Thursday, February 29, 2024

Musings!


Amazons (including Moira Orfei) find an injured and weak Hercules (Mickey Hargitay) after he fought with the Hydra in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)

This is a good scene in a somewhat goofy movie. I like this movie and watched many times but it's a real cartoony Hercules but this scene has some dramatic weight. The Amazons are always fun to watch in a PEPLUM movie. Even though I doubt Amazons would be dressed as glamorous as them. Moira was a statuesque presence and the actress made many PEPLUM movies and, in my opinion, is one of the big 'Queens' of the genre. This was her first PEPLUM film. She's like the female Mimmo Palmara. She reportedly told the camera and lightning crew to film her better than Jayne Mansfield, who's the female lead. I posted about this battle almost 10 years ago.

Behind-the-Scenes


 Rossana Podesta and Kirk Douglas relaxing on the set of ULYSSES (1954)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

HD Alert!


Malcolm McDowell as Caligula in CALIGULA (1979)

At last years Cannes Film Festival, a new cut of CALIGULA, called THE ULTIMATE CUT, was shown. I got a copy of this cut in HD. It was released on Blu-ray in Spain in January 2024. This cut is apparently totally different. 

“Another feat is that not a single shot from the original film was used, which makes “Caligula – The Ultimate Cut” a completely new feature film.”

So they had 96 hours of footage and re-edited a brand new film out of that. 

Tinto Brass, the director, is apparently getting ready to sue Penthouse Films over this new cut

Seriously, I don't know how many cuts this film has. I can't keep track.

 

BY THE GODS! magazine and more...

Some might wonder where's BY THE GODS! magazine issue number 2. It's completed. But there has been changes made to it.

The magazine will be published quartely from now on. So this new issue will be for January/February/March. Issue number 3 should be available at the end of April.

This issue has 52 pages (covers included) which is more than issue #1. Since there'll be less issues per year and it has more pages, the price will go up one dollar. But MagCloud has a lot of specials so it's nothing really.

I thought that people wouldn't want to pay for the magazine 6 times a year at that price. So, a comprise is made. Less issues but more pages. In addition, I have new upcoming projects, including a couple about PEPLUM stuff, and they would compete with BTG! It would be too much.




I have to get a printed copy of it and once I made corrections after reading the printed copy, the magazine will become available for purchase. It's a process. I don't want to publish something with a lot of mistakes.

This issue has been fun to make. I enjoyed the whole process.



For those who didn't buy the first issue, you can buy it here.


-------------

The other issue going on right now is with GOOGLE. Unless you live under a rock, the whole disastrous GEMINI AI situation has exploded and has revealed a totally ideologically captured mega-company. Google's AI supresses everything it believes to be incorrect. This includes blogs like mine, which is not only hosted with Google but the search results of m blog have been all over the place. Technically speaking, my blog is/was shadow banned and GEMINI is most likely the reason behind this since Google uses their AI for their entire infrastructure. 

This thing has created a host of problems which I'm still trying to figure out what to do about it. It might affect the future of the blog. Anyway, we'll see about it but this GEMINI AI thing is unreal.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Musings!


Bathing beauties in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) 

It's not a PEPLUM movie without a Bathing Beauty scene and this one is a Bathing Beauty scene on steroids. It's not just one lovely lady but a bunch of them. This is the scene right before baby Moses is found drifting on the Nile. I like this movie and have watched it many times but the one thing I dislike about it is the studio-bound sets. This looks like inside a studio. There's just no ways about it. Looking at it, it's difficult to figure out what time of the day it's taking place. Imagine if it had been shot outside. Oh well...

PEPLUM Movie Posters


French poster of ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956)

Super colourful poster. I like it. Rosanna looks a bit like she belongs in a Tim Burton movie though. In GammaScope. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Image of the week!


Pharaoh Nemorat (Corrado Pani) has designs on Shila (Debra Paget) in CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960).

VHS Covers

VHS covers of ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956) starring Rik Battaglia, Rosanna Schiaffino and others. Directed by Pietro Francisci. I finally found the Something Weird cover of it. Not many covers but enough to showcase. Great film!

 

The standard Something Weird cover of ROLAND THE MIGHTY. The images are from the movie.



French VHS cover with artwork from the Italian poster for the Tony Curtis - Janet Leigh movie, THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (1954). Cinematic Confusion!



German VHS cover. ROLAND DER EROBERER...which translates as ROLAND THE CONQUEROR.



Ok this German cover is for the Betamax? But it also says VHS. Anyway, close enough. Also ROLAND DER EROBERER.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Musings!


Galla Placidia (Colette Régis) confronts Honoria (Sophia Loren) in ATTILA (1954) 

ATTILA was directed by Pietro Francisci, 4 years before he directed HERCULES (1958). I like all of Francisci's films, including this one. The only big issue I have is that the movie is too short. It needed to be more epic in scale. I like it as it is. I mean, it's very entertaining, like all Francisi's film. Excellent production, cast, the costumes and colours. It's all beautiful. But for a film on Attila, it sorta comes up short. It feels like something is missing. 

