Friday, July 19, 2024

Image of the week!


Cleopatra (Rhonda Fleming) flanked by Mark Antony (Raymond Burr) and Lucilius (William Lundigan) in SERPENT OF THE NILE (1954)

VHS Covers: TEMPLE OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT (1964)

VHS covers of TEMPLE OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT (1964) starring Sean Flynn and others. Limited selection and with average covers. Nothing too earth shattering. No English cover.

 

German cover with original artwork

 

French VHS cover. Back has correct photos but artwork is from MYSTERY OF THUG ISLAND (1964) starring Giacomo Rossi Stuart.

 

Spanish VHS cover. Very generic.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Musings!


Reg Park as Hercules in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) 

I recently saw an upload with the disastrous US Blu-ray release (below) of the film along with the original Italian version on DVD (above). The US release has an awful orange tint throughout and the image is stretched. I still can't believe people put up with the ugly US copy. Many are happy with it. It's mind boggling when the DVD version is better than the Blu-ray one. 

Behind-the-Scenes


 A photographer on the set of BEN-HUR (1959)

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Clip of the week: THE CENTURION (Conqueror of Corinth; 1961)

Jacques Sernas escapes from prison!



New PEPLUM Art

New feature here at the blog. PEPLUM inspired art. 

With a few prompts, new PEPLUM art by AI. 




THE LION OF CORINTH

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

SPFX DEPT.


Scenes from THE SEVEN REVENGES (1960)

It's telling how good the special effects are when one is not too sure if it's effects or real stuff. This is how I feel about these scenes from THE SEVEN REVENGES. The movie had an above average budget but it wouldn't explain elaborate sets like these. The top one is for sure effects because they didn't built such big exterior sets for scenes which lasted a few seconds. While the shot below, for me it looks more like a practice model via forced perspective than a matte painting. The look is very three dimensional. 




GLADIATOR II trailer!

The official trailer of GLADIATOR II is out. What's your opinion on it? It looks more pulpy than the 2000 film. It's directed by Ridley Scott, which is good but then he also directed the abysmal EXODUS (2014) and that critically panned NAPOLEON (2023) since the original GLADIATOR. Will it re-ignite a new PEPLUM explosion? In one way, I hope so. In another way, hopefully in not as uneven as the one from the early 2000s. The trailer has already caused a lot of controversy, mostly about being historically incorrect and rap music.


Monday, July 15, 2024

Musings!


Jacques Sernas and Jeanne Valérie in the pivotal moment in SALAMMBO (1960)

The movie becomes the movie with this scene and yet this shot is NOT in the movie, which always frustrates me. This happens a lot with PEPLUM movies: photos of the movie often have better shots than what we end up seeing in the final cut. In this scene, the two are never seen together like this, when Mathos (Sernas) discovers Salammbo (Valérie). The scene itself is excellent and one of the best in a PEPLUM movie but it needed one brief shot of the two together. Instead, we see Sernas pouncing on Valérie. I love this movie even if wildly uneven. It has so many great elements and scenes and so many cringe ones as well. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Original Italian poster of SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST THE ROME (1964)

Nice poster. Is that Roger Browne or Giacomo Rossi Stuart?

Friday, July 12, 2024

Image of the week!


 Hercules (Steve Reeves) revives Iole (Sylva Koscina) in HERCULES (1958)

At the movies...


BEN-HUR playing at the Egyptian theatre on Hollywood blvd in 1959.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Musings!


Chelo Alonso dancing up a storm in SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) 

Do you like dance numbers in PEPLUM films? That's one element missing in modern day PEPLUM productions. This dance number is quite long and elaborate. The screenshot was taken from a quasi HD print in desperate need of colour correction. I had to re-adjust the colours and brightness because the image was just to whack. It's from a RAI broadcast/streaming service. 

Behind-the-Scenes


Virna Lisi taking a break on the set of DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Clip of the week: ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES

Hercules (Mike Lane) and Leuconia (Raffaella Carrà) try to save Ulysses (Georges Marchal) from being crushed to death!  Amazing location!



Portraits


New feature: portraits of PEPLUM stars!

Anne Baxter as Nefretiri in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) 

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

HD Alert!


 Gianna Maria Canale in TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962) 

This colourful movie is now available as a German Blu-ray release. I like this movie and I will purchase it if there are any left. The movie is already uploaded in HD on a Youtube channel. I won't link to it since they are not friendly. But even so, buying these will inspire other distributors in releasing more titles. No English audio.


 

Steve Reeves pre-HERCULES


Steve Reeves in Cannes, France at the age of 22. The year is1948. Fascinating to watch. The image/audio quality isn't the best. LE PLUS BEL HOMME DU MONDE at IMDb.

note: the video doesn't exist anymore. The Youtube account that had it was terminated...after I posted it here. I tell you, my account is followed by nefarious people.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Musings!


