Lo and behold, two new HD releases of HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED by Artus in France.
(The problem, I can’t find these releases anywhere, including at Artus’ website or even Amazon. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on here.)
I just got news that these might be available in May. The ‘sold out’ notice is not an actual current status of the product.
Here are covers of these releases. They both come with booklets, and a Blu-ray disc and a standard DVD. No English tracks though.
HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)
Here’s the link to the website.
It says that they’re already sold out for both titles (in red at the bottom left corner).
If anyone out there has more info on these releases please leave a comment.
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.
BY THE GODS! shorts
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.
Oh well…good riddance to 2020.
Today, I received a massive poster of the original Italian version of GOLIATH & THE DRAGON (1960), or know as THE REVENGE OF HERCULES, starring Mark Forest. But from looking at the excellent artwork it’s Steve Reeves, not Mark.
The best Steve Reeves poster that’s not a Steve Reeves movie?
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.
(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.
HERCULES UNCHAINED is the popular sequel to the worldwide smash hit HERCULES (1958). It’s as good as the first movie, with some claiming it’s superior to the first one. With the success came a greater scrutiny towards the follow up. And one of the results of this added scrutiny is something HERCULES didn’t really experience: scenes cut from the original vision of Pietro Francisci’s work. HERCULES UNCHAINED was trimmed here and there, and depending on which version you watch, some scenes were removed or shorten. Here are the scenes which usually got the axe.
This cheesecake scene is not in the US version of HERCULES UNCHAINED. It appears when Hercules, Iole and Ulysses are traveling on the wagon and Ulysses happens to see these women just hanging out on the beach. It’s an innocuous moment and the women are all gorgeous but it’s clearly a case of gratuitous cheesecake that doesn’t really add much to the story. I sorta understand why it was removed but then again the scene is so harmless that why not just leave it in? Annie Gorassini is part of this harem.
If you notice, a lot of the scenes cut are scenes with women. In this important scene, Iole learns of Hercules childhood, including the moment he fought with two snakes, as pictured in a wall mural. This scene should have been left uncut. It’s important to the Hercules mythology. In the cut version, we don’t see this and the movie goes straight of Iole and Hercules kissing.
Another scene with Iole. Iole waits impatiently for any word of Hercules. She passes her time weaving while new acquaintances ask her personal questions which upsets her. This scene is either entirely cut or shorten. It’s important in that we see the passage of time while Hercules is a captive of Omphale. Should never have been cut.
In this brief scene, we see Ulysses’ girlfriend, played by Marisa Valenti, listening to a seashell. It’s a nice scene and it establishes Ulysses in a relationship. The scene is so short that it shouldn’t have been cut.
The pyre at the end of the movie for Eteocles (Sergio Fantoni) and Polinices (Mimmo Palmara). The scene is cut from the US, Spanish, French prints I have. The already short scene was shortened in other releases, including the German print. The Italian and the Japanese Blu-ray are uncut.
This ad, published in MOTION PICTURE DAILY, shows the two big upcoming movies from Paramount in the *fall* of 1959: LI’L ABNER and the re-release of SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)
The re-release of SAMSON AND DELILAH was set after the success of HERCULES, which was made in 1958 but released in August of 1959 in America. Remarkably enough, Steve Reeves auditioned for the role of Samson but his physique was considered too much by DeMille who eventually cast Victor Mature. Just to show you how influential the success of HERCULES was, just look at the original poster of SAMSON AND DELILAH when it was released in 1949 and compare it to when it was re-released in the fall of 1959.
The new poster amplified the muscular action hero and replicated the look of Steve Reeves as Hercules even though Victor Mature wasn’t even close to having the body of Reeves. Even the text “THE MIGHTIEST MORTAL WHO EVER LIVED!” is a direct line taken from HERCULES’ trailer. And notice how SAMSON is huge and ‘…AND DELILAH’ is much smaller. DeMille and Paramount finally took notice of Reeves.
Second, Steve Reeves tried to audition for the role of Li’l Abner.
He didn’t get the role which wasn’t a big loss considering how bizarre the movie was. It might have been a big loss for Paramount though. Had Steve starred in LI’L ABNER and the film released right after HERCULES, who knows how successful it might have been. I’m certain someone back then at Paramount mused about this. Even so, the apparent influence of Reeves and the success of HERCULES was obvious in the trade publication ad above.
Here’s a rare glimpse of an Italian magazine, Epoca, with a page showing Steve Reeves and Mylene Demongeot, still in costume for THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959), walking about a street in modern day Rome, and shopping in a men’s clothing store. I’ve never seen these photos before. Really amazing. I’m going to try to get that issue.
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).
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).