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
The new German Blu-ray of THE SON OF SPARTACUS is excellent. The image is clear and the English audio is actually available which is often not the case with German releases. My only issue, and it might be seen as a small one, are the colours. This print seems to have various colour tones and hues.
The German Blu-ray edition (above) vs the Warner Archive edition (below). The Warner one is terrible: too dark and overly red but the sky and ocean seem more realistic than the overly yellowish one of the German Blu-ray. The bag on the lower right is also more true to nature in the Warner release than the German one. Though there’s more general details in the German release, the Warner one seems to have more definition (the ground and bag…) Which is the correct one?
This image above is sharp, much sharper than the Warner archive release but it’s overly greyish blue.
This cropped screenshot from the new Blu-ray has beautiful colours here. Not the yellowish or too blue. Skin tones look great.
The German Blu-ray is excellent but there are some discrepancies in regards to the colour tone in many scenes.
While examining the new German Blu-ray version of CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS (1961), I’ve noticed many particularities. The movie was heavily cut not just for the US version but the French and German versions differ greatly from the uncut Italian version. It’s not just missing scenes but same scenes but shot differently. I’ve seen this in other movies such as QUEEN OF BABYLON (1954), in which a US version was filmed and edited that’s different to the Italian (European) version but this one is simply odd. Take the scene at Monte Gelato waterfalls. The new Blu-ray includes the uncut Italian version and also a DVD-quality version that’s in German. The Monte Gelato scene in both versions are basically the same but shot differently. With Fausto Tozzi and Christine Kaufmann.
Same scene, shot differently: notice how the towel is different. How the placement differs. How he hold is clothes. It’s very odd when one notices it. It’s the same scene but it’s also not the same. Even the clarity is different. BTW, this scene is cut from the French version.
The German and US versions are the Irving Rapper directed/edited one while the uncut Italian version was directed by Lionello De Felice. This is the main explanation but if the scene is basically identical why film it twice? Anyway, with QUEEN OF BABYLON, the Italian/European version felt like a rough cut while the US version felt tighter and more direct. The same thing can’t be said with CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS. It’s more sprawling and has so many different sets and situations but the movie sorta feels, in both the uncut De Felice and Irving Rapper versions, cobbled together.
I received the three German Blu-rays last Friday. I got to look at them for a while and I’m pleased with all of them. The BDs are:
Steve Reeves (or Giovanni Cianfriglia…) in THE SON OF SPARTACUS (1962)
Fausto Tozzi and Christine Kaufmann in a familiar setting in CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS (1961)
Massimo Serata in THE GOLDEN FALCON (1955)
The best of the three is THE SON OF SPARTACUS since it includes the English audio. A definite plus but the image is also excellent. The other two are missing the English dubs and the image quality is good but a bit murky. The super widescreen of THE GOLDEN FALCON is impressive. I wish all these BDs had the English audio but alas it’s often something too hard to ask for.
I’ll have more detailed overviews of each release soon.
I purchased three new Blu-rays from Germany. The cost of shipping is almost as much as the cost of the BDs themselves. I dislike this but I don’t have any choice.
I will post about these new releases once I get them and viewed them.
Germany seems to love the GOR movies starring Urbano Barberini. Even if the movies have yet to appear in any BD or DVD formats in the US, the German market is overflowing with them.
Here are 4 Blu-ray editions to select from:
This is the new Blu-ray release with both GOR and OUTLAW OF GOR. Release April 2023.
Blow are three different collectors covers of the same edition released one year ago.
This one claims to be uncut and it includes the Blu-ray and DVD discs.
And last…the DVD release.
Does anyone out there bought all different editions and what differs from one another?
A batch of new Blu-ray releases of PEPLUM titles from Germany has been announced. Getting all of these will be costly as Amazon Germany adds Shipping & Handling.
THE MONGOLS – In German and Italian only
THE LION OF ST MARK – In German and English
CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS – In German and Italian only!
THE SON OF SPARTACUS (aka The Slave) – In German, Italian and English!
THE GOLDEN FALCON – In German only
And there’s the HANNIBAL Blu-ray I already mentioned before. There’s also a new boxset of GOR and GOR II from Germany that was released in January.
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.
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.
The new Kino Lorber release of MARCO POLO (1962) starring Rory Calhoun and Yoko Tani (below) will be available for purchase on February 7. It can be pre-ordered now. Even though the release is next week, no reviews or screenshots have been made available yet.