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.
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.
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.
In less than a week, the world of PEPLUM cinema lost two great actors. Haya Harareet and Christopher Plummer.
Haya’s star making role was in BEN-HUR (1959) playing Esther. She was truly memorable in it. She also starred in JOURNEY BENEATH THE DESERT (1961), playing Antinea, Queen of Atlantis. She was 89 years old.
Now this Friday, it was announced that Christopher Plummer, who’s most famous PEPLUM role was Commodus in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964), died at the age of 91.
Christoper was the best thing about the humongous movie. The Shakespearean trained actor also played Oedipus in OEDIPUS THE KING (1968).
The humongous GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961) pressbook for the US release is something else. Who wrote these? Anyway, I have it and I get a chuckle in reading the text describing the movie.
‘FEMME STAR’? The text spells Jacques Sernas’ name as Cernas. It describes her as an Amazonian military leader…?!? She’s a Sultan’s aid. It’s nice that they used her actual name and not Maria Canale or something. They’re right in saying she’s best in ‘sexy, villainess roles’.
Again, who wrote this stuff? They definitely didn’t see the movie.
The fun thing about PEPLUM movies are the many monsters and creatures that appear in them even if the movie itself is not considered a horror movie. Something like PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE or MEDUSA VS THE SON OF HERCULES. Or even any Ray Harryhausen movie filled with animated monsters. THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960) is another of such movie. It’s a veritable monster show.
Hercules (Mickey Hargitay) fights the Hydra
There’s this monster at the very end of the movie.
And these men turned into killer trees…with Jayne Mansfield in the clutches of killer branches.