I created this website last summer in anticipation for a new major project. It’s no secret, the new project was to be a magazine. I was working on it for some time and then the whole coronavirus issue occurred which delayed everything since I had to take care of an elderly parent 24/7. I had very little time to do anything aside from the usual posts.
Because of the pandemic and its consequences I have tons of projects I set aside for months. I need to take a break. Next week, I won’t be posting and the weeks after will depend on how I’ve achieved in re-focusing everything as they were before the pandemic. I don’t have any time frame for that but it might take some time. Don’t worry, I’ve recently renewed the hosting service for this website so it’s good for another year. But for now, at least in July, postings for most of the month will be minimal. It’ll be a Herculean effort and hopefully I will be able to post regularly in a couple weeks.
Here’s a screengrab of text from the book, PAUL NEWMAN: A LIFE by Shawn Levy describing Newman’s hatred for the first movie he ever starred in, THE SILVER CHALICE (1954). I won’t reprint the text here. Read it. It’s quite funny and sad.
Did Paul hate the movie because critics thought he looked a lot like Marlon Brando? Yes, the movie itself is not successful in a standard narrative kind of way. But the movie is sometimes visually fascinating. It’s amazing that he spent that much movie for an ad and it created the opposite effect: people who caught the ad now wanted to see the movie.
His statement about ‘wearing a cocktail dress’ pretty much sums up the way many view PEPLUM movies. Modern day audiences have trouble seeing men in clothes from Antiquity.
Paul Newman and Pier Angeli
Delilah of the Bible is one of the most famous female characters ever and has been often portrayed on screen, at the movies or on TV. Which of the following Delilahs is your favourite? Now, this is not a critique of the movies themselves, meaning one could like a Delilah and not necessarily care for the final movie…or like the actress and like the movie but her portrayal is not the ultimate one.
Hedy Lamarr in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)
Liana Orfei in HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES (1963)
Rosalba Neri in THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE (1965)
Belinda Bauer in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984; TV)
Elizabeth Hurley in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1996; TV)
Caitlin Leahy in SAMSON (2018)
My favourite, of course, is Hedy Lamarr. Then it’s Rosalba Neri, who’s really good in that role. And in third it would be Elizabeth Hurley, not necessarily because of her portrayal but because of the direction, by Nicolas Roeg, makes the whole project interesting.
I like Liana Orfei and I really like HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES but her portrayal is more campy or comical than tragic. As for Belinda Bauer, well, she’s my least favourite for sure. I can’t say anything of Caitlin Leahy.
Note: I didn’t include Suzzanna from SAMSON AND DELILAH (1987) because that movie is insane.
I like collecting all things PEPLUM and I came across this novelization of the movie SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962). I’m like ‘cool, I want it.’ For some reason, this book is expensive on eBay, at least the shipping is expensive for such a pulp publication. Has anyone read it? How does it differ from the movie.
Now, just by accident, I came across this other pulp publication.
It doesn’t have anything to do with the movie. It was published first but still I was wondering if it has any connection with the movie. How different is it from the screenplay for the 1962 movie.
Also, are there any other novelizations of PEPLUM movies? I’d be interested in them.
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.
There are a couple of titles to be released on Blu-ray or Ultra-HD Blu-ray (aka 4K).
Two Kirk Douglas movies. SPARTACUS will be released in 4K and ULYSSES (1954) will finally have an official Blu-ray release in the US. This was probably prompted with Douglas’ recent death. Good news for the latter. If it’s as good as the one in Europe or Japan, I won’t need to buy them.
Click on title for more information.
Two Maria Montez movies coming on Bl-ray. These should be nice to watch in HD.
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES
And this one as well…
SON OF ALI BABA
No other European PEPLUM titles on the horizon…
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.