Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Clip of the week: SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963)

 Kir (John Ericson) is in a tight spot. Semiramis (Yvonne Furneaux) watches the spectacle!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

HD Alert!

Sandokan (Steve Reeves) brings breakfast to Lt. Clintock (Nando Gazzolo) in SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

The HD version of this movie exists. Again, it's from a streaming service in Europe. The image quality is much better than the previous DVDs or releases but the image does have some artifact issues and the image is a bit reddish. Regardless though, it's a vast improvement over previous versions. So, will KINO LORBER pick it up? Steve Reeves in HD!

Steve Reeves with Mimmo Palmara. The image is excellent even if there's some compression issues (see the sky and mountains in the background).

The Return to Academy Aspect Ratio!

The first film shot in widescreen, or CinemaScope, was a PEPLUM movie. THE ROBE (1953; above).

Ever since that time, the old Academy 4:3 aspect ratio had gradually disappeared with the advent of widescreen TVs and movies released on DVD and Blu-ray. Now it's trendy to go back to the old 4:3 aspect ratio.

Personally, I always liked 4:3 aspect ratio (or 1.33) but for big epics, the widescreen format is the best. I'm glad to see this trend.


"But something has changed in the last couple of years… We’re seeing a resurgence of the classic 4:3 format, with more filmmakers embracing it on feature length narratives. This is something we haven’t seen on a large scale for ages."

Why The Old-School 4:3 Aspect Ratio Is Coming Back With A Vengeance Right Now 

I won't link the article because it has little to do with PEPLUM movies but what do you think of this trend?

Monday, January 29, 2024


Ed Fury as Ursus who's about to get trapped in URSUS IN THE LAND OF FIRE (1963) 

This scene is frustrating. In many prints, this scene is cut. It goes from Ursus talking to the evil ruler straight to Ursus chained to a millstone. In the uncut version, Ursus is ambushed by men on horseback with a net that traps him while talking to the evil ruler. The cut version doesn't even make any sense. I'm thinking: who's the genius who cut this movie down? The German and French versions are uncut but the quality is less than desirable (this screenshot shows the image quality). I also have an Italian version (not in widescreen) but the audio is out of sync. The URSUS movies with Ed Fury are very entertaining but someone got butchered by censors. This movie is more like the Sword & Sorcery films of the 1980s. It's non-stop violence but not as bloody as those of the 80s.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of VENGEANCE OF URSUS (1961)

Good art for good PEPLUM movie.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Image of the week!

Sabina Crassus (Gianna Maria Canale) has issues with her new handmaiden, Amitys (Ludmilla Tchérina) in front of Marcus Virilius Rufus (Vittorio Sanipoli) in SPARTACUS - SINS OF ROME (1953)

VHS Covers

VHS covers of KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1964) starring Mark Forest, Mimmo Palmara and Rosalba Neri. I couldn't find the Something Weird and sinister Cinema VHS covers.


US cover. There are more US covers, from SINISTER CINEMA and SOMETHING WEIRD but I couldn't find them.


Above and below: German covers. The artwork is from SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE and a Kirk Morris movie. Hard to say. The photos on the back cover are from the movie.


Spanish cover. Totally different artwork. 


Swedish VHS cover. Photos on the back are from the movie.


VHS cover from Norway. Identical to the Swedish one but different layout.


Mark Forest and Rosalba Neri

Thursday, January 25, 2024


Maciste (Kirk Morris) tries to save Antea (Cathia Caro) in TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

I'm currently watching this movie while working on the blog. I like this movie. I've seen it a million times...okay not a million but a lot. It has all the right elements for a fun PEPLUM. This sacrificial scene is also good with Kirk in top form (below). I can't wait for a HD copy of this colourful film. Morris is my favourite Maciste. This was released on October 2, 1961 and MACISTE VS HERCULES IN THE VALE OF WOE, with Kirk, was released two week later in October 1961. It must have been fun to watch these movies back then. According to IMDb, this was Cathia's last movie role.


Steve Reeves and Gianna Maria Canale have a chat on the set of HERCULES (1958). Gianna is in costume as Antea - Queen of the Amazons.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


Scenes from PRINCESS OF THE NILE (1954)

Beautiful and subtle matte painting in this small but fun movie. No one is credited for these works. 

