PEPLUM titles advertised in old US newspaper

It’s always cool to see old newspapers with ads for PEPLUM movies. This one is a great example.

Now for those who aren’t aware of this in the past movies were advertised heavily in newspapers, mainly in the ‘Entertainment’ section. It was one of  the best ways to reach a vast audience…back then. Not today. But this selection of ads illustrates the reality of PEPLUM movies released in the US. We see  THE AVENGER (1962) staring Steve Reeves. I never cared for that title. It’s also known as WAR OF THE TROJANS or THE LAST GLORY OF TROY. It was the sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE (1961). As we can see it opened in 4 cinemas (‘starts today’) along with THE SECRET MARK OF D’ARTAGNAN (1962) starring George Nader. So, basically a double feature. Or maybe the two movies shared the same cinemas but patrons had to pay specifically for one movie only. Regardless, it shows how PEPLUM Swashbucklers were paired with ‘mythological’ titles like THE AVENGER. Some people wonder I cover these ‘swashbuckler’ movies or wonder why they’re even considered PEPLUM movies. Well, here’s your proof why.

Side note: There’s also an ad for MUSCLE BEACH PARTY starring future PEPLUM star Peter Lupus (aka Rock Stevens).

HERCULES released by Archway Film Distributors (Brit)

When HERCULES, the Steve Reeves classic, was released in 1958 around the world, the name Joseph E. Levine wasn’t featured on any posters, lobby cards or even during the opening credits. Levine eventually purchased the rights for the movie for distribution in North America and he made a fortune since it became a success in the US. But the movie was also a hit around the world sans Levine’s help.

HERCULES was distributed in Britain (presumably the UK) by Archway Film Distributors. Below are some of the advertising and lobby cards of this release.

This looks like the cover of a press book, and if not then it’s the ad shown in print (newspapers, magazines, etc). It’s really cool since:

1 – Joseph E Levine’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on it.
2 – It states that the movie is making ‘record business’ on its premiere run
3 – It has, in very small print, the name of the original Italian film company

The photos for the lobby cards set are mostly different than the US one. Unfortunately, there are no dates on them.

Stuff from the UK is interesting in that titles released directly to TV in the US were actually released in theatres in the UK. And most often than not their titles differed from the (goofy) ones for the US. In this case though, the title for the US and UK distributions were the same.

New DVD set is same as old DVD set…

This DVD collection, THE HERCULES COLLECTION, from SHOUT! FACTORY, looks like a good set but then upon closer look, the set is actually just the same as an old and rare DVD set, which I have, repackaged and with Steve Reeves on the cover.

There are 6 titles in the set:

The Loves Of Hercules (aka Hercules Vs. The Hydra) (1960)

The Trojan Horse (1961)

Medusa Against The Son Of Hercules (1962)

Conquest Of Mycene (aka Hercules vs. The Molloch) (1963)

The Triumph Of Hercules (1964)

Hercules Against The Sons Of The Sun (1964)

If you look at the old set (below), THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES, they are almost the same titles:

THE LION OF THEBES is missing from the new collection.

In the old set released by Trimark, there were 4 different DVD boxes for the 7 titles. The new set, with Steve on the cover, only has two disks for the 6 titles. The packaging of the old set , though nothing stunning, was more fun and elaborate the new one.

All movies are in 4:3 aspect ratio. No widescreen. So, no upgrade in the new set.

It’s very deceptive but then most people don’t have the old set. But the thing is, by putting Steve on the cover they made it look like a collection of Steve Reeves’ Hercules movies but it’s not. There is one movie in the set with Steve, THE TROJAN HORSE, but it’s NOT a Hercules movie. Some people have bought it thinking HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) were included. So beware.

SHOUT! FACTORY have also falsely claimed many scenes from HERCULES (1958) on Youtube.

It would be better just to buy to old set, since it has THE LION OF THEBES in it. Of course, the old set might be more expensive but I just don’t see the point of buying the new set, unless it’s super cheap.

Also, don’t confuse this set with another HERCULES DVD set, called HERCULES COLLECTION:

My Christmas present…THIEF OF BAGHDAD Blu-ray

The German Blu-ray of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) starring Steve Reeves arrived this week, just in time for Christmas. It’s such a nice edition that I’m very happy. Is it perfect? Not really but it’s simply the best edition available anywhere. I’ll have more on this at the PEPLUM TV blog.

Japanese ads and article for HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

What’s with Japanese poster art and design which makes things so cool and dramatic? Anyway, these vintage ads and article were taken from old magazines.

HERCULES (1958)

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). Great montage which includes stuff from the first film.

I can’t read Japanese so don’t ask me what it’s saying. Haha!

Rejoice…THIEF OF BAGHDAD in HD!

