DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS Laserdisc…

Does anyone have the laserdisc of DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS (1954)? I’ve never own a laserdisc and I’m not thinking of buying one. But I’d be curious to know the image quality. I’m sure it’s nowhere as close as anything on Blu-ray but I’m thinking: did Twilight Time’s limited edition of the movie on Blu-ray was taken from this?

I still can’t believe how bad the image of the Blu-ray release, presumably taken from the Twilight Time edition. Below is the comparison between the DVD and the BR. The BR image is even cropped. To me this doesn’t make any sense. Was the BR copy simply an unconverted version of the  laserdisc? I’m wondering since some have stated the BR is an unconverted version of the DVD but the image of the DVD has more information on the sides.

Few upcoming titles on the Blu-ray front

The only major non-italian PEPLUM Blu-ray release is the double disk of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, the 1923 and 1956 versions. It’s a good idea but nothing earth-shattering.

Aside from titles that are scheduled to be released but have yet to see the light of day, such as the Blu-ray of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961), titled  SAMSON & THE VAMPIRES for the release, there’s no major European titles in the foreseeable future. Oh well…

THE MAGIC SWORD on Blu-ray…

THE MAGIC SWORD (1962) was recently released on Blu-ray. It’s a fun movie with a good cast. It is very colourful and it’s a borderline kids movie (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now I won’t review the movie itself (I’ll do that on the main blog), just the Blu-ray release. The quality of the transfer is uneven, to say the least. Some parts of the movie, the image is super clear while during other scenes, the grain is very obvious to the point of being distracting and quite annoying. The mostly studio bound set looks even more like a studio-bound movie. But was the quality of the movie itself meant to be seen in HD or even in 4K. The resolution of 35mm film is super high (15k or so) but I believe the print quality of this movie wasn’t the highest and would explain these inconsistencies.


Gary Lockwood played the hero.

Above & below: the climax with the dragon. I’m always amazed by how good this dragon looked, certainly compared to the Hydra in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960). But the image is very dark and can’t see that much. The dragon reminds me of GORGO (1961).


Above is a screen grab taken from the DVD release. Compare it to the images above.


The visible grain in the movie is apparent in many scenes, including this foggy one. The transfer cannot replicate the fog and grain is everywhere. Hard to believe this is a Blu-ray release.

Compared to other recent releases, such as THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) or the spectacular THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves, this one is disappointing.

New DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS Blu-ray…or is it?

A new Blu-ray release of DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS (1954) is now available in France (and sold on eBay). The cover has the Fox logo. Is it legit? It looks like it is but is it the same dreadful copy from the Twilight Time print released in the US? If so, then I don’t ant it. Unfortunately, there are no reviews, with screen grabs, of this release so there’s no way to know for sure. It has the English track.

Compare this to the Twilight Time Blu-ray which goes for $125.44 on eBay. Who would want to pay that much for a mediocre transfer!

ARABIAN ADVENTURE Blu-ray

Right off the recent release of the spectacular Blu-ray presentation of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) comes the recent Blu-ray version of ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979), which, in terms of image quality, is quite frankly the complete opposite of the Steve Reeves classic. How can a film that’s newer look this murky? I don’t know if it’s the film process or anything else but this Blu-ray transfer is disappointing. It looks exactly like the previous version but simply upconverted to HD.

The cinematographer was Alan Hume, so it’s definitely not the way the movie was shot. The image of the Blu-ray is very grainy and at times murky. It’s very average.


Emma Samms, Oliver Tobias and Puneet Sira


The great Christopher Lee as Alquazar


The mechanical, fire-breathing monsters. The same concept as MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964)


The elaborate flying carpets chase/battle scene during the movie’s climax, the highlight of the entire production, still looks murky.

New Blu-rays…

YOR – HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983) starring Reb Brown and Corinne Cléry. Directed by Antonio Margheriti. Though this movie was released by Columbia Pictures this was an Italian production. They planned to do a TV mini-series. Remarkably enough, the Blu-ray is released by Mill Creek Entertainment, the company which made the 50 MOVIE PACK: WARRIORS, the first PEPLUM DVD set I ever bought.

ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979) starring Christopher Lee. US release. I sorta like this movie but I love the super elaborate flying carpets chase scene. It’s mind bogglingly complex. The movie is worth watching for that one extensive scene alone.

Upcoming Blu-rays…

A new batch of Blu-rays will be released soon or early next year, most of them from KINO LORBER. They are all US releases.

GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961) starring Gordon Scott. The Blu-ray will be released as SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRES…why? I dunno. The prints currently available are mostly poor so a nice Blu-ray of this title is highly anticipated.

THE WAR LORD (1965) starring Charlton Heston. Excellent movie. Looking forward to this.

RASPUTIN – THE MAD MONK (1966). Maybe my favourite Christopher Lee / Hammer movie.

THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF THE YIK YAK (1984),  or just GWENDOLINE, starring Tawny Kitaen. Story starts in contemporary times and ends up in a lost civilization with female gladiators and a chariot race with women in lieu of horses. The second half is a must see for PEPLUM fans. For those who don’t know, boatload of female flesh and Brent Huff as the sole provider of male flesh. The emphasis is on nudity. Excellent soundtrack. Totally silly and yet entertaining. From the Just Jaeckin, director of EMMANUELLE (1974).

THE MAGIC SWORD (1962) starring Gary Lockwood. Classic film.

COBRA WOMAN (1944) starring Maria Montez, Sabu and Jon Hall. Can’t wait to see this!!! Love this movie! Incredible Technicolor.

THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961) starring Donald O’Connor. This release will be interesting. I must say that I’m not a big fan of it but maybe the Blu-ray treatment will change my mind. There’s really good stuff in it but the story is lacking. I’m still happy for its BR release.

Which one to get…

Above is the German Blu-ray of ULYSSES (1954). It comes with 2 discs: one with a HD digital transfer from the original negative, at 100 minutes runtime, and the other is of a digital transfer with additional scenes, at 109 minutes. The audio included are Italian, German and English. The Blu-ray is region B, which means it’s not playable in standard Blu-ray players in North America.

On the other hand, there’s a Blu-ray from Japan, @103 minutes. The cover is amazing. The only audio: Italian. The Blu-ray is Region A which means it can be played with Blu-ray players in North America.

The deciding factor would be the price: the German one is 15.99 Euro while the Japanese one is 5100 Yen, or $51.00.

I really liked the HERCULES Blu-ray from Japan and I’m tempted in getting the Japanese one. Hmm…decisions. Why are Blu-rays so expensive in Japan?

Look at what just arrived in the mail…

I just received the two Blu-rays, HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959), from Japan via Amazon. I’m currently watching the first film while I’m writing this. Very interesting. The image is a clear improvement over what’s available even though the image has some scratches and a few defects, and some filters of sorts. I’ll write more on these Blu-rays in the near future. No English track. Only in Italian. I’ve seen this movie so many times that it doesn’t matter.

And this too…

More on this in the future…

Addendum:

I’m now watching HERCULES UNCHAINED and the quality is definitely poorer than HERCULES. Not a true Blu-ray transfer.