More Blu-rays…

Four new titles on the Blu-ray front:

First, SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) – German release. This is good news in that the regular DVD from Germany for this movie had many issues. So a brand new pristine print, hopefully uncut, is a welcome addition to the ever growing list of PEPLUM titles going BR. For now, there’s no cover or any images from this print. Directed by Robert Aldrich and Sergio Leone, though some dismiss this, saying it’s an Aldrich movie all the way. Starring Daniele Vargas and Scilla Gabel (above), among many other familiar PEPLUM actors.

Second, IRONMASTER (1983), directed by Umberto Lenzi. I’m happy about this BR release. I like this movie and seeing in HD will be cool. One of the better PEPLUM movies of the 1980s starring George Eastman, Sam Pasco, Elvire Audray, and veteran PEPLUM actors Benito Stefanelli, Nello Pazzafini, and Giovanni Cianfriglia. Release date: April 13, 2021.

Third, also from Germany, DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955) will be released on Blu-ray. Some say this is not a PEPLUM but there’s Lex Barker, there are sword fights in it, and it was directed by William Castle. That’s enough for me. I hope the print will be better that the photos provided at the website.

It was also announced that HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) will be released on Blu-ray by The Film Detective. I’m not familiar with that company and from reading about them on forums, the prospect doesn’t seem to be that great. From what I’ve read, the version will be the US theatrical cut which is shorter than the original cut known in English as HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS. It’s seems that the print is from a new 4K restoration, which is great news. STUDIOCANAL, the French distribution/production company owns the movie and they usually have great transfers. Unfortunately, STUDIOCANAL are also very strict and the chances of this new copy uploaded to Youtube without some sort of restrictions seems unlikely.

I’m wondering: does STUDIOCANAL also have the US print of this, which has soundtrack bits from CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON? Anyway, this is welcome news. The sad part of this release is that it won’t contain the original European cut, instead it’ll have the MST3K episode with the movie. Why would they do this?

To be released on April 13, 2021.

HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN

Update on upcoming Blu-rays from Germany…

Update: when I’m logged in into Amazon.de, the Blu-ray says it’s ‘out of stock’ but when I view the listing without being logged in to Amazon.de, it says it’s available.

The new Blu-ray for DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) is now out of stock. It’s been out of stock since I posted about it a month ago. I know this blog is popular but wow…haha!

Also, the NEFERTITI – QUEEN OF THE NILE (1961) Blu-ray from Germany is extremely expensive. They now charge an extra 20 Euros for packaging and an extra 17.00 Euros for import fees. So the Blu-ray now costs 3 times as much. I won’t be buying it. Why should someone pay 20 Euros for packaging for an item sold through Amazon? And a Blu-ray is tiny. It’s a rip-off.

NEFERTITI – QUEEN OF THE NILE Blu-ray…

More good news. NEFERTITI – QUEEN OF THE NILE (1961) starring Jeanne Crain, Edmund Purdom and Vincent Price, will have an official Blu-ray release in Germany. The Amazon link doesn’t have any screengrabs but if a recent print I acquired recently will tell well the image quality will be stunning.

Amazon Germany

Edmund Purdom and Jeanne Crain. A screengrab of a HD copy I got recently. I dunno the source of it (from this upcoming disc or TV broadcast…?) but needless to say it’s beautiful.

DUEL OF THE TITANS Blu-ray…

Great news! DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) starring Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Virna Lisi and many others, will have a Blu-ray release in Germany in January. From the provided screenshots, the movie looks stunning. Can’t wait to see it.

Thanks to Joe for the info.

Amazon Germany

(the Amazon page claims the Blu-ray can’t be shipped to my location. I never had issues buying stuff from Amazon Germany before. Hmm…hopefully this will change by the end of January)

Steve Reeves and Virna Lisi. Beautiful clarity.

Stunning shot. With Massimo Girotti and Jacques Sernas.

Still waiting…

November 2019 KINO LORBER announced the 4K restoration of GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961), renamed here as SAMSON AGAINST THE VAMPIRES. As the screenshot shows, the movie was supposed to be released in 2020, or early 2020. As of October 8, 2020, there’s still no news about it.

