SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984) TV movie…

With the recent passing of Max Von Sydow, and a quick overview of his PEPLUM titles, one stood out from the pack: his appearance in the TV movie version of SAMSON & DELILAH. It’s an oddly cast movie with Anthony Hamilton as Samson and Belinda Bauer as Delilah. It’s forgotten, certainly compared to other versions. What’s interesting about the TV movie is how they tried or try to sell in on home video.

Not very inspiring packaging. Only the first one has some nice artwork. Does anyone like this version?

Steve Reeves as Li’l Abner

One of the most interesting aspect of Steve Reeves’ career is not necessarily the roles he got but the long string of roles he was set to play but missed out. One of them was Li’l Abner.

The movie role went to Peter Palmer. The movie musical itself is not that great (in fact, it’s pretty odd…), and it’s sorta forgotten today. So, Steve didn’t really missed out. Needless to say, he would have been perfect in the role.


Peter Palmer played Li’L Abner, a role he played on Broadway.

This is just one of many roles Steve could have gotten but didn’t, including playing Samson in Cecil B. DeMille’s SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949).

GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES pressbook

The humongous GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961) pressbook for the US release is something else. Who wrote these? Anyway, I have it and I get a chuckle in reading the text describing the movie.

‘FEMME STAR’? The text spells Jacques Sernas’ name as Cernas. It describes her as an Amazonian military leader…?!? She’s a Sultan’s aid. It’s nice that they used her actual name and not Maria Canale or something. They’re right in saying she’s best in ‘sexy, villainess roles’.

Again, who wrote this stuff? They definitely didn’t see the movie.

DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS Laserdisc…

Does anyone have the laserdisc of DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS (1954)? I’ve never own a laserdisc and I’m not thinking of buying one. But I’d be curious to know the image quality. I’m sure it’s nowhere as close as anything on Blu-ray but I’m thinking: did Twilight Time’s limited edition of the movie on Blu-ray was taken from this?

I still can’t believe how bad the image of the Blu-ray release, presumably taken from the Twilight Time edition. Below is the comparison between the DVD and the BR. The BR image is even cropped. To me this doesn’t make any sense. Was the BR copy simply an unconverted version of the ┬álaserdisc? I’m wondering since some have stated the BR is an unconverted version of the DVD but the image of the DVD has more information on the sides.

Few upcoming titles on the Blu-ray front

The only major non-italian PEPLUM Blu-ray release is the double disk of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, the 1923 and 1956 versions. It’s a good idea but nothing earth-shattering.

Aside from titles that are scheduled to be released but have yet to see the light of day, such as the Blu-ray of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961), titled ┬áSAMSON & THE VAMPIRES for the release, there’s no major European titles in the foreseeable future. Oh well…

THE MAGIC SWORD on Blu-ray…

THE MAGIC SWORD (1962) was recently released on Blu-ray. It’s a fun movie with a good cast. It is very colourful and it’s a borderline kids movie (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now I won’t review the movie itself (I’ll do that on the main blog), just the Blu-ray release. The quality of the transfer is uneven, to say the least. Some parts of the movie, the image is super clear while during other scenes, the grain is very obvious to the point of being distracting and quite annoying. The mostly studio bound set looks even more like a studio-bound movie. But was the quality of the movie itself meant to be seen in HD or even in 4K. The resolution of 35mm film is super high (15k or so) but I believe the print quality of this movie wasn’t the highest and would explain these inconsistencies.


Gary Lockwood played the hero.

Above & below: the climax with the dragon. I’m always amazed by how good this dragon looked, certainly compared to the Hydra in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960). But the image is very dark and can’t see that much. The dragon reminds me of GORGO (1961).


Above is a screen grab taken from the DVD release. Compare it to the images above.


The visible grain in the movie is apparent in many scenes, including this foggy one. The transfer cannot replicate the fog and grain is everywhere. Hard to believe this is a Blu-ray release.

Compared to other recent releases, such as THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) or the spectacular THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves, this one is disappointing.

A censored copy of a debauched classic…

NERO & POPPEA – AN ORGY OF POWER (1982) is one of many notorious sex / shock movies released in the wake of CALIGULA (1979). Though this Bruno Mattei movie is not on the same scale as the massive Tinto Brass / Bob Guccione sex epic, it’s still has its outrageous moments.

I recently acquired an Italian VHS copy of it and to my surprise many scenes were cut and others were changed to cover up the nudity in some scenes. This version still has nudity and the lurid storyline is the same but when compared to the different releases of this title I already have in my collection shows that these other versions have much more stuff going on. Much more. It’s very odd to see a ‘Sex & Sandal’, in Italian no less, that’s censored.

Above and below: the version showing more nudity and simulated sex (above) while the Italian version (below) has both actors covered.

Discovering these two different copies is a good example of why it’s important to view the majority all versions from different countries or releases. You never know what you’ll find.

Will any of these notorious movies ever be released in HD?

New DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS Blu-ray…or is it?

A new Blu-ray release of DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS (1954) is now available in France (and sold on eBay). The cover has the Fox logo. Is it legit? It looks like it is but is it the same dreadful copy from the Twilight Time print released in the US? If so, then I don’t ant it. Unfortunately, there are no reviews, with screen grabs, of this release so there’s no way to know for sure. It has the English track.

Compare this to the Twilight Time Blu-ray which goes for $125.44 on eBay. Who would want to pay that much for a mediocre transfer!