History's biggest names in modern clothes

An artist recreated major people of history with AI and used their statues or busts as reference and set them in modern clothing. This is just for fun. They all look quite normal.

Alexander the Great


Julius Caesar



Monday, January 22, 2024


Galla Placidia (Daniela Rocca) and her maiden Sabina (José Greci) in REVENGE OF THE BARBARIANS (1960)

One of my favourite PEPLUM movies. The genre has many different type of movies and this one is a real find. It's so sardonic and funny but it's not a comedy. The relationship between Sabina and Galla Placidia is one of the best in the PEPLUM genre. It's a mix of sadistic, humorous and genuine care for each other. It's really unique. Is there something more between them? I don't think so but their onscreen time are fun to watch. Unfortunately, their relationship has no closure (which I believe is the point...). The film itself has some obvious short comings, like a interior set of an exterior setting of tents and tress that really look like a film studio but even with its budget shortcomings, I like this movie a lot. Great script and dialogue. My second favourite movie with the coolest character names, after SAPPHO - VENUS OF LESBOS.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Ghanian movie poster of GLADIATOR (2000) 

Yes, this is legit. Search Ghana Movie Poster Gladiator. I have to say that it's original.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Image of the week!

Remus (Gordon Scott) attempts too seduce Julia (Virna Lisi) in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

At the movies...

THE ROBE (1953) playing at the Roxy Cinema in New York city. First film in CinemaScope. "See it without the use of glasses"

Thursday, January 18, 2024


Lith (Pamela Prati) hits Isa (Elvire Audray) in IRONMASTER (1983) 

Last Thursday, I wrote about how PEPLUM films always have two main actresses and there's always an the awkward moment when the two meet. IRONMASTER is no different. This is the awkward moment. I like this movie. It's one of my favourite from the 1980s. Umberto Lenzi is the director and it's well made as Lenzi was a veteran by then. Even after 20+ years, the formula of PEPLUM movies never changed. This includes the duel between Sam Pasco and Giovanni Cianfriglia (below). Good scene. Giovanni was Steve Reeves' stuntman/body double and he was still in good form in the early 1980s.



Elizabeth Taylor, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and Richard Burton enjoyed a chat on the set of CELOPATRA (1963)

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

HD Alert!

Jean Marais as PONTIUS PILATE (1962)

A HD version that was shown on TV and streaming in Europe. The movie's excellent production shines through in this crystal clear print. I already stated that I'm not a big fan of the script but the production values, cast, score, etc, are top notch. A must see in HD. Also stars Jeanne Crain (below). Not available in HD anywhere or on Blu-ray. Not even Prime in the US.


BY THE GODS! magazine and new projects!

A couple of announcements to make.

Above is the final cover of issue 2 of BY THE GODS! magazine, which I already posted about at the BY THE GODS! blog. I'm still working on it, making adjustments and changes. It should be ready soon. 

Below is a movie poster designed and created by me with AI. I'm currently working on a couple of projects, including one involving poster art inspired by PEPLUM movies. Even though there are tons of movies in the PEPLUM genre, I wish there were even more. And these recreations of movie posters and images, book covers, etc, make it possible. 

My other project is not PEPLUM related but it's from the same period. Recreations of pulp men's magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. I'm still thinking of a monthly magazine for this (yes, monthly) and or a coffee table book filled with colourful art. I'm still debating. My only problem: I want to use Amazon's self-publishing service but I'm still confused by it. MagCloud, which I use for BY THE GODS!, is so much simpler. If anyone can give me some tips on self-publishing in the US and Canada (and for the world), please leave a comment.

In an attempt to avoid any issues with copyrights, I won't be using real names on the poster art. So Steve Reeves becomes Steve Mitchell. And Sylva Koscina is Sylva Lopez. You get the idea. I really like the artwork above (it's a collage I created) and I try to recreate the poster style of PEPLUM movies.

This is not new to me. I already did faux magazine covers of famous magazines with stars of PEPLUM movies. I can't sell these but I had fun making them. The movie poster recreations are 100% original.

