This blog was created in anticipation of a magazine or zine…but the pandemic occurred and everything was thrown out of the window. I’m slowly trying to get back into it. I have several topics which I want to cover but I actually had a PEPLUM star ready for an interview. I decided to do this interview for the very first publication of the magazine. What better way to start a magazine than with one of the stars from the Golden Era? But the star has stopped communicating with me. Mind you, I was this star’s first Facebook friend 5 or 6 years ago. Gradually this star felt more comfortable communicating via Facebook. I’ve been friends with them for all that time. I never asked for anything. Then this star wanted me to promote a soon to be published biography. I was ok with it but in exchange I asked this star for a written interview. This star had no issues with this. But after I sent them a list of questions they stopped communicating with me. So, the whole concept for the first publication was, again, thrown out of the window. I won’t disclose the name of this star because that’s not the point of this. Who knows, maybe they’ll change their minds (I doubt it). But I have to refocus on another subject of this publication. It sucks. Hopefully, it will be available for fall.
The 1985 release on VHS of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972) is the only uncut copy available in English. There’s a VHS dupe of the movie going around but it’s from Norway with intrusive Norwegian subtitles. There has to be a copy of the US VHS tape available somewhere but alas it’s not. The solution then is to buy a copy of the VHS tape and try to transfer it in digital format. I have a combo VHS / DVD recorder somewhere. I have to find it if it still works. The problem: finding a TV that can connect to it. So, I purchased the tape and once I’ll get it I’ll try to think of the ways I could get it on a DVD disc.
Artus Films is churning some interesting titles, including THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958) starring Sylva Koscina and Gianna Maria Canale, REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER (1964) starring Alberto Lupo and Stephen Forsyth. Those were announced months ago but now they added two new titles to their roster: TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962) starring Gianna Maria Canale, and THE LION OF ST MARK (1962) starring Gordon Scott and Gianna. Both movies directed by Luigi Capuano. No information yet on the audio options (if English will be included).
Update: Amazon.fr has both movies listed and audio options are limited to Italian and French only, no English.
I wonder why so many European distributors are suddenly releasing titles on DVD and not on BD. I’m happy for these releases but HD is the way of the future.
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 REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) starring Roger Browne. 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)