The new German Blu-ray edition of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) is scheduled to be released next week, on December 9. Initially, it was supposed to have been released during spring but it has been delayed. The old German DVD release of this movie wasn’t that good with odd video artifacts reminiscent of old VHS transfers. Hopefully the Blu-ray won’t replicate these issues. Even so I’m taking a wait and see approach with this BD. The new Japanese BD is pretty good even though it’s not complete. Anyway, the German Blu-ray is not yet available on Amazon for pre-order so that’s that. Not a good sign. One should be able to pre-order by now.
There are more Blu-ray releases scheduled which I’ll mention in another post.
I’ve been looking for this rare board game based on the blockbuster BEN-HUR (1959) epic on eBay and someone finally posted one for sale…at $472 US (or 400 Euros). It’s in Spanish from Spain. It’s in pretty good condition but as much of a PEPLUM fan I am, I wouldn’t pay that much for one.
Cecil B. DeMille’s THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) was a rare PEPLUM movie of the 1930s. It was a success and 11 years later, the movie was re-released for the second time (it was also re-issued in 1938). New footage was added to the 1944, which can be seen in the trailer posted below. For decades, this version was the only version available. The original pre-code 1932 cut, with all the naughty stuff, was too racy once the Hayes code was set in place. All the cuts scenes were eventually restored in the 1990s and the 1944 version disappeared even if for many people it was, with the WW 2 angle, the one they saw on television.
The question is: will this 1944 version ever be available again?
Disney has stated that they will never release THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959) on DVD or Blu-ray, or even make it available for streaming or cable in its original widescreen format in the United States. Ever. So what’s the solution? Whether one is a fan of it is not important. Removing a movie from circulation is wrong but Disney has no interest in it. Fortunately, the movie is available in an odd Italian DVD set. It includes the 4:3 version in English (horrible print) and a widescreen print only in Italian. A Fan Dub is in oder I guess but in the meantime what’s the solution? My most excellent source of PEPLUM movies already got a working set of English subtitles for the widescreen Italian version. Voila!
It’s odd that one has to watch a Hollywood movie in a language other than English to be able to see it but there’s nothing one can do about it. Oddly enough, watching this PEPLUM movie in Italian actually makes it more ‘authentic’.
Susan Kohner and Howard Keel in this hard to find movie.
While some PEPLUM titles are finally being released in HD or on Blu-ray, other movies are still hard to find or just impossible to find. One of these ‘lost’ PEPLUM moves is JACOB AND ESAU (1963) starring Ken Clark and Wandisa Guida, just to name a few actors. This alone makes it a must see for PEPLUM fans like me. So what happened to the movie?
The only thing we have to go by are the movie posters and fotobustas (below).
As expected for such a rare movie, IMDb has no reviews listed. The book HEROES NEVER DIE has a review of the movie but quite frankly it’s dubious. The author claimed to someone I know that he saw the movie on Youtube. This seems unlikely since someone else would have seen it. So, I’m asking people out there: have you seen JACOB AND ESAU?
Delilah of the Bible is one of the most famous female characters ever and has been often portrayed on screen, at the movies or on TV. Which of the following Delilahs is your favourite? Now, this is not a critique of the movies themselves, meaning one could like a Delilah and not necessarily care for the final movie…or like the actress and like the movie but her portrayal is not the ultimate one.
Hedy Lamarr in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)
Liana Orfei in HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES (1963)
Rosalba Neri in THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE (1965)
Belinda Bauer in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984; TV)
Elizabeth Hurley in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1996; TV)
Caitlin Leahy in SAMSON (2018)
My favourite, of course, is Hedy Lamarr. Then it’s Rosalba Neri, who’s really good in that role. And in third it would be Elizabeth Hurley, not necessarily because of her portrayal but because of the direction, by Nicolas Roeg, makes the whole project interesting.
I like Liana Orfei and I really like HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES but her portrayal is more campy or comical than tragic. As for Belinda Bauer, well, she’s my least favourite for sure. I can’t say anything of Caitlin Leahy.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t have a copy of A STORY OF DAVID (1960) and now I have three versions of it. It’s a rarely shown movie, made for British TV and for ABC, produced in Britain and also filmed in Israel. It stars Jeff Chandler, who also appeared in SIGN OF THE PAGAN (1954).
This is not a review of the movie but the quality of the copies. Since this was made for TV it doesn’t have a widescreen format. I have a German TV broadcast, one US broadcast and one Canadian broadcast (Moviepix). Overall, the German copies is much better than the other two. It looks more cinematic and the frame not as cropped as the other two copies.
Angela Browne and Jeff Chandler
The German copy is much better. The other two are way too dark. There’s virtually no difference between the US and Moviepix copies aside from the resolution. If you clearly, the already small frame in the US and Moviepix copies are more cropped. The German one has more information on the sides.
Basil Sydney as King Saul
The German one looks less like a TV movie.
The major difference are the opening/ closing credits. Since it’s a TV movie, the credits are different than a regular theatrical release. In the US and Moviepix versions, the full credits occur at the end while those end credits are shown at the beginning in the German version. The US and Moviepix versions’ full title is actually A STORY OF DAVID – “The Hunted”. It definitely looks like a TV movie title. The German one is simply A STORY OF DAVID.
I’ll have a full review of this movie at PEPLUMTV.com soon.
With the recent passing of Max Von Sydow, and a quick overview of his PEPLUM titles, one stood out from the pack: his appearance in the TV movie version of SAMSON & DELILAH. It’s an oddly cast movie with Anthony Hamilton as Samson and Belinda Bauer as Delilah. It’s forgotten, certainly compared to other versions. What’s interesting about the TV movie is how they tried or try to sell in on home video.
Not very inspiring packaging. Only the first one has some nice artwork. Does anyone like this version?
I recently purchased a double Blu-ray set of THE ROBE (1953) and THE BIBLE: THE BEGINNING…(1966). It only cost $17. Great deal. The print for THE ROBE is excellent. No complaints. The print for THE BIBLE is also great but the issue, or issues, is with the movie itself. While THE ROBE is a classic ‘Hollywood’ movie, THE BIBLE, directed by John Huston, is anything but. When I purchased the double BR set, I thought that I would finally see that movie correctly since the previous versions I had were so dark that it was nearly impossible to watch the whole thing. Well, unfortunately, the Blu-ray edition is exactly the same: many dark scenes. This means Huston filmed it this way. It’s not all like that but it’s often scenes after scenes of dark moments. It’s a very odd way to approach a subject. The film looks good, even if the overall final product is a tad anemic.
George C. Scott as Abraham. Well, I think that’s him.
Don’t know where his hair and beard begins and ends vis a vis background.
I know electricity didn’t exist back then but wow, can someone turn on the lights?
Huston, who was a genuine director, probably saw that these epics were too bright, too colourful and wanted to imbue this project with a more earthy, serious, and realistic tone but damn, he went a little bit too far here.