If you check Blu-ray.com, there are *no* upcoming PEPLUM titles listed. Not one. SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRES is still missing in action but that’s been on-going for nearly a year and a half. The only new titles are from Germany in a two pack DVD set with REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) starring Mickey Hargitay, and SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME (1965) starring Gordon Mitchell. Both films will only have German audio option.
Cecil B. DeMille’s THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) was a rare PEPLUM movie of the 1930s. It was a success and 11 years later, the movie was re-released for the second time (it was also re-issued in 1938). New footage was added to the 1944, which can be seen in the trailer posted below. For decades, this version was the only version available. The original pre-code 1932 cut, with all the naughty stuff, was too racy once the Hayes code was set in place. All the cuts scenes were eventually restored in the 1990s and the 1944 version disappeared even if for many people it was, with the WW 2 angle, the one they saw on television.
The question is: will this 1944 version ever be available again?
As a collector of all things PEPLUM, I often acquire DVDs or Blu-rays faster than I can view them. I often set them aside, after making MKV or MP4 copies of them, scan them quickly and add them to the hundreds of other titles of my collection, to be viewed at a later time. I also watch them entirely, certainly with Blu-ray releases, but for the most part I reserve them for a future movie night. Well…I bought the French DVD of SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964) weeks ago and only now noticed some terrible image quality. For a brief moment the image becomes totally washed out, almost ghost-like. It’s an odd issue I’ve rarely seen before. Here are some screengrabs.
Nadir Moretti and Conrando San Martin look odd…
Carlo Tamberlani looks like a ghost…
Moira Orfei looks odd…
The movie eventually becomes normal again. For the most part the image is pretty clear and sharp.
I’ve purchased the German Blu-ray of ROMULUS & REMUS (1961). It’s traveling halfway across the world right now. In the meantime, a great friend of mine sent me a digital copy of it while I wait impatiently for it to arrive.
The German BR has audio in Italian, German and *English*. Since I just received this HD print, I haven’t watched it from beginning to end but needless today it’s a thing of beauty. Here are some screengrabs.
Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves with cast. Very sharp image.
Crowd scene. Everything is so clear. It’s beautiful.
Another crowd scene, with Jose Greci, Virna Lisi and Jacques Sernas, and Franco Volpi (seated)
Here’s a comparison of two good prints of COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE (1962), aka Fire Monsters against the Son of Hercules.
In this comparison, we see Reg Lewis and Luciano Marin. The screen grab at the top is from a German TV broadcast. The bottom screen grab is from a recent HD Italian Broadcast. Now the HD one is beautiful. It makes all the difference in the world to see such a crisp image at such a high resolution. But in transferring the movie, the end product is often too smooth or non-film looking. In comparison, the German TV broadcast looks like a movie. Personally, I like both. I love seeing old movies in a crystal clear state but sometimes the transfer is so good it doesn’t look like film anymore.
A good example would be the MESSALINA Blu-ray I posted about in the previous post. It looks clear and beautiful but it still looks like film.
This is not a review of the Blu-ray or of the movie. I just wanted to share some screngrabs of the French Blu-ray release of MESSALINA (1960). The BR was available from back in 2018 and had I known this I would have bought because it’s really beautiful. If you’re capable of playing region B Blu-rays, from a stand alone player or from your computer, this edition is really worth it, certainly since it includes the English track. Here are some scenes from the movie.
Belinda Lee as Messalina
Spiros Focas and Belinda
Belinda looks amazing!
Is the movie historically accurate? Does it matter? Enjoy it for what it is, one heck of a PEPLUM directed by Vittorio Cottafavi.
The date for the release for ROMULUS UND REMUS (1961) German Blu-ray has been set. It changes considerably since the announcement late last year. At one point it was set to be release on Dec 31, 2021, which was insane. Now the official date of release is March 11.
Unfortunately, since I’m in Canada, I still cannot purchase the BR from Amazon.de. This is truly bizarre. I never had any difficulty buy stuff from the German portal of Amazon. Someone who lives in Europe will purchase it for me. I will report on it asap.