People posted messages supporting this news and added how much they would love to see more PEPLUM movies get the same treatment and yet nothing is done about it. There’s a HUGE market for these movies around the world, including North America, and no one is capitalizing on it. Like I’ve said so many times, the PEPLUM genre gets no respect.

New batch of HD prints!

There’s a current batch of PEPLUM titles now available in HD. These titles are not available on Blu-ray but were broadcast in HD or are available for streaming. This bodes well for the genre. Titles long left in obscurity now look absolutely amazing! Looking forward to more titles in the future.

Above and below: CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER (1960) starring Debra Paget and Corrado Pani. The most stunning HD print of a PEPLUM title, even surpassing the equally stunning German Blu-ray of THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves. I’m just amazed by the clarity of the image. This movie has not been released on BR but is available as a streaming title in Italy.

Above and below (2): Another beautiful print of a favourite movie of mine, ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES (1962) starring Georges Marchal. Not as stunning as CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER or THIEF OF BAGHDAD it’s still great to see.

ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES was filmed on the Canary Islands. As the image above shows, the image quality is not as perfect as CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER.

Above and below: SULEIMAN THE CONQUEROR (1961), starring Giorgia Moll and Alberto Farnese (above) is hard to get movie and previous prints were always disappointing. Not anymore. Though not super pristine as other prints (as the below screengrab shows), is a definite improvement over other releases. Worthy of a Fan Dub.

And last but not least. A recent showing of SON OF SAMSON (1960) on the Italian network, RAI. The image is stunning. Unfortunately, the aspect ratio is not full 1920×1280 HD. It, and Mark, still look great though.

KNIVES OF THE AVENGER Blu-ray review…

Mario Bava’s KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (1966) is an oddity. In regards to Bava’s career, the movie is pretty straighfoward will no Bava touches to it. It’s also a late comer, having been released in 1966, a time when the PEPLUM genre had been considered dead. It’s also pretty much a Viking version of the classic Western SHANE (1953).

But this is not a review of the movie but the Blu-ray release. Well, it’s not complicated: it’s a great release. The image is crisp and even though the audio could have had more oomph it’s acceptable. The thing is this movie often had fairly good releases so this Blu-ray doesn’t create a ‘WOW’ effect like other PEPLUM movies which had only crappy releases for a very long time.

I like it and the movie itself is fine though it’s more drama than action. Overall, I recommend it but mainly for fans of PEPLUM movies, of Cameron Mitchell or Mario Bava completists.

Here are some screengrabs from it.

Cameron Mitchell

Cameron Mitchell and Elissa Pichelli

Luciano Pollentin and Cameron Mitchell

Giacomo Rossi Stuart. One of the few optical effects in the movie: the ship was obviously not there (no reflection in the water).

ULYSSES (1954) Blu-ray review

I finally acquired the Blu-ray version of ULYSSES (1954) starring Kirk Douglas, Sylvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn, and many soon to be PEPLUM stars, like Rossana Podesta, Umberto Silvestri and Alberto Lupo.

The review will be short: the image quality is excellent. The details of the sets and costumes are eye-popping. The one issue, like so many transfers to HD, have to do with the many dark scenes ¬†which are very dark. I don’t know what’s the process which leads to this but it’s something I’ve noticed in nearly all new Blu-rays. It’s very annoying. But aside from this somewhat important point, the rest, meaning the not so dark scenes, are stellar. Beautiful.

The one big problem with this version is the English audio. It’s absolutely horrible. I have an old version of the movie, from a VHS source, and the audio is nearly as bad as the VHS version, minus the VHS noise in the background. The audio sounds like it was recorded in a toilet. So, great image (when it’s not dark) but horrible English audio.

This copy is NOT the soon to be released version from KINO, which will be released on August 25…Note: the release date has changed to Nov. 17. Hopefully the audio from that version will be much better. I will purchase it.

Here are some screengrabs from the HD version.

Kirk Douglas

Rossana Podesta

Sylvana Mangano

Alberto Lupo (far left) and Anthony Quinn