Hercules and Hylas in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Hylas (Jason Carney) and Hercules (Nigel Green) in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

According to Greek mythology, Hercules and Hylas were companions. They were inseparable. The 1963 Ray Harryhausen movie is one of the few which shows the two together. Same-sex relationships back in the 1960s were a no-no, and to a certain extent, it’s still a touchy subject today. Personally I wouldn’t have any issue with it since their relationship wasn’t the main point of the story. In other words, it’s no big deal. Harryhausen was well aware of their relationship when they incorporated these scenes in the movie. But many would have difficulty seeing Hercules, the very representation of masculinity, be involved romantically with another man. I think most people would have issue with this portrayal of Hercules than the possibility of the relationship itself.

PEPLUM titles advertised in old US newspaper

It’s always cool to see old newspapers with ads for PEPLUM movies. This one is a great example.

Now for those who aren’t aware of this in the past movies were advertised heavily in newspapers, mainly in the ‘Entertainment’ section. It was one of  the best ways to reach a vast audience…back then. Not today. But this selection of ads illustrates the reality of PEPLUM movies released in the US. We see  THE AVENGER (1962) staring Steve Reeves. I never cared for that title. It’s also known as WAR OF THE TROJANS or THE LAST GLORY OF TROY. It was the sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE (1961). As we can see it opened in 4 cinemas (‘starts today’) along with THE SECRET MARK OF D’ARTAGNAN (1962) starring George Nader. So, basically a double feature. Or maybe the two movies shared the same cinemas but patrons had to pay specifically for one movie only. Regardless, it shows how PEPLUM Swashbucklers were paired with ‘mythological’ titles like THE AVENGER. Some people wonder I cover these ‘swashbuckler’ movies or wonder why they’re even considered PEPLUM movies. Well, here’s your proof why.

Side note: There’s also an ad for MUSCLE BEACH PARTY starring future PEPLUM star Peter Lupus (aka Rock Stevens).

HERCULES released by Archway Film Distributors (Brit)

When HERCULES, the Steve Reeves classic, was released in 1958 around the world, the name Joseph E. Levine wasn’t featured on any posters, lobby cards or even during the opening credits. Levine eventually purchased the rights for the movie for distribution in North America and he made a fortune since it became a success in the US. But the movie was also a hit around the world sans Levine’s help.

HERCULES was distributed in Britain (presumably the UK) by Archway Film Distributors. Below are some of the advertising and lobby cards of this release.

This looks like the cover of a press book, and if not then it’s the ad shown in print (newspapers, magazines, etc). It’s really cool since:

1 – Joseph E Levine’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on it.
2 – It states that the movie is making ‘record business’ on its premiere run
3 – It has, in very small print, the name of the original Italian film company

The photos for the lobby cards set are mostly different than the US one. Unfortunately, there are no dates on them.

Stuff from the UK is interesting in that titles released directly to TV in the US were actually released in theatres in the UK. And most often than not their titles differed from the (goofy) ones for the US. In this case though, the title for the US and UK distributions were the same.

Dubious DVDs on eBay!

Finding dubious stuff for sale on eBay is nothing new. It’s to a point now that one doesn’t really know what’s legit and what are dupes.

The two following DVDs are dupes. I bought them knowing they would be dupes but I was curious to see which versions they were. The DVDs were cheap and shipping was free. So, buying them didn’t break the bank.

The ‘HERCULES VS MOLOCH’ is taken from the Trimark boxset I mentioned in a post below. I had hoped it was a Fan Dub of the widescreen version but no it’s in 4:3 aspect ratio.

As for ‘HERCULES OF THE DESERT’ it’s a Fan Dub that’s available on Youtube. I personally did a Fan Dub of this movie and called it ‘MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES’. I don’t have it on my channel but many people have uploaded it to their channels. The ‘HERCULES OF THE DESERT’ copy is in poor quality.

Suffice it to say, avoid buying these.

New DVD set is same as old DVD set…

This DVD collection, THE HERCULES COLLECTION, from SHOUT! FACTORY, looks like a good set but then upon closer look, the set is actually just the same as an old and rare DVD set, which I have, repackaged and with Steve Reeves on the cover.

There are 6 titles in the set:

The Loves Of Hercules (aka Hercules Vs. The Hydra) (1960)

The Trojan Horse (1961)

Medusa Against The Son Of Hercules (1962)

Conquest Of Mycene (aka Hercules vs. The Molloch) (1963)

The Triumph Of Hercules (1964)

Hercules Against The Sons Of The Sun (1964)

If you look at the old set (below), THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES, they are almost the same titles:

THE LION OF THEBES is missing from the new collection.

In the old set released by Trimark, there were 4 different DVD boxes for the 7 titles. The new set, with Steve on the cover, only has two disks for the 6 titles. The packaging of the old set , though nothing stunning, was more fun and elaborate the new one.

All movies are in 4:3 aspect ratio. No widescreen. So, no upgrade in the new set.

It’s very deceptive but then most people don’t have the old set. But the thing is, by putting Steve on the cover they made it look like a collection of Steve Reeves’ Hercules movies but it’s not. There is one movie in the set with Steve, THE TROJAN HORSE, but it’s NOT a Hercules movie. Some people have bought it thinking HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) were included. So beware.

SHOUT! FACTORY have also falsely claimed many scenes from HERCULES (1958) on Youtube.

It would be better just to buy to old set, since it has THE LION OF THEBES in it. Of course, the old set might be more expensive but I just don’t see the point of buying the new set, unless it’s super cheap.

Also, don’t confuse this set with another HERCULES DVD set, called HERCULES COLLECTION:

Japanese ads and article for HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

What’s with Japanese poster art and design which makes things so cool and dramatic? Anyway, these vintage ads and article were taken from old magazines.


HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). Great montage which includes stuff from the first film.

I can’t read Japanese so don’t ask me what it’s saying. Haha!

Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend

Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend is a Canadian-made animated series that was based on Greek mythology. In the US, it was shown on CBS and lasted two seasons. Many episodes are on Youtube. It’s for kids but it’s still fun to watch.

Below is the Hercules and the Golden Apples episode.




Halloween week at BY THE GODS!

The fun thing about PEPLUM movies are the many monsters and creatures that appear in them even if the movie itself is not considered a horror movie. Something like PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE or MEDUSA VS THE SON OF HERCULES. Or even any Ray Harryhausen movie filled with animated monsters. THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960) is another of such movie. It’s a veritable monster show.

Hercules (Mickey Hargitay) fights the Hydra

There’s this monster at the very end of the movie.

And these men turned into killer trees…with Jayne Mansfield in the clutches of killer branches.

Hercules board games

Unbeknownst to me, there are (or were) some board games based on Hercules.

This one is called FEATS OF HERCULES and it’s from the 90s. Funny enough, it’s in Greek! Can’t find an English version of this.

Board game based on the animated movie from Disney. It’s a board game for kids.

I’m still trying to figure out what this game is. It’s called ‘THE LABOURS OF HERCULES: Taming the beast within’ puzzle game. There are 4 different packs.

This one looks the most interesting. The creators are Chinese but text is in English. According to a board games website, the game was never published but one set is available on eBay. There are videos on Youtube about it.