Sophia was gorgeous in this and held her own vs the leading men, Henri Vidal and Anthony Quinn. She looks the part. But Loren publicly stated she hated the experience of making it. Certainly during a scene with Quinn and some greasy pork sandwich. 😂

The movie's availability is also another of the film's frustration. I bought the Sophia Loren DVD pack in which the movie was included and it's in Italian with English subs. Finding a good copy of it in English is non-existent. Sophia's voice wasn't used for the English dub. I have multiple copies of this movie, and only one old fuzzy copy with the English audio. Oh well...

Behind-the-Scenes


Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on a break on the set of CLEOPATRA (1963). Next week, I'll have a mini-review of it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

SPFX DEPT.


The Moon Men from HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

I love this movie so of course I like the Moon Men practice effects (or is it costume? lol) Anyway, my only complaint about them is their lack of movement. But overall I think they work great. They make Alan Steel look puny (below).



 

Anna Maria Paloni and the Moon Men

THE WHITE WARRIOR: which is the correct one?

This comparison is not the usual I make here at the blog. It's to show how different the versions I have and which one is the correct one. I recently got an HD print of THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) and I was surprised how different it looked with some other copies I have. Since then I figured out that the app VLC makes movies look much darker, which was one of my complaints. I won't discuss about that now. I'll just make a side by side comparison. I didn't take the following screenshots with VLC. I didn't retouch any of the images.

Just to note, the cinematographer is Mario Bava, who, as we all know, loved playing with colours. He might toned down his style for this film directed by Riccardo Freda but it's odd how different some of the colours are.



HD


The recent HD version. It's dark and brownish.


DVD 

 

The French DVD. Basically the same as the HD version since both were released by the same company, SNC.


DVD - VCI USA

 

The VCI DVD, which I had for a long time. Totally different than the HD - DVD versions above. Cool colours with an emphasis on blueish tones.


Italian TV broadcast



This copy from an Italian TV broadcast is not as dark and brownish as the HD - DVD prints and it also has some blueish tints in it.


French VHS

 

This VHS print is nowhere near as dark as the HD - DVD versions and even though it does have a blueish tint it's not as pronounced as the VCI version.

So, which is the correct version? The VCI is wildly different than the recent versions that I wonder what's going on? The VCI version is more colourful, a la Bava, but the colours on these new versions are darker and muted.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Musings!


Dina De Santis and Alan Steel in HERCULES AGAINST ROME (1964) 

This is fun action-packed PEPLUM with Alan is top form. I have few quibbles about it. My only major complaint is the so-called Love Interest. I'm actually fine if the Hero of a story remains single but in this movie, Hercules spends a lot of time with beautiful ladies, including Dina or more importantly, Wandisa Guida, and by the end of the movie, Wandisa hooks up with Mimmo Palmara not Herc. It's very odd. It always baffled me. This is not the only PEPLUM movie that does this. The movie needs some sort of Romantic angle but it's not coming from the our Hero, which again is fine. But in this one it's sorta odd.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Croatian poster of SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

Different. Looks very 'handmade'

Friday, February 16, 2024

Image of the week!


 The fate of Paris (Jacques Sernas) in HELEN OF TROY (1956)

At the movies...


 BEN-HUR (1959) at the Roxy Theatre in Atlanta. Rare colour photo.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Musings!


Rossano Brazzi, as Archimedes, and Tina Louise in the epic SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960) 

Directed by Pietro Francisci. This is one of his most epic film as the story takes place during decades and has a major battle at the end. I like this movie with just a few quibbles. I like Rossano but his brown hair and his sometimes ill fitted costumes do him no favours. It's unnecessarily distracting. Some people dislike him, thinking he's just a 'melodrama' actor but look at his earlier films and I understand why he became a big star. Also, and this is just a side note, Archimedes was an old man when the legendary siege occurred. 

As for Tina, this is one of two PEPLUM movies she made in Italy, which SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS being the other film. (see post below). Unlike SAPPHO, the US dub (which is still missing) doesn't use her voice, which is a shame. The altar next to Rossano shows it was recently used in some sacrificial offering (it's not part of the movie). Great film.  

Tina's PEPLUM films are a constant source of frustration. SAPPHO is in English but a beautiful widescreen version of it, in any language, has never surfaced. And SIEGE has been released in beautiful widescreen prints but the English audio is missing. 

This was a little Tina Louise fest today. 

Behind-the-Scenes


Tina Louise with two extras dressed as Melanchrus' soldiers on the set of SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS (1960; aka The Warrior Empress). Below: how the set looks like in the final film.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

HD Alert!


Sylva Koscina and Francisco Rabal in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958) 

This great film is available in HD...well, not in full HD but 1280x720 resolution. It's on Youtube. The channel that has it is one which caused a lot of problems with me which is why I'm ambivalent in sharing this. I don't want to give them traffic. They took a lot of my Fan Dubs and uploaded them to their channel or used the English audio and added them to videos. In fact, that's what they did with this movie: they took my Fan Dub with the English audio and uploaded it to Youtube. Not a great channel. You can download this HD version, which is what I did. I bought a DVD recently and it was fine but seeing in 720 HD is really nice. It's in Italian but with English subtitles. 

