PEPLUM actor Mark Forest died on January 7 at the age of 89. He made 12 movies, all entertaining and fun. I wrote a comprehensive overview of his career and his movies at the main PEPLUM TV blog. Make sure to check it out.
None of his films have made it on Blu-ray. Many of his movies have been broadcast in HD but never published to Blu-ray.
What can one write about 2021? The faster it’s forgotten the better?
We’re still going through a 2 year strong pandemic even though it’s seemingly on its last leg. Hopefully, 2022 will be more productive, and more great PEPLUM titles will be released on Blu-ray or in HD.
Happy new year everyone!
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
If you’re not familiar with ARTUS FILMS, a French film distribution company, you can have a crash course on their titles at their Vimeo channel. The channel has trailers and even VOD you can rent. PEPLUM movies and other genres. Of course, the movies are not in English but it’s an excellent glimpse into the PEPLUM genre. I just ordered THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR DVD. Hopefully the image on the DVD is as good as the clip below.
ARTUS FILMS VIMEO
There’s a current batch of PEPLUM titles now available in HD. These titles are not available on Blu-ray but were broadcast in HD or are available for streaming. This bodes well for the genre. Titles long left in obscurity now look absolutely amazing! Looking forward to more titles in the future.
Above and below: CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER (1960) starring Debra Paget and Corrado Pani. The most stunning HD print of a PEPLUM title, even surpassing the equally stunning German Blu-ray of THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves. I’m just amazed by the clarity of the image. This movie has not been released on BR but is available as a streaming title in Italy.
Above and below (2): Another beautiful print of a favourite movie of mine, ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES (1962) starring Georges Marchal. Not as stunning as CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER or THIEF OF BAGHDAD it’s still great to see.
ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES was filmed on the Canary Islands. As the image above shows, the image quality is not as perfect as CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER.
Above and below: SULEIMAN THE CONQUEROR (1961), starring Giorgia Moll and Alberto Farnese (above) is hard to get movie and previous prints were always disappointing. Not anymore. Though not super pristine as other prints (as the below screengrab shows), is a definite improvement over other releases. Worthy of a Fan Dub.
And last but not least. A recent showing of SON OF SAMSON (1960) on the Italian network, RAI. The image is stunning. Unfortunately, the aspect ratio is not full 1920×1280 HD. It, and Mark, still look great though.
HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964) is one of Mark Forest best PEPs. It’s colourful, action packed and the setting is sorta original. Giuliano is barely featured in the movie’s posters. Well, when the film was re-released in the 1970s all reference to Mark disappeared. It became a Giuliano Gemma movie. Giuliano is on the movie but he’s not the main star. Mark was. But by the 1970s, Mark had disappeared from the world of acting and Gemma was a popular star, thanks mainly to his Spaghetti Westerns. Even the VHS home release had Giuliano on the cover. Mark is nowhere to be seen.
How to determine if a movie poster is legit. This one looks real but it’s actually not. It’s quite clever but not authentic. How can you tell?
Addendum: it looks like the poster is actually legit. It’s from the UK release. The reason it looked fake to me because of the misspelling of Giuliano Gemma’s name but mostly because the part of the artwork is from the original US poster (the chained women) of GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON, released in 1963, but the image of Mark is from HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN, which was released in 1964. How can a poster from 1963, in English, have a photo from a movie made a year later? This aspect didn’t make any sense to me but it seems the UK release was in 1965, after both films were already released and they cobbled images and artwork from both movies for this specific release. Cinematic confusion!