Brad Harris, as Hercules, and Luisella Boni in FURY OF HERCULES (1962) 

I recently posted a clip from this movie. It's a fun 'feat of strength' clip. The movie is filled with such scenes. I love this movie for these scenes but I have to admit that the story itself is pretty weak. It's all over the place, with very little focus of anything but action, which is fine but a movie sometimes needs more. It's a shame because its Twin Production, SAMSON (1961), is identical with this is one but with a memorable storyline. The German release changed the title to SAMSON and the SAMSON movie mentioned before became a Hercules title. Harris looks like a Greek hero for sure, which helped with the entertaining aspects of this production but the meandering story puts it below SAMSON. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Original Italian poster of SWORD FOR THE EMPIRE (1965)

Simple but catchy design makes it stand out. I love it. 

Sunday, June 30, 2024

PEPLUM Break


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!"

Friday, June 28, 2024

Image of the week!


 Samson (Alan Steel) shows his strength in SAMSON AND THE SLAVE QUEEN (1963)

Lobby Cards Set: THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)


Original Italian lobby cards set of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD starring Steve Reeves. Colourful set for a colourful movie. It's missing a major card with Giorgio Moll but aside from that, it's good. Maybe a bit too many battle scenes. I want it.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Musings!


Mark Antony (Richard Burton) and Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) in a 'fun' moment in CLEOPATRA (1963)

As I stated months ago, my views on this legendary movie has changed. I like it now. Does I still think it has tons of issues? Yes. None of my negativity of it has disappeared. I still think it's problematic but now I simply disregard them and view the movie has an epic achievement. I've watched it here and there and I realized how much I like this and that but disliked other parts as well. It's a HUGE movie. A very serious movie (one of my gripes). In the scene above, the couple are suppose to be enjoying a feast and of course, they don't. You sorta wonder why they're together since they always seem to be miserable. The movie should have shown happy moments. And this is the main problem I have with the movie: it's on cruise control. It's well directed and the script is well written but scenes happen one after another with little emotional impact. They're basically always the same tone. Once I realized this, my dislike of the movie disappeared. It's such a big movie that it couldn't afford to go off the rails, if you know what I mean. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also directed the equally super serious JULIUS CAESAR (see post below), knew what he was doing but, imo, he was too careful and the movie suffers from being too staid. It lacks liveliness. One scene has the same emotional impact as the next. But now with this in mind, I can finally enjoy it for what it is. It's spectacular and super serious, and sometimes mis-directed (the killing of Julius Caesar seen though the eyes of Cleopatra and her High Priestess is still a mistake in my view...it's not the only 'mistake' scene), but it's quite the movie. I personally now prefer the second half over the first. There's something about Rex Harrison I just can't like. Peter Finch was cast initially as Caesar and he would have been pretty good (but maybe a bit too much like Burton). Harrison reminds me of a school principal or Professor Higgins. There are other actors in it who irk me but I have to say that Cesare Danova, as Apollodorus, is quite good. 

My previous rating was around 4. I now give it 7.5 out of 10. 

Behind-the-Scenes


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

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Clip of the week: FURY OF HERCULES (1962)

Hercules (Brad Harris) shows his strength.



Just to note: there's a wardrobe malfunction in this scene. Posted at the WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS page.

BY THE GODS! magazine update...

As you might have heard, my mother ended up in the hospital back at the beginning of May. She's been out of the hospital for almost 2 weeks now and is on her way to recovery. It was quite an ordeal. Because of this, the third issue of BY THE GODS! magazine has been delayed. I'm still working on it but it will be published in a few weeks. I hope you all understand. For those who have bought one of the to issues published, go ahead.

BY THE GODS! at MAGCLOUD!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

SPFX DEPT.


Scenes from SHE (1965)

In this scene, Ayesha (Ursula Andress) shows the modern men, Peter Cushing and John Richardson, the lost Egyptian city inside the crater of a volcano. It's not really a matte painting just a painting. Since no other real element is part of the landscape, we're just looking at a painting. It's a special effects and not at the same time. The painting is credited to Bob Cuff. 


 

 

Then & Now: Lisa Gastoni


 Lisa in THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964); the most recent photo of the actress.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Musings!


