Steve Reeves TV Times…

I collect vintage magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, always hoping to find some cool stuff that pertains to the PEPLUM genre. In a vintage VIM magazine, they wrote about recent TV appearances of Steve Reeves…

Steve appeared on the Ray Bolger show, and on the Steve Allen show in support of ATHENA! I have to find some footage of these appearances, if they still exist.

In the same issue, they also mention future PEPLUM star Ed Fury who made an appearance on MY LITTLE MARGIE show. I have the clip of that appearance.

THE REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960) Blu-ray review

A must see in widescreen!

I recently acquired two new Blu-ray editions, of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) and REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960). I’ll give a quick overview of the latter. I won’t be reviewing the movie itself (I’ll do that on the main blog) but I’ll still mention a few things about the quality of the movie itself.

So much grain on Rhonda Fleming you’d think she was covered in freckles.

Released by KINO LORBER, REVOLT OF THE SLAVES was one of those PEPLUM movies which languished in obscurity: it never got an official VHS or DVD release. It was released on VHS by Nostalgia Family but I don’t think it was legit (I have the VHS tape). And what copies were available were often in a poor state, such as the one by Nostalgia Family. I was pleasantly surprised when KINO LORBER decided to release this on Blu-ray. From their website, I suspect they did this just for Serge Gainsbourg and Fernando Rey completists, not because of their love of the PEPLUM genre.

A visible scratch on the image, over Lang Jeffries’ face.

As for the image and sound quality: it’s very good but both could have been better. The image is spectacular, showcasing the excellent camerawork by cinematographer Cecilio Paniagua but the grain is everywhere, and white dots and scratches are visible throughout. And the audio is very flat and weak. I wished they had punched it up a notch or two. The score is excellent (some new stuff combined with some familiar score heard in many PEPLUM movies) but the transfer doesn’t do it justice.

Fernando Rey, Ettore Manni and Gainsbourg.

I watched the movie from my 27″ iMac and on a HD Toshiba TV (below). The audio and image issues were present in both instances.

Scenes like this one really showcase the excellent composition of the camerawork.

The quality of previous versions were so bad that I shouldn’t complain but when a movie is released on HD I always expect the presentation to be tops and even though this release is excellent, it’s not really top. It’s a shame because this is one of those PEPLUM movies I can watch over and over again.

Wandisa Guida

As for the movie itself, some say it’s a knock-off of QUO VADIS (1951) or FABIOLA (1949). Personally, I don’t see the similarities. There could be more than a couple of movies about the same subject without having to be compared to other works. I think it stands well by itself without having to be pigeonholed in some category. It’s first and foremost an action movie, which the other two epics weren’t. They were big dramas with action scenes.

As for extras, there are only a couple of trailers, including the trailer for this movie. It’s pretty barebones. They could have at least included the Italian track as an extra.

Overall I’m pleased with it and I’ve already watched it three times. I just hope a stellar version will be released in the not so distant future.

Where’s Rosalba Neri in HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD?

I’ve watched HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) many times and I still can’t find where’s Rosalba Neri. In the FANTOMA DVD released years ago, it was the British version with truncated opening credits which didn’t include her name but the 100 minute long Italian version (the one on the Blu-ray is actually a German print with Italian audio), her name is listed during the opening credits (see below). And her name also showed up at IMDb. But I still can’t find her. I always suspected that she had a major scene that was eventually left on the cutting room’s floor.

Well…


Her name shows up during the opening credits on the Italian version (with German opening credits). But where is she in the movie?

The actress in chains is supposed to be Rosalba. This would make sense: it’s  a brief role but quite memorable, good enough for a credit. But looking at her, one can clearly see that’s not Rosalba. According to many sources, it’s actually Monica Neri, a relative (or sister) to Rosalba, who would sometime substitute for Rosalba when she was ill or overbooked her acting roles. LOL!

So, Rosalba is credited for a movie, and technically speaking she was to be in it but she’s not.

GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES Blu-ray…when?

As I reported back on November 8, 2019, the Blu-ray edition of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961) was announced. The movie is retitled as SAMSON & THE VAMPIRES but regardless, it was great news. 6 months later the movie hasn’t been released yet. No additional info. Nothing.

It seems the original prints needed major restoration but they should have some short clip to give us hope or an idea how it’s going to be. I’m starting to think it’ll never get released. It’s one thing to announce it and it’s another to have some updates on it. Maybe a sneak peek? Kino Lorber is a good company but this wait is getting ridiculous. The title is not even listed as a pre-order at KL’s website, and titles listed there go all the way to the middle of August.

On a side note, I uploaded this movie on PEPLUM TV Youtube channel but I had to pull it out of circulation because of some dubious copyright claim. I’ve uploaded it on all of my previous Youtube channels without any issues. I’m thinking this was done in preparation for the upcoming Blu-ray release but now it’s been so long that what was the point of claiming it nearly a year ago?

Scary Gordon Mitchell…

This old article from a French magazine is interesting. It’s purports to be a nice article but hmm…It also mentions ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961) but they use a photo from FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

Here’s the translation of the text.

Gordon Mitchell, 36, American…He is the most frightening of Macistes. Culturist, accomplished sportsman, he rarely cheats in his cinematographic ‘effects’.

He practices wrestling and judo. Despite his age, he remains one of the most spectacular ‘monumnets’ in cinema.

Correct description? The definition of a backhanded compliment?

It’s hard to believe Mitchell was only 36 years old. That’s a rough looking 36 years old.


Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) in a fight with Hector (Jacques Bergerac) in FURY OF ACHILLES. The top photo in the article is not from ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS.

In the American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography by Rob Craig, the author describes Mitchell: “…certainly must be the most gruesome European “muscleman” ever to grace the screen.” (review of Fury of Achilles).

Was Gordon Mitchell scary?

A story about A STORY OF DAVID…

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.

Let’s compare:

US copy

Angela Browne and Jeff Chandler

Moviepix copy

German copy

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.

US copy

Basil Sydney as King Saul

Moviepix copy

German copy

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.

SPARTACUS in ad

One of the fun things in scoping old magazines dedicated to the movie industry is finding ads which indirectly dealt with the PEPLUM genre. Here’s a good example: the durability of the prints for SPARTACUS (1960). It seems Hollywood used the epics of the time to boost new technological advances, including THE ROBE (1953) being the first movie shown in widescreen.

Steve Reeves candid photos during the making of GIANT OF MARATHON

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.

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?

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.