 

Gianna Maria Canale and Rik Battaglia

Vintage Articles


Three vintages magazine cover/articles of Gina Lollobrigida in SOLOMON AND SHEBA (1959).

Above is the cover of a Swedish magazine. The source of the small article below is unknown and the one at the bottom is from an Australian magazine.


 




Monday, February 12, 2024

Musings!


Rossana Podesta and Guy Madison in SLAVE OF ROME (1961) 

Very good PEPLUM that's overlooked. It's solid from beginning to end. It's one of those movies where it takes place entirely outside. There are a few interior scenes. The movie was directed by Sergio Grieco, so I know it's going to be entertaining. The word SLAVE has become a politically incorrect word to use. It seems that might explain a few reasons why the blog was shadow banned last year for two months. It's still sorta shadow banned but the views have come back to normal (3k per day). But websites with such words are seen as problematic and therefore Google makes them invisible. What strange times we live in.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


US poster of THE IRON CROWN (1941) 

Rare poster. The Italian movie was released in the US, which is cool because this movie is excellent. Note: A rare instance where the English version is better than the original versions (the Italian one has more than one version). Well, at least in regards to the ending, the US cut is vastly superior.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Image of the week!


Briseis (Gloria Milland) is about to find out what Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) is made of in FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

Lobby Cards Set: APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958)


Massive lobby cards set of APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958) starring Anthony Steffen, Isabelle Corey and Irène Tunc. This set is slightly different in that they're big posters with 4 photos each but they're still lobby cards. Nice set but should have had more photos of the actors. No card with Anthony Steffen!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Musings!


Christine Kaufmann in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

So I was watching this great film again (after uploading a Clip of the week a few weeks ago...) and I was wondering about two things:

1 - What happened to movies? Why can't movies look this good today? I'm definitely a big fan of the aesthetics of the 1950s and early 1960s. You don't 'see' films like this anymore. 

2 - Christine was 14 years old when she made this. Below, Steve Reeves and Christine have a kiss. It's nothing 'shocking' until one knows her actual age.  ðŸ˜€ 
 Remarkably enough, she was very mature and composed herself beautifully in the movie, for a such a young girl. So, in the end, there's nothing shocking about it but still...this wouldn't be acceptable today.

What do you think?



Behind-the-Scenes


Marlon Brando on a cigarette break on the set of JULIUS CAESAR (1953)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Clip of the week: SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

Sandokan (Steve Reeves) secretly helps a rebel (Mimmo Palmara). With Leo Anchóriz.

This is not from the HD copy I have. The size of the clip was too large to upload here. If you want to view it (in French), you can check it out at the Facebook account.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

SPFX DEPT.


Scenes from THE RED SHEIK (1962)

I usually showcase excellent special effects in PEPLUM movies. Well, here's a different one. The scene is a fortress getting blown up. You can see the shadow of the explosion on the back wall. Had they placed the wall much further in the back, it might have worked but now it's a letdown. The fortress below is the real one, or a big set. This fortress was used in KERIM - SON OF THE SHEIRK (1962). Both films used it for the enormous battle scene at the end. The films are Twins Productions. The explosion is not in KERIM. In that movie, the front door is blown open without the use of models.


Then & Now: Tony Lo Bianco


 Tony in THE STORY OF JACOB AND JOSEPH (1974); a recent photo of the actor.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Musings!


Mark Forest and Mimmo Palmara in GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON (1963)

I like this movie. I've watched it many times. But there's one major flaw: it uses an insane amount of scenes from other films. Here, they're on a boat and the re-used footage edited for this movie is CARTHAGE IN FLAMES (1960). If you don't know much of PEPLUM movies, this might not be an issue but for me it's hard to watch it and think of anything else but that movie. It was a cost cutting way of making movies but it sorta cheapens it. The movie is still very entertaining but with some major liabilities to it. This movie got a theatrical release in the US from VIP. There are memorable scenes in it, including one which is featured prominently on the movie poster.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Original Italian poster of THE THREE AVENGERS (1964) 

Simple but nice poster. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Image of the week!


Cassiopeia (Siân Phillips) presides over the marriage of her daughter, Andromeda (Judi Bowker) to Perseus (Harry Hamlin), which brings some terrible fate in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)

MUSCLES Inc


VIM magazine cover promoting ATHENA (1954) starring Steve Reeves, Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds. Classic photo!

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Musings!


 Hercules (Steve Reeves) in search of the lion in HERCULES (1958) 

I love this movie. It's one of my favourite movies. I've written a lot about it. One of my pet peeves of this movie is the chariot in which Steve used. It changes sizes. In close-ups, it's seemingly normal size. In this long shot, like this official photo, it makes Steve look tiny, which is something few could describe Steve as. The chariot looks massive. It's something that always made me confuse. And, yes, that's Steve and not a body double or stuntman. In the previous shot, it is a stuntman, who's physique is ordinary. Maybe it was for security reasons.