Edmund Purdom from THE EGYPTIAN

Claudette Colbert from CLEOPATRA

Charlton Heston from EL CID

Monday, January 15, 2024


Abbe Lane and Gordon Mitchell are a tempestuous couple in CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962)

Directed by Sergio Grieco, this brawny movie has one of the best performances by Gordon Mitchell. IMO, it even surpasses the one in FURY OF ACHILLES (1962). I mean, Mitchell is usually always angry or ultra macho but this role, director Grieco let him loose. A lot of people don't like this movie but I do. It's very entertaining. Abbe Lane makes a good actress for PEPLUM roles. She only starred in a handful of them. And yes, Julius Caesar was taken hostage by pirates. Of course, this movie is just a pulpy dramatization of that slice of history. I have multiple copies of this, including a TV broadcast from the UK. This screenshot was taken from a recent copy from a TV broadcast in Italy. Not quite HD. Also known as JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

German poster of CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960)

The German title translates as THE PHARAOH'S CURSE. Nice poster. Different than all the other ones. Starring Debra Paget.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Image of the week!

Tamar (Scilla Gabel) meets her fate with a blind Arno (Mimmo Palmara) in SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962)

Lobby Cards Set: THE EROTIC LIFE OF URSUS (1973)

Original French lobby cards of THE EROTIC LIFE OF URSUS (1973) starring Reg Park, Ettore Manni and others.

This is a great find, well, to me it is. There's a lot of background stuff to write so here goes. HERCULES  - PRISONER OF EVIL, aka URSUS AND THE TERROR OF THE KHIRGIZ, was released in 1964. It starred Reg Park. It's a legitimate PEPLUM movie. That movie was re-released in 1973 as THE EROTIC LIFE OF URSUS with added 'adult' scenes edited in. That movie is not available on disc or streaming. It's obscure. 10 years ago, I found the official poster of the 1973 movie and posted about it here. I recently found the official lobby cards of the adult URSUS. The set has 21 cards so this is just 8 from that set. The 6 first photos are from the 1964 release (well, except for card number 2 which is a scene from  THE SEVEN REVENGES (1961) which was reused in the 1964 film). Anyway, the two photos at the bottom are from the 1973 version. The added x-rated scenes. Again, that version is not available which means these lobby cards with the 'new' scenes are the only source of pictures from it. Also, what's interesting is that there seems to be some scenes that were not in the final cut of the 1964 and used for the 1973 re-release as one lobby card shows scene not in HERCULES - PRISONER OF EVIL but looks too elaborate for the 1973 one. The only way to know for sure is to view this adult version.

Thursday, January 11, 2024


Hélène Chanel and Rosalba Neri meet in DESERT RAIDERS (1964) 

PEPLUM movies always have two main actresses. In HERCULES (1958), it was Sylva Koscina and Gianna Maria Canale. In GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961), it was Leonora Ruffo and Gianna Maria Canale. DESERT RAIDERS is no different. And this is the awkward moment when the two actresses are on screen together. I like this movie but compared to other Kirk Morris actioner (he's the male lead), this one is more serious and sorta downbeat. It still has all the trappings of a PEPLUM movie, but the tone is different. The production is almost identical to MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964) which Kirk Morris and 
Hélène Chanel also star. It's a Twin Production.


The set of THE ROBE (1953) with Victor Mature and Richard Burton.

Below: how it looked like in the final film. Looks pretty good! First film in CinemaScope, or widescreen.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Tuesday, January 9, 2024


Scenes from SIGN OF THE PAGAN (1954)

Two scenes with matte paintings. The artist is not credited. Very nice, certainly the one below. Quite spectacular. The film has several of these cool shots but the studio bound movie needed more scenes like this.

Vintage Article

Yet another article on Steve Reeves in MUSCLES & FITNESS May 1983. It has photos of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959; above and below) and Steve in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961).

Monday, January 8, 2024


Richard Harrison in THE SARACENS (1963) 

A mini-Richard Harrison fest today. This movie is another fun action adventure with Richard. This film is often overlooked and albeit it's not the biggest budgeted film ever made but it's quite memorable in parts. The best thing about it, aside from Harrison, is the score. Once you hear it, you'll never forget it. The sword fight at the end is one of the best in the PEPLUM genre. I have several copies of this, including on Fan Dub in English, but no HD version. I wonder how Richard is doing these days.