That new HERCULES UNCHAINED HD from RAI TV…

Like HERCULES (1958) recently, there’s a new RAI TV HD of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) making the rounds on the internet. Like the HERCULES one, the HERCULES UNCHAINED print is the same as the Japanese Blu-ray. It’s sorta nice but it’s not a new transfer. The biggest issue is that it’s cropped or zooming in. It doesn’t have the original aspect ratio which makes it pretty much worthless. Here’s are screenshots of the RAI TV broadcast and the German DVD (below, from my collection).

The screen shot above is from the German DVD. It’s the correct aspect ratio. Below is the one from RAI TV (and also the Japanese Blu-ray). The image is zoomed in or cropped.

Above is a screen shot from RAI TV version (and Japanese Blu-ray) and below is the same scene from the German DVD. Everything inside the red rectangle is what you see in the RAI TV version. Everything outside the red rectangle has been cropped out. That’s a lot of information.

I really don’t like this cropped print. The original framing should be available. If RAI TV can’t even show the correct version of this classic, I’m afraid the movie will never get released properly in HD.

BY THE GODS! magazine…

The long delayed BY THE GODS! magazine was completed a few weeks ago and I got the first published edition. I examined the printed magazine, which is cool, to see if there were corrections to be made. Here’s a small preview.

Cover of the magazine.

Inside the magazine.

I found a couple of minor errors in the magazine and I’ve corrected them. I’m waiting for a few things to sort out. Once everything is done, the magazine will be available, hopefully in September. The magazine is a print on demand type. There will be a printed version and a digital version. I’m sorting out everything before it goes live.

Anyway, more on this in the near future!

Coming soon: BY THE GODS! magazine

This blog was created in anticipation of a magazine I had been planning for a while but the unexpected events of the last 2 years or so delayed everything. The first edition of BY THE GODS! is completed and I’ve used an online service that publishes magazines on demand. It will soon be available. I’m just making sure everything is right.

More on this in the near future.

PEPLUM star publishes new book…

Bella Cortez was one of the PEPLUM genre’s most beautiful actresses. She made a handful of movies and quietly disappeared from the world of cinema. Years ago, I found her Facebook profile and befriended her, one of her first Facebook friends. Anyway, we kept communicating back and forth for some time. She told me she was woking on a book (above) in which she co-autored with someone else. She wanted access to beautiful prints of herself for the book and saw the many good quality versions I had of her films. Eventually, she ‘ghosted’ me and she never posted anything at my FB account. But I remembered that she was going to publish a book and, lo and behold, it is available at Amazon in Italy. She used a photo from VULCAN – SON OF JUPITER as Aetna. Since the book is in Italian, it’s difficult for me to get it all. If someone has additional info on this, can you leave a comment. Thanks!

Bella in GIANT OF METROPOLIS

Ed Fury, R.I.P.

Ed Fury, one of the original PEPLUM stars of the 1960s, died on February 24. He was a young 94 years old. Ed starred as Ursus in 3 movies, THE MIGHTY URSUS (above and below), URSUS IN THE VALLEY OF LIONS and URSUS IN THE LAND OF FIRE. He also starred in a few other PEPLUM productions. For a full list of his movies, visit the main PEPLUM TV blog.

PEPLUM TV

Are US prints of PEPLUM movies gone for good?

With the recent Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of MARCO POLO (1962), something seems to be missing: US prints of PEPLUM movies. The new MARCO POLO BD is the International English Dub with the Angelo Lavagnino score, not the US print with opening credits reflecting the changes to it and no Les Baxter score. The US print, againt, is M.I.A.. I’m happy there are Blu-ray releases of PEPLUM movies but the missing US versions is a sad reality. Aside from HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (below), starring Reg Park, there hasn’t been a decent HD print of a US version ever. Yes, the recent HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN Blu-ray release is the US version but the print is terrible. No US version of SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD and now MARCO POLO. I sense a bad trend.

HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS German DVD…

I wasn’t aware that HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS had a German DVD. It was released in January 2020. I guess the pandemic made everyone overlook everything. Anyway, the DVD has a German and English audio which is a yeah!!! But looking at the specs (below), and the aspect ratio is standard 4:3. So it’s a definite no for me. This is one of those PEPLUM titles with needs to be seen in widescreen.

What made HERCULES (1958) so popular?

One of the aspects of the PEPLUM genre which irks me is ┬áthe dismissive attitude of the success of HERCULES (1958). Many say that it became popular because of clever marketing by Joseph E. Levine. The ┬ámarketing aspect for the U.S. release might be one of the reasons but not the only reason. This claim basically says the movie is worthless and that it didn’t have any redeeming qualities.

I’ll be writing about this for an article in the soon to be published magazine of BY THE GODS!.

What do you think made this movie such a success? The movie rivalled along much bigger Hollywood movies.

What is it just clever marketing? The movie is just darn good? The casting of Steve Reeves as Hercules?

Steve Reeves as Hercules and crew of the Argonaut.