Sylvia Syms and Louis Jourdan, and a bunch of ladies, in AMAZONS OF ROME (1961) 

There's so much to write and say about this movie. It'll try to be brief. According to IMDb, thhree directors were involved with the movie: Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, Vittorio Cottafavi, Peter O'Cord. This makes sense. It's credited to Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, and he has directed a bunch of PEPLUM movies, including QUEEN OF BABYLON (1954) and HANNIBAL (1959), just to name a few. Carlo was experienced but the movie has definite Vittorio Cottafavi touches. A mix of serious and slapstick. The production is excellent. The cast, location, etc. All tops. I've watched this movie often when it played on a Canadian network called Drive-In Classics. Sylvia died last year. The English title is a bit deceptive as the Italian one translated into English was THE VIRGINS OF ROME. Nothing to do with Amazons. Everything is fine except for Louis Jourdan as a barbarian. He's one of the most suave actors ever. He simply wasn't believable as a barbarian. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster


French poster of GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)

The great artwork is identical to the original Italian poster (bottom left). They painted over the Italian title and added the French one. There's another version of this identical poster in French with slightly different lettering (below right).
 I posted the one on top because it was the cleanest. The poster claims Gabriele Tinti is in the movie. He's not!

 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Image of the week!


Astra (Gianna Maria Canale) sees an opportunity of getting to Goliath by holding on to Guja (Leonora Ruffo) in GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961)

MUSCLES Inc


 PEPLUM star Reg Lewis on the cover of Young Mr. America. 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Musings!


Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in JULIUS CAESAR (1953)

I rarely hear anyone talk about this movie. Does anyone like it? I like it. It has an amazing powerful cast, including the first film with future PEPLUM star Edmund Purdom. It's well made and captivating and yet I feel it's sorta forgotten. Is it because it was shot in black & white? Too serious? It is overlooked.

Behind-the-Scenes


Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares for the crucifixion scene on the the set of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Clip of the week: DUE SELVAGGI A CORTE (1959)

Alan Steel in an uncredited role is this rare movie. He's not credited as Alan Steel or Sergio Ciani in the movie and at IMDb. The movie had no English release. He has a few more scenes after this one. The title translates as TWO SAVAGES AT COURT.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

HD Alert!


Mara Lane and Brad Harris in 79 AD: THE DESTRUCTION OF HERCULANEUM (1962)

I just got an HD copy of 79 AD with the English audio added to it. The video is from the newly released German Blu-ray and my industrious friend already added the English track to it (since the English audio is not included in the BD). Needless to say, it's beautiful. As someone who has already watched this many times, I have to say the amount of details is quite something to see (click on images for details). The movie already had some decent DVDs so it wasn't like the movie lingered in obscurity but the upgrade is quite obvious. Since I just got this yesterday, I haven't had the time to watch it from beginning to end (and to compare it with other releases...to see if it's uncut) but yeah, it's an excellent release for PEPLUM fans.



Jany Clair and Mila Kacic (left)

I should have a full review of it soon and comparisons with other releases as well.

New X accounts! (updated)

I'm reposting this for two reasons: to remind people of following the accounts. I'm surprised the SEMIRAMIS one is lagging behind. Second reason: the url to all former Twitter accounts were transferred to a new X url. So, everything needed to be updated.



 SEMIRAMIS X account 




Dedicated to Queens of PEPLUM cinema!



MEN OF PULP X account




New AI generated retro images of Men's Magazines of the past. Totally new recreations and also vintage covers. Includes PEPLUM stuff.



PEPLUM TV X account

 



Main X account linked to PEPLUM TV blog.



Maciste X account 

 



Dedicated to Heroes of PEPLUM cinema.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Musings!


Nancy Kovack as Medea in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

My favourite thing from this colourful movie is Nancy Kovack as Medea. The great effects are a close second. Personally, the male cast of this very male-centric story is ok but sorta lack charisma. Nancy, on the other hand, exudes warmth and intrigue in what is a limited role. When she finally appears, the movie sorta changes gear. I wonder if she has interesting stories to tell about the production. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Spanish poster of THE 300 SPARTANS (1962) 

Poster features the cast. I like it. But it's fairly standard poster style of the time. It was also released as THE 300 ESPARTANOS.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Images of the week!


Venus (Jackie Lane) tries to seduce Mars (Roger Browne) in order to get his lightning bolts, given by Zeus, which are on his ankles in MARS - GOD OF WAR (1962)

At the movies...


 The premiere of CLEOPATRA (1963) at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Musings!


Mark Forest is THE LION OF THEBES (1964) 

This is easily one of the best PEPLUM movies ever made. Everything is excellent. The story is a little weak but the very good production compensates for whatever weakness it has. The one big liability is Mark's stuntman, who was Giovanni Cianfriglia (below). Not that Giovanni is bad. He's not. He's an amazing stuntman/body double. The issue is body types. Giovanni is muscular but slim while Mark was thick. The *many* action scenes, all excellent and still thrilling, are jarring with the back and forth between Mark and Giovanni. One can overlook it but it's not easy to do so. This will become even more obvious in HD.



Giovanni Cianfriglia is also THE LION OF THEBES!