I received the Kino Lorber SON OF SAMSON (1960) Blu-ray on Friday so I had the entire weekend to check it out. I have very complaints about it. The only issues are the audio is sorta not loud, there are no extras about the movie and this is not the actual version released in the US 60+ years ago. That’s it. The Blu-ray itself is pretty amazing. Brilliant colours. No transfer issues to be seen anywhere (aside from the soft audio). It’s a must have for fans of the genre.
Nothing much on the BR front. The one interesting title, and it’s a pretty cool one, comes from the new Maria Montez – Jon Hall BD set. The set, which will be released in July, includes WHITE SAVAGE, GYPSY WILDCAT and SUDAN. Of course, their bigger titles, like COBRA WOMAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS and ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES, have all been available on BD already. So this set is not the top Montez – Hall titles but it’s still great news. SUDAN is a pretty cool movie. Buying the set just for that title will be worth it.
The upcoming SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray from Kino Lorber has just gotten a price reduction at Amazon. It was priced as $24.95 before but now sells for $17.99. That’s a pretty good deal. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, do it now and support PEPLUM movies. Official release date: May 10.
Severin has a CALIGULA Blu-ray bundle. A two pack with CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982), directed by Joe D’Amato, and CALIGULA AND MESSALINA (1981), directed by Bruno Mattei. Now I’m aware that these types of ‘x-rated’ PEPLUM movies are not for everyone but it’s still part of the genre, at one extreme. Besides, the Mattei epic uses a lot of scenes from old PEPLUM movies in it which is always fun to spot.
I just want to mention that this blog wasn’t supposed to wrote only about Blu-rays but it’s basically what it has become once and if the magazine project take hold.
Okay, back to Blu-ray releases. Paramount will release KING DAVID (1985) on Blu-ray on April 26. Great news. Unfortunately, it’s KING DAVID. Lol!
Anyway, one has to support all PEPLUM movies. Production is good but the casting of Richard Gere…well, the less said the better. I already have a HD copy of this movie and the movie itself looks good. But I just can’t get past Gere as King David. It’s a shame because it had a good director/crew/cast. Needless to say, this didn’t inspire a Biblical revival in the 1980s. PEPLUM movies were more the Sword & Sorcery or Adventure/Fantasy kind.
The image is nice. The audio is excellent. But this is not from the soon-to-be-released BD. But it is in full HD.
Watching movies in HD is great but it also showcases the bits were the movie tried to cut corners. In one violent battle scene, you can clearly see that mannequins were used for dead soldiers on the field. Oops…
Aside from big Hollywood titles, modest PEPLUM movies in 4K are few and far in between. One of the first Sword and Sorcery movies of the early 1980s is available in 4K, THE BEASTMASTER (1982) from Vinegar Syndrome. I have a soft spot for this movie.
There are already titles, all of them from Hollywood, that are available in 4K, such as SPARTACUS (1960) and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956). See Youtube video linked above. The scene they used for the comparison (below) is not impressive. I see some different, mostly clarity, or less fuzzy, but of all the scenes they could have used from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, they used that one? Mind boggling. Oh well…
As usual, Hollywood big titles are getting the 4K treatment first. There are few PEPLUM movies from Italy on Blu-ray so the prospect of seeing HERCULES (1958) in 4K are not in the immediate future.
Kino Lorber has announced that they will have a Blu-ray release of SON OF SAMSON (1960) starring the late Mark Forest. This is great news! It seems now that distributors in North America have finally realized of the many beautiful prints in HD broadcasted on TV or from streaming services in Europe. Oddly enough, an HD print, in English and the original cut in Italian, are already available on the internet. I have both copies. They are stunning. The English copy is 85 minutes long while the uncut Italian one with English subs is 94 minutes. Adding these two new copies to my collection, I now have 11 different versions of this movie, including one from RAI which is also very nice.
Thanks to info from my friend in Europe, SON OF SAMSON is already available in HD on Amazon in the UK so these copies on the internet are most likely from this source. The screenshot above is from the copy I have. But where does the original Italian one, with English subs, comes from? It’s odd that the announcement from Kino Lorber coincided with the availability of this movie at one movie website (which shall remain nameless…to protect them). Regardless, if the Kino Lorber release is from the same source, it will be amazing. It’s one of the rare occasions when the Blu-ray of a PEPLUM movie will become available in North America before Europe.
And yes I will buy the Kino Lorber Blu-ray once it’s released.
Kino Lorber has announced that they will be releasing a Blu-ray later this year of the neglected SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1960), directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Gordon Scott, Yoko Tani, Gabriele Antonini and more. This is excellent news. From the sporadic info going around the internet, it seems the Blu-ray release will have the original Italian cut and the shorter US cut. This is perfect. Every PEPLUM release in North America should include both the original Italian version and the often cut US release.
There’s already a beautiful copy of the movie shown on RAI in Italy (screenshot below). The thing is: will the cut scenes, almost all of them at the beginning, will be in English or in Italian with English subtitles. The US version starts approximately 10 minutes into the original Italian cut. No English dubbing has ever been heard of those 10+ missing minutes.