BY THE GODS! magazine…

The long delayed BY THE GODS! magazine was completed a few weeks ago and I got the first published edition. I examined the printed magazine, which is cool, to see if there were corrections to be made. Here’s a small preview.

Cover of the magazine.

Inside the magazine.

I found a couple of minor errors in the magazine and I’ve corrected them. I’m waiting for a few things to sort out. Once everything is done, the magazine will be available, hopefully in September. The magazine is a print on demand type. There will be a printed version and a digital version. I’m sorting out everything before it goes live.

Anyway, more on this in the near future!

Coming soon: BY THE GODS! magazine

This blog was created in anticipation of a magazine I had been planning for a while but the unexpected events of the last 2 years or so delayed everything. The first edition of BY THE GODS! is completed and I’ve used an online service that publishes magazines on demand. It will soon be available. I’m just making sure everything is right.

More on this in the near future.

New HD TV broadcast of HERCULES…

A new HD version of HERCULES was recently shown in Italy, on RAI (see screenshot above with the RAI logo), and it s now available at some websites. Hurray! Well, hold on there. The version is the exact same version as the Japanese Blu-ray, with that odd filter. The image is sharp but the filter gets in the way of enjoying it. The good thing is, someone added the English audio to it. The bad thing, it’s not the preferred English audio. Here’s a quick observation of this print:

Runtime:

The runtime of this new print is 1:38:54. The Japanese Blu-ray is 1:43:10. The Italian TV broadcast is in PAL which explains the shorter time but it’s the same print.

Audio:

The audio of the Italian broadcast is identical to the Japanese Blu-ray which is not good since it’s very weak.

Someone added the English audio to this print, and this one is robust and stronger than the soft Italian one.

The question is: who added the English audio to this Italian broadcast? I’m happy it was added but unfortunately, it’s not my preferred English dub. The one included on this print is the International English audio, dubbed in Italy. The version seen in North America, the ‘Avco Embassy’ version, is, imo, better. Even though there are some quirks in regards to the dialogue, the voices are more warm, less shrill than the International English version.

Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina. Beautiful!

Intro:

This Italian broadcast doesn’t have ‘Joseph E. Levine presents’ at the beginning, which is correct since Levine acquired the movie while it was in cinemas in Italy. The Japanese version also doesn’t have the Levine intro.

Opening and closing credits:

The opening credit in this one is the original Italian version with the red mural and Italian text.

The International English version of it has an English version, with HERCULES as title with the red mural. But the US version is different with an animated opening credits. I like both but since this is from an Italian broadcast, the Italian version is to be expected.

The closing credit is whole other matter. Back in the past, movies had THE END when a movie concluded. In Italian, it’s FINE. Well, this copy doesn’t have the FINE closing credit. The Japanese Blu-ray also doesn’t have the FINE closing frame. The music, which culminates when FINE appears, is missing. The movie and score peter out and it fades to black. The US copy has a THE END and closing credit with lists of actors and crew.

Above: US version with THE END over Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina. Below is the FINE with the robust score, familiar with all fans of this movie. In this new copy, there’s no FINE. The movie just fades to black before the crescendo followed by FINE. It’s the same on the Japanese Blu-ray.

Image:

The image is sharp and it’s always nice to see the movie at such a resolution. But if you have the Japanese Blu-ray, it’s not much of an improvement since they are the same.

Above: screenshot from the RAI broadcast. Below: screenshot taken from Japanese Blu-ray. They’re the same. It’s has that odd filter which softens the image, certainly the skin of the actors. It makes everyone ‘glow.’

I’m happy this copy exists but it’s not the actual version seen in movie theatres back in the 1950s. I don’t know why this movie is so plagued with odd aspects. Why is so difficult to get a proper copy without defects?

Maybe it’s cursed.

THE SON OF SPARTACUS Blu-ray colour issues…

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.

New German Blu-rays have arrived…

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.

Batch of new titles on Blu-ray…

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

Link

THE LION OF ST MARK – In German and English

Link

CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS – In German and Italian only!

Link

THE SON OF SPARTACUS (aka The Slave) – In German, Italian and English!

Link

THE GOLDEN FALCON – In German only

Link

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.

What made HERCULES (1958) so popular?

One of the aspects of the PEPLUM genre which irks me is  the dismissive attitude of the success of HERCULES (1958). Many say that it became popular because of clever marketing by Joseph E. Levine. The  marketing aspect for the U.S. release might be one of the reasons but not the only reason. This claim basically says the movie is worthless and that it didn’t have any redeeming qualities.

I’ll be writing about this for an article in the soon to be published magazine of BY THE GODS!.

What do you think made this movie such a success? The movie rivalled along much bigger Hollywood movies.

What is it just clever marketing? The movie is just darn good? The casting of Steve Reeves as Hercules?

Steve Reeves as Hercules and crew of the Argonaut.

Luciano Marin…

The remarkable thing about Luciano Marin’s career in PEPLUM movies is the number of PEPLUM actors he worked with.

Here’s just a short example:

Luciano starred along Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS. With Giulia Rubini.

Luciano worked on THE TARTARS with Victor Mature

Then Luciano co-starred as the son of Hercules (Reg Park) in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN

Then the Italian actor was in COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE with Reg Lewis.

And Luciano also starred with Alan Steel in SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE.

There are other movies but just this list is quite amazing. What a lucky dude!