I received the Kino Lorber SON OF SAMSON (1960) Blu-ray on Friday so I had the entire weekend to check it out. I have very complaints about it. The only issues are the audio is sorta not loud, there are no extras about the movie and this is not the actual version released in the US 60+ years ago. That’s it. The Blu-ray itself is pretty amazing. Brilliant colours. No transfer issues to be seen anywhere (aside from the soft audio). It’s a must have for fans of the genre.
Nothing much on the BR front. The one interesting title, and it’s a pretty cool one, comes from the new Maria Montez – Jon Hall BD set. The set, which will be released in July, includes WHITE SAVAGE, GYPSY WILDCAT and SUDAN. Of course, their bigger titles, like COBRA WOMAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS and ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES, have all been available on BD already. So this set is not the top Montez – Hall titles but it’s still great news. SUDAN is a pretty cool movie. Buying the set just for that title will be worth it.
The upcoming SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray from Kino Lorber has just gotten a price reduction at Amazon. It was priced as $24.95 before but now sells for $17.99. That’s a pretty good deal. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, do it now and support PEPLUM movies. Official release date: May 10.
Severin has a CALIGULA Blu-ray bundle. A two pack with CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982), directed by Joe D’Amato, and CALIGULA AND MESSALINA (1981), directed by Bruno Mattei. Now I’m aware that these types of ‘x-rated’ PEPLUM movies are not for everyone but it’s still part of the genre, at one extreme. Besides, the Mattei epic uses a lot of scenes from old PEPLUM movies in it which is always fun to spot.
I just want to mention that this blog wasn’t supposed to wrote only about Blu-rays but it’s basically what it has become once and if the magazine project take hold.
Okay, back to Blu-ray releases. Paramount will release KING DAVID (1985) on Blu-ray on April 26. Great news. Unfortunately, it’s KING DAVID. Lol!
Anyway, one has to support all PEPLUM movies. Production is good but the casting of Richard Gere…well, the less said the better. I already have a HD copy of this movie and the movie itself looks good. But I just can’t get past Gere as King David. It’s a shame because it had a good director/crew/cast. Needless to say, this didn’t inspire a Biblical revival in the 1980s. PEPLUM movies were more the Sword & Sorcery or Adventure/Fantasy kind.
The image is nice. The audio is excellent. But this is not from the soon-to-be-released BD. But it is in full HD.
Watching movies in HD is great but it also showcases the bits were the movie tried to cut corners. In one violent battle scene, you can clearly see that mannequins were used for dead soldiers on the field. Oops…
Aside from big Hollywood titles, modest PEPLUM movies in 4K are few and far in between. One of the first Sword and Sorcery movies of the early 1980s is available in 4K, THE BEASTMASTER (1982) from Vinegar Syndrome. I have a soft spot for this movie.
There are already titles, all of them from Hollywood, that are available in 4K, such as SPARTACUS (1960) and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956). See Youtube video linked above. The scene they used for the comparison (below) is not impressive. I see some different, mostly clarity, or less fuzzy, but of all the scenes they could have used from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, they used that one? Mind boggling. Oh well…
As usual, Hollywood big titles are getting the 4K treatment first. There are few PEPLUM movies from Italy on Blu-ray so the prospect of seeing HERCULES (1958) in 4K are not in the immediate future.
Kino Lorber has announced that they will be releasing a Blu-ray later this year of the neglected SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1960), directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Gordon Scott, Yoko Tani, Gabriele Antonini and more. This is excellent news. From the sporadic info going around the internet, it seems the Blu-ray release will have the original Italian cut and the shorter US cut. This is perfect. Every PEPLUM release in North America should include both the original Italian version and the often cut US release.
There’s already a beautiful copy of the movie shown on RAI in Italy (screenshot below). The thing is: will the cut scenes, almost all of them at the beginning, will be in English or in Italian with English subtitles. The US version starts approximately 10 minutes into the original Italian cut. No English dubbing has ever been heard of those 10+ missing minutes.
I finally got the new FURY OF ACHILLES (1962) Blu-ray disc from GOLDEN NINJA VIDEO. The movie stars Gordon Mitchell in his best role. This disc also includes PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (1963) starring Richard Harrison, and THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) starring Steve Reeves.
The movies are not new prints scanned in High Definition. They are up conversions of previous DVD releases. To give you an idea, the PERSEUS one has the SON OF HERCULES song during the opening credits. The original release didn’t have that.
Why was this BD made? I dunno but one can watch these three movies via BD and not from the web I guess. The disc is only $12 so it’s not expensive. If you don’t have these movies then the price might be okay but be sure that the image quality is not High Definition. Personally speaking, since I already have all these titles in my collection, I really didn’t need this disc.
Here are screenshots of the movies.
THE TROJAN HORSE is available on AMAZON PRIME in Canada. It’s the image on the top left. The copy from the BD is on the bottom right. The version at Amazon is not perfect but it is much better that the one on this disc.