I came across an HD print of HERCULES THE AVENGER (1965) starring Reg Park as Hercules and Giovanni Cianfriglia as Antaeus. Now the clip is short but the quality of the print is jaw dropping. This movie has never been available in a clear print ever…even the Retromedia DVD is in poor quality. In widescreen but a terrible print. Seeing it in HD is amazing. I’ll have more in future posts, either here or at the main blog, once I get more information on it.
Amazon Prime Canada movie selection is terrible, certainly in regards to PEPLUM movies. Here’s what’s available when searching ‘HERCULES’
Not much. Well, there is the French version of THE MIGHTY URSUS, called LA FUREUR D’HERCULE (1961) starring Ed Fury. So I watched it and it says at the bottom of the movie it’s in HD.
Taking screenshots of Amazon Prime from my computer is impossible. The screen is black or blank. So. I took a photo of the images with my iPhone.
The photo is fuzzy because the motion of the movie but I have to say that the quality of the image itself is pretty good. Not perfect but better than anything out there. It resembles the German DVD but at a higher resolution and less cropping on the sides. The opening credits are in German but the movie itself is in French. Anyway, it’s a nice surprise. Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes.
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.
I recently got the ARTUS FILMS release of THE MAGNIFICENT GlADIATOR (1964) starring Mark Forest and Marilù Tolo. This is definitely the best print yet that is until an HD print is made available. I like this film. It has everything a PEPLUM movie should have. I like watching it but the copies I have in my collection (7 different prints) are fairly ordinary in quality. This one definitely beats all previous releases. The Italian and French tracks are on it. No English track. The runtime is 91 minutes 28 seconds. I have a Fan Dub print in English at 95 minutes. The runtime at IMDb is at 95 minutes. It seems this French release is uncut since it’s in PAL format, at 25 frames per second, which would make a 95 minutes long movies at 24 FPS be roughly 91 minutes at 25 FPS. Recommended.
Marilù Tolo and Jolanda Modio
A German Blu-ray edition of SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961), starring Jack Palance, Guy Madison and Edy Vessel, is set to be available on October 14, 2021. According to the Koch website, the English track is included along with Italian and German audios. The website touts that this is the first HD release of this title. Great news.
Jack Palance in SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR
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.
This is a follow-up to a previous article…
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.
The never-ending saga of the GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961) Kino Lorber Blu-ray release has been shelved indefinitely. KL announced the tentative release back in November 2019 and has been delayed repeatedly up until they couldn’t pretend anymore. I’m not surprise about this announcement. I’ve chronicled the entire saga since day one here at BTG so this announcement is not a shock. Disappointment, yes, but shock, no. It seems those who have the rights to the movie didn’t want KL to get their hands on it. So, it boiled down to a rights issue. I hope Kino Lorber, which is a great distributor, learns a lesson here. Don’t announce a release if the legalities haven’t been fully finalized.
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.
As I already noted here at BTG, Artus Films is also scheduled to release both Steve Reeves’ HERCULES movies on Blu-ray.