A contact of mine who lives in Europe communicated with ARTUS FILMS about their much delayed HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) Blu-rays and it seems the entire endeavour is a no-go. The releases have been abandoned or cancelled.
It’s odd that this is happening to these Steve Reeves movies, which are still popular to this day. The trend of advertising an up coming release without having final closure on the deals is annoying. The packaging was excellent but what’s the point of claiming these titles when the thing wasn’t finalized behind the scenes? It’s very odd way of doing business.
As I stated in my last post, the German Gladiator 2-pack was canceled and I was refunded. I didn’t return it or ask for a refund. It most likely was lost during the terrible floods that besieged Germany. So I re-ordered it and I finally got it today. Is it worth buying? For those who only watch movies in English…no. It’s not worth it. There’s only the German dubs in this pack. Not even the Italian versions are included. And there’s no English dub as well. For me, as a PEPLUM mega fan, I’m glad I bought it even though it’s pretty much the same as what’s available out there. Here’s a quick round-up. The size of the screenshots reflect the differences in resolution.
SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS
The movie is the same as the Italian DVD but at a higher resolution and in German only.
José Greci. The prints are identical but the German one is at a higher resolution.
The runtime between the two prints are virtually the same, minus a minute or so with the German print. 1024×572 is the resolution, which is higher than the print from the Italian DVD.
Note: I incorrectly named this movie as SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME in previous posts. I corrected it.
REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS
Now this one IS different than what’s available out there but it closely resembles the Italian copy I have from an Italian TV broadcast. The German print from the 2-pack is overly saturated and not as sharp.
Rodalno Lupi and Renato Baldini. The German print has more info on the left side but less on the right side than the Italian one.
The runtime is very different. As usual, the German print is cut. Its runtime is 82 minutes (PAL) while the Italian copy is 93 minutes (also PAL). That’s a whopping 11 minutes removed from the German print. I have to check it out further to see what was cut. The resolution for the German print is at 1000×428. Again, this resolution is higher than the one from the Italian TV broadcast.
Note: the runtimes posted at the Amazon.de page are incorrect.
I pre-ordered the German two pack DVD set with REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) starring Mickey Hargitay, and SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) starring Roger Browne. I got confirmation from AMAZON.de in July that the DVD was shipped. I was happy. There are few DVDs or Blu-rays on the horizon and I wanted to see the quality of the image for both movies. Well, today I got an email from AMAZON.de saying that I got a refund for the DVD because it was returned. I was baffled. So I checked ny AMAZON.de account and yes, I got the refund. The DVD was apparently returned to Amazon. I never got it so I’m not the one who returned it. Maybe it had something to do with the disastrous floods in Germany. Regardless, I re-ordered the DVD again. Let’s hope this won’t happen again.
Regular reader Joe mentioned that HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) are available on Youtube in 4K. He provided the links to two separate channels. The prints there are pretty good. Are they truly 4K though?
The versions available at the Youtube channel are:
HERCULES is the International English version, available on the French DVD. It’s not the Avco Embassy English dub.
As for HERCULES UNCHAINED, it’s from the German DVD. Many scenes are cut, including Ulysses telling Hercules he’s fighting Antaeus, which are identical to the cuts found on this German DVD.
Both movies were uploaded to their respective channels yesterday!
Thanks to Joe for the quick updates on these uploads.
I successfully transferred the *uncut* copy of ANTONY & CLEOPATRA (1972), starring and directed by Charlton Heston, from VHS to DVD+R to digital. It wasn’t a difficult process since I had an old DVD / VCR recorder that still works. It was just a question of setting it up correctly, including buying a small monitor to connect to DVD recorder in order to view the making of the DVD+R. So, new monitor and new blank DVD+Rs and that was it. I watched the movie has it was being recorded. The uncut version is the only version worth watching. I have different versions of this and it’s amazing how the uncut version, though a bit long at time, flows so much more smoothly than the cut versions out there.
From the myriad of stories and characters that would be great as a TV series, the first thing that pops-up in my mind is a series based on the Argonauts. Hercules would appear from time to time with each member of the crew getting storylines. It would very cool and fascinating. HERCULES (1958) was the first motion picture to focus on the fabled crew of the Argo. THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) were other movies which were based on the Argonauts. Those movies showed how we barely knew all the members of the crew. A TV series would give time to explore and expand all the adventures, old and new, the men experienced.
The actors are: Fulvio Carrara as Castor, Willy Colombini as Pollux, Fabrizio Mioni as Jason, Aldo Pini as Tifi, Steve Reeves as Hercules, Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses, Andrea Fantasia as Laertes and Gino Mattera as Orpheus. From HERCULES (1958).
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.