A PEPLUM movie version of the the Three Wise Men would be cool!
A PEPLUM movie version of the the Three Wise Men would be cool!
Delilah of the Bible is one of the most famous female characters ever and has been often portrayed on screen, at the movies or on TV. Which of the following Delilahs is your favourite? Now, this is not a critique of the movies themselves, meaning one could like a Delilah and not necessarily care for the final movie…or like the actress and like the movie but her portrayal is not the ultimate one.
Hedy Lamarr in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)
Liana Orfei in HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES (1963)
Rosalba Neri in THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE (1965)
Belinda Bauer in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984; TV)
Elizabeth Hurley in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1996; TV)
Caitlin Leahy in SAMSON (2018)
My favourite, of course, is Hedy Lamarr. Then it’s Rosalba Neri, who’s really good in that role. And in third it would be Elizabeth Hurley, not necessarily because of her portrayal but because of the direction, by Nicolas Roeg, makes the whole project interesting.
I like Liana Orfei and I really like HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES but her portrayal is more campy or comical than tragic. As for Belinda Bauer, well, she’s my least favourite for sure. I can’t say anything of Caitlin Leahy.
Note: I didn’t include Suzzanna from SAMSON AND DELILAH (1987) because that movie is insane.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t have a copy of A STORY OF DAVID (1960) and now I have three versions of it. It’s a rarely shown movie, made for British TV and for ABC, produced in Britain and also filmed in Israel. It stars Jeff Chandler, who also appeared in SIGN OF THE PAGAN (1954).
This is not a review of the movie but the quality of the copies. Since this was made for TV it doesn’t have a widescreen format. I have a German TV broadcast, one US broadcast and one Canadian broadcast (Moviepix). Overall, the German copies is much better than the other two. It looks more cinematic and the frame not as cropped as the other two copies.
Angela Browne and Jeff Chandler
The German copy is much better. The other two are way too dark. There’s virtually no difference between the US and Moviepix copies aside from the resolution. If you clearly, the already small frame in the US and Moviepix copies are more cropped. The German one has more information on the sides.
Basil Sydney as King Saul
The German one looks less like a TV movie.
The major difference are the opening/ closing credits. Since it’s a TV movie, the credits are different than a regular theatrical release. In the US and Moviepix versions, the full credits occur at the end while those end credits are shown at the beginning in the German version. The US and Moviepix versions’ full title is actually A STORY OF DAVID – “The Hunted”. It definitely looks like a TV movie title. The German one is simply A STORY OF DAVID.
I’ll have a full review of this movie at PEPLUMTV.com soon.
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?
I recently purchased a double Blu-ray set of THE ROBE (1953) and THE BIBLE: THE BEGINNING…(1966). It only cost $17. Great deal. The print for THE ROBE is excellent. No complaints. The print for THE BIBLE is also great but the issue, or issues, is with the movie itself. While THE ROBE is a classic ‘Hollywood’ movie, THE BIBLE, directed by John Huston, is anything but. When I purchased the double BR set, I thought that I would finally see that movie correctly since the previous versions I had were so dark that it was nearly impossible to watch the whole thing. Well, unfortunately, the Blu-ray edition is exactly the same: many dark scenes. This means Huston filmed it this way. It’s not all like that but it’s often scenes after scenes of dark moments. It’s a very odd way to approach a subject. The film looks good, even if the overall final product is a tad anemic.
George C. Scott as Abraham. Well, I think that’s him.
Don’t know where his hair and beard begins and ends vis a vis background.
I know electricity didn’t exist back then but wow, can someone turn on the lights?
Huston, who was a genuine director, probably saw that these epics were too bright, too colourful and wanted to imbue this project with a more earthy, serious, and realistic tone but damn, he went a little bit too far here.
New sex slave is branded in SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962; 1963 in the US)
For a genre that’s intrinsically attached to religion, the PEPLUM genre is certainly filled with contradictory aspects, with the most obvious one being its penchant for fleshy action. As a genre, PEPLUM cinema is one of if not the sexiest ever. How is it then that the source of the majority of its stories have a religious aspect? Torture, sex slaves, skimpy costumes, etc, are all elements found in nearly all movies of said genre. It’s quite the dichotomy. I won’t go over this subject in great details here. I could write a whole book on the very subject. In fact, I wrote a series of articles at PEPLUM TV on the very subject: The Real PEPLUM X. This post is just to mention this eternal dichotomy of PEPLUM movies.
Odd angle of Anthony Steffen seen in SODOM & GOMORRAH
Of course, not every PEPLUM movie has a religious tone or are based on stories from the Bible. The genre is filled with historical dramas, like CLEOPATRA (1963) or stories of Greek mythology, such as HERCULES (1958), which are also a good source for sexy hijinks. Beefy men in short tunics or dancing nymphs in skimpy costumes. The many sexual aspects of PEPLUM included same sex attraction, as seen below with Nicholas Clay and Michael Biehn as lovers in THE MATYRDOM OF SAINT SEBASTIEN (1984).
Though already overtly sexy or sexual during the Golden Era ( 1949 to 1965), what PEPLUM movies hinted at during that period became overt and at times graphic in the 1970s. Movies set in Antiquity from that decade morphed into the soft-core or hardcore variety. Nudity and kinky sex became the norm with such films as THE ARENA (1974) or CALIGULA (1979). Torture scenes in old PEPLUM movies became graphic in details in CALIGULA 2: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982; below; with David Brandon, Laura Gemser and Charles Borromel). When one thinks about it, it was the natural progression of the genre. The things which made it popular back in the day eventually became the norm in future periods. Sex sold many of those films so for the genre to go full frontal was inevitable. Cable TV shows like SPARTACUS (2010 – 2013) continued with the trend of sex in PEPLUM productions.
But today the genre is pretty much dead. Is there too much sex in PEPLUM movies or TV shows? Was it better when it was suggested and not full frontal? And unlike how things unfolded in the past, when sexiness pretty much sold these movies, and with so much nudity in the mainstream, the promise of sex won’t be enough of a selling point to ignite another PEPLUM explosion. As for religion, people are less and less religious these days. Is this also one of the reasons why PEPLUM movies aren’t popular anymore? Not because of a lack of interest in religious stories (that could explain part of it) but because of this duality, of religion and sex, seem to go hand in hand and without a predominately religious audience, the genre’s eternal dichotomy can’t be as effective as it was 60 years ago.
Bondage! Popular in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956; with Vincent
Price and John Derek)