Great news on the Blu-ray front:  THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)  starring Steve Reeves, Giorgia Moll, Hedy Vessel and Arturo Dominici will finally get a proper HD transfer. This has been a long time coming. All DVD releases were terrible, which horrible pan & scan or faux widescreen aspect ratios, and murky image quality. This is one of my most sought after titles and it’ll be available in Germany. I’ve already ordered it. This Blu-ray also has the Italian, German and English audio. This is a great Christmas present. In fact, the movie has a very Christmassy feel to it so hopefully I’ll receive before the holidays. Thanks to Chris for this tip.

Link to Amazon.de : THIEF OF BAGHDAD

Check out the screengrabs.

Look at what just arrived in the mail…

I just received the two Blu-rays, HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959), from Japan via Amazon. I’m currently watching the first film while I’m writing this. Very interesting. The image is a clear improvement over what’s available even though the image has some scratches and a few defects, and some filters of sorts. I’ll write more on these Blu-rays in the near future. No English track. Only in Italian. I’ve seen this movie so many times that it doesn’t matter.

And this too…

More on this in the future…

Addendum:

I’m now watching HERCULES UNCHAINED and the quality is definitely poorer than HERCULES. Not a true Blu-ray transfer.

PEPLUM on Blu-Ray

Third update! I guess this is probably the most complete list of titles available on Blu-ray.

Second update! I’ve included the links where to purchase them. As for Canadians, you can switch to Amazon.ca for items I’ve listed here from Amazon.com.

Updated!

The number of PEPLUM titles available in HD is quite limited. I’m not including Hollywood productions which are all available on Blu-Ray discs. Titles like BEN-HUR (1959), THE VIKINGS (1958) or SPARTACUS (1960) can be found in the Blu-Ray format. What I’m writing about in this post are the European titles. Still missing are HERCULES (1958) or GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS (1959). The list is endless. Here’s a short list of titles available on Blu-Ray.

THOR & THE AMAZON WOMEN (1963) starring Susy Andersen and Joe Robinson. Italian print.

ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964) starring Kirk Morris. Italian print.

HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) starring Reg Park. German print. English audio included.

ATOR THE AVENGING EAGLE (1982) starring Miles O’Keeffe. German print. English audio included.

Iron Warrior (1987) starring Miles O’Keeffe. US print.

REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960) starring Rhonda Fleming and Lang Jeffries. US print.

THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1960) starring Rory Calhoun and many others. US print.

The following titles were provided by Nick. Thanks.

SINBAD OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1987) starring Lou Ferrigno. US print.

HERCULES (1983) starring Lou Ferrigno. US print.

THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES (1985) starring Lou Ferrigno. US print.

BARABBAS (1961) starring Anthony Quinn. French print. English audio included.

MESSALINA (1960) starring Belinda Lee. French print. English audio included. According to reviews at Amazon the transfer is not really good.

SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963) starring Yvonne Furneaux and John Ericson. German print. According to reviews at Amazon, the quality of the print is apparently poor.

THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) starring Tab Hunter and Rossana Podesta. US print.

The following Blu-rays titles were provided by Joseph. Thanks!

KINO LORBER will be releasing the Blu-ray of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) starring Reg Park.

COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1960) starring Rory Calhoun and many others. German print which is much better image quality. I suspect the US one is a sort of up conversion from the previous release. You can compare the US and German versions here. No English audio though.

And drum roll…here are Blu-ray prints of these…

HERCULES (1958) starring Steve Reeves. Japanese print. In Italian with Japanese subs. Region A (which works in North America) but no English audio. The quality is apparently average.

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) starring Steve Reeves. Same as above: Region A with no English audio. Only Italian with Japanese subs.

You can purchase both together in a box set.

I already purchased the two.

ULYSSES (1954) starring Kirk Douglas. German print with English audio included.

And suggested by Gary Smith, two Mario Bava flicks:

KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (1966) starring Cameron Mitchell. US print.

ERIK THE CONQUEROR (1961) starring Cameron Mitchell, George Ardisson and Joe Robinson. US print.

and this one as well,

LONG LIVE ROBIN HOOD (1971) starring Giuliano Gemma and Mark Damon. German print with English audio included.

Here are others I found:

THE BARBARIANS (1987) starring Peter Paul and David Paul. German print with English audio included.

And two Blu-ray editions of:

MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT (1965) starring Horst Buchholz. German edition. Suggested by Nick.

But there’s also this one:

MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT (1965) starring Horst Buchholz. Spanish print. Reading the reviews, this edition seems to be problematic.

THE BEASTMASTER (1983) starring Marc Singer and Tanya Roberts. Australian print. It doesn’t seem to be available.

THE BEASTMASTER (1983) starring Marc Singer and Tanya Roberts. Spanish print. English audio included.

THE BLACK TULIP (1964) starring Alan Delon and Virna Lisi. German print. All regions.

THE BLACK TULIP (1964) starring Alan Delon and Virna Lisi. French print.

The ANGELIQUE series is available on Blu-ray in French or German.

WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY (1966) starring Karin Dor and Terence