This is not a review of the Blu-ray or of the movie. I just wanted to share some screngrabs of the French Blu-ray release of MESSALINA (1960). The BR was available from back in 2018 and had I known this I would have bought because it’s really beautiful. If you’re capable of playing Blu-rays, from a stand alone player or from your computer, this edition is really worth it, certainly since it includes the English track. Here are some scenes from the movie.
Belinda Lee as Messalina
Spiros Focas and Belinda
Belinda looks amazing!
Is the movie historically accurate? Does it matter? Enjoy it for what it is, one heck of a PEPLUM directed by Vittorio Cottafavi.
In less than a week, the world of PEPLUM cinema lost two great actors. Haya Harareet and Christopher Plummer.
Haya’s star making role was in BEN-HUR (1959) playing Esther. She was truly memorable in it. She also starred in JOURNEY BENEATH THE DESERT (1961), playing Antinea, Queen of Atlantis. She was 89 years old.
Now this Friday, it was announced that Christopher Plummer, who’s most famous PEPLUM role was Commodus in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964), died at the age of 91.
Christoper was the best thing about the humongous movie. The Shakespearean trained actor also played Oedipus in OEDIPUS THE KING (1968).
The date for the release for ROMULUS UND REMUS (1961) German Blu-ray has been set. It changes considerably since the announcement late last year. At one point it was set to be release on Dec 31, 2021, which was insane. Now the official date of release is March 11.
Unfortunately, since I’m in Canada, I still cannot purchase the BR from Amazon.de. This is truly bizarre. I never had any difficulty buy stuff from the German portal of Amazon. Someone who lives in Europe will purchase it for me. I will report on it asap.
While some PEPLUM titles are finally being released in HD or on Blu-ray, other movies are still hard to find or just impossible to find. One of these ‘lost’ PEPLUM moves is JACOB AND ESAU (1963) starring Ken Clark and Wandisa Guida, just to name a few actors. This alone makes it a must see for PEPLUM fans like me. So what happened to the movie?
The only thing we have to go by are the movie posters and fotobustas (below).
As expected for such a rare movie, IMDb has no reviews listed. The book HEROES NEVER DIE has a review of the movie but quite frankly it’s dubious. The author claimed to someone I know that he saw the movie on Youtube. This seems unlikely since someone else would have seen it. So, I’m asking people out there: have you seen JACOB AND ESAU?
I usually post about Blu-rays of Non-Hollywood movies. Aside from certain titles, nearly all PEPLUM movies made in Hollywood have been released on Blu-ray or HD. I’m talking about the big Hollywood productions. In fact, they’re now releasing some of these titles in 4K.
Two new titles have been released and they’re sorta flew under the radar. THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953) and SWORD OF THE VALIANT (1984). The latter is not really a Hollywood movie since it was made by Cannon Group but it’s now own by MGM. Cannon Group were always outside of Hollywood though some of there titles were sometimes released through a Hollywood studio.
These Blu-ray releases are excellent.
I always thought SWORD OF THE VALIANT looked cheap back in the good old days of VHS but with this BR release, the movie looks quite good. Much better than it ever did. It still sorta looks on the cheap side but the pristine widescreen image gives the movie a cool classy look. It’s a shame about that wig Miles O’keeffe had to wear throughout the movie.
THE GOLDEN BLADE is one of those small Arabian adventure movies, only 81 minutes long, which are often overlooked by fans of the genre or in general. This one is one of the best of the bunch. Fun, colourful, well acted certainly by Piper Laurie. The Blu-ray is beautiful. It’s not a widescreen production and the movie was clearly made in a Hollywood studio lot but I have to say that the BR really makes this movie shine. Some of the lighting, usually seen as flat in previous releases, now looks quite beautiful and elaborate (here’s a comparison of the movie). A fun little movie with Rock Hudson as the action hero. I’ll have full reviews of these titles at PEPLUMTV.com in the near future.
The PEPLUM TV channel has had several videos pulled by Youtube not because the movie or clips are copyrighted but because the score of a certain movie is. The score for SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) by Carlo Rustichelli is currently being used to invalidate uploads, even uploads that have been there for years. As it’s often the case with PEPLUM movies, the score for this movie starring Jack Palance was re-used countless of times in other movies. By claiming the score is protected, the PEPLUM TV channel has lost about a dozen uploads, just from that one score. The claimant, a giant multination music corporation, is going after other scores in order to remove uploads which have on Youtube without issues for years. It’s a terrible tactic but for now it’s working. I don’t mind if a music score is claimed and revenues go its artist but to block or ban an upload just because of that is ineffective. These films are popular and keeping them in obscurity does more of a disservice to these movies than anything else.
There’s so much to say about 2020…but I’ll spare you all of the bad stuff.
This blog was created in preparation for a new project, mainly a magazine, or zine, named BY THE GODS!. But the pandemic happened and everything was put on hold until further notice. Hopefully 2021 will be better than 2020 in regards to everything, including this much delayed project.
There were other disappointments, including the long announced but still missing Blu-ray of SAMSON AGAINT THE VAMPIRES. There’s no need for me to go over it again now since I wrote a couple of articles on this m.i.a. BR.
The best news for the PEPLUM genre were HD TV broadcast/streaming service of PEPLUM movies from mainly Italy, and some from France. A dozen or so titles have suddenly popped up and most of them are beautiful, certainly CONQUEROR OF CORINTH (1961; aka The Centurion) with Gianna in HD.
But recent announcements of new Blu-ray releases have sorta been disappointing as well, with the delayed release of the German BR of DUEL OF THE TITANS and the inclusion of MST3K in the upcoming US Blu-ray of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN. I mean, why?
Also, Warner Archives have announced new titles for January, and not one single PEPLUM movie listed, or even action movie.