE EMPRESS (1954)

Lobby Cards Set: THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

German lobby cards set of THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) starring Roland Carey, Ziva Rodann and others. Great set. It's a missing a few highlights like the Cyclops but overall, the set captures the feel of the movie. 

Thursday, September 14, 2023


Mars (Roger Browne) visits Vulcan (Iloosh Khoshabe) at work in VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER (1962)

The portrayal of Mars in this movie is not very flattering. One would think of Mars of being quite the warrior and having some nobility but in this movie, he's shown as a feckless playboy. It's a fun portrayal as most of the gods in this movie are shown in the same bad light. The two men would fight soon after as Mars keeps insulting Vulcan. Oddly enough, Roger would redeem the character as he played the same character in MARS - GOD OF WAR (1962). Browne is the only actor who played Mars twice in cinematic history. Another interesting tidbit about this: VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER was released on March 17 and MARS - GOD OF WAR was released on March 24 in Italy. Roger is still alive.


Steve Reeves riding the winged horse on the blue-screen set of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Clip of the week: SAMSON AND THE SEA BEAST (1963)

Samson (Kirk Morris) is put to the test in this incredible Feat of Strength. With Daniele Vargas.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023


The Three Stooges (Joe DeRita, Moe Howard, Larry Fine) and Schuyler 'Hercules' Davis (Quinn K. Redeker) are unaware of the Siamese Cyclops (Marlin and Mike McKeever) in THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962)

The effects here is makeup for the Siamese Cyclops and the impression of height was created with rear projection (including the bottom screenshot). Fun stuff.



Curly Joe (Joe DeRita) is about to trigger a sneezing fit on the Siamese Cyclops (Marlin and Mike McKeever). Special effects via rear projection.

Vintage Article

Yet another old article on the career of Steve Reeves, as a bodybuilder and his movies, including ATHENA (1954; bottom left), HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959).


Monday, September 11, 2023


Eddie Cantor in ROMAN SCANDALS (1933) 

This notorious pre-code musical comedy is available to be viewed in HD on Amazon Prime in the US but for now it hasn't been released on Blu-ray. It had a DVD release from Warner Archive. Maybe a BD from another distributor? I like parts of it. It's one of those comedies which starts in modern times and the character played by Cantor ends in in Ancient Rome via dreaming. The production is excellent (sets, costumes, music, cast, etc) but the story, imo, is lacking. One of the few PEPLUM movies of the 1930s. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

British poster of THE AVENGER (1962)

I like WAR OF THE TROJANS as a title. I prefer it to the bland THE AVENGER. Nice poster. Steve Reeves and Liana Orfei on the poster.

Sunday, September 3, 2023


I love doing this blog but it takes a lot of my time. I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again.

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!"


The BY THE GODS! magazine should be finalized after the break (during which I'll be working!). More on it soon!

Friday, September 1, 2023

Image of the week!

Sandokan (Steve Reeves) and Mary Ann (Geneviève Grad) try to survive the perils of the jungle in SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963)

VHS Covers

VHS covers of SAMSON (1961) starring Brad Harris, Alan Steel and others. A good selection. The Spanish one is funny. I tried to find the SOMETHING WEIRD one but couldn't find it. 


Cover for the US market. Fairly standard cover of Brad Harris in action.


Spanish cover with Gordon Scott. Another Cinematic Confusion. 


German VHS cover. The German release of SAMSON was retitled HERCULES and FURY OF HERCULES starring Brad Harris was retitled SAMSON. Go figure.

The artwork on the French VHS cover is the artwork for the French poster when the movie was released. In France, the title SAMSON became SAMSON AGAINST HERCULES.