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?
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).
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.
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).
The humongous GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961) pressbook for the US release is something else. Who wrote these? Anyway, I have it and I get a chuckle in reading the text describing the movie.
‘FEMME STAR’? The text spells Jacques Sernas’ name as Cernas. It describes her as an Amazonian military leader…?!? She’s a Sultan’s aid. It’s nice that they used her actual name and not Maria Canale or something. They’re right in saying she’s best in ‘sexy, villainess roles’.
Again, who wrote this stuff? They definitely didn’t see the movie.
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.