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.
While some PEPLUM titles are finally being released in HD or on Blu-ray, other movies are still hard to find or just impossible to find. One of these ‘lost’ PEPLUM moves is JACOB AND ESAU (1963) starring Ken Clark and Wandisa Guida, just to name a few actors. This alone makes it a must see for PEPLUM fans like me. So what happened to the movie?
The only thing we have to go by are the movie posters and fotobustas (below).
As expected for such a rare movie, IMDb has no reviews listed. The book HEROES NEVER DIE has a review of the movie but quite frankly it’s dubious. The author claimed to someone I know that he saw the movie on Youtube. This seems unlikely since someone else would have seen it. So, I’m asking people out there: have you seen JACOB AND ESAU?
I usually post about Blu-rays of Non-Hollywood movies. Aside from certain titles, nearly all PEPLUM movies made in Hollywood have been released on Blu-ray or HD. I’m talking about the big Hollywood productions. In fact, they’re now releasing some of these titles in 4K.
Two new titles have been released and they’re sorta flew under the radar. THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953) and SWORD OF THE VALIANT (1984). The latter is not really a Hollywood movie since it was made by Cannon Group but it’s now own by MGM. Cannon Group were always outside of Hollywood though some of there titles were sometimes released through a Hollywood studio.
These Blu-ray releases are excellent.
I always thought SWORD OF THE VALIANT looked cheap back in the good old days of VHS but with this BR release, the movie looks quite good. Much better than it ever did. It still sorta looks on the cheap side but the pristine widescreen image gives the movie a cool classy look. It’s a shame about that wig Miles O’keeffe had to wear throughout the movie.
THE GOLDEN BLADE is one of those small Arabian adventure movies, only 81 minutes long, which are often overlooked by fans of the genre or in general. This one is one of the best of the bunch. Fun, colourful, well acted certainly by Piper Laurie. The Blu-ray is beautiful. It’s not a widescreen production and the movie was clearly made in a Hollywood studio lot but I have to say that the BR really makes this movie shine. Some of the lighting, usually seen as flat in previous releases, now looks quite beautiful and elaborate (here’s a comparison of the movie). A fun little movie with Rock Hudson as the action hero. I’ll have full reviews of these titles at PEPLUMTV.com in the near future.
The PEPLUM TV channel has had several videos pulled by Youtube not because the movie or clips are copyrighted but because the score of a certain movie is. The score for SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) by Carlo Rustichelli is currently being used to invalidate uploads, even uploads that have been there for years. As it’s often the case with PEPLUM movies, the score for this movie starring Jack Palance was re-used countless of times in other movies. By claiming the score is protected, the PEPLUM TV channel has lost about a dozen uploads, just from that one score. The claimant, a giant multination music corporation, is going after other scores in order to remove uploads which have on Youtube without issues for years. It’s a terrible tactic but for now it’s working. I don’t mind if a music score is claimed and revenues go its artist but to block or ban an upload just because of that is ineffective. These films are popular and keeping them in obscurity does more of a disservice to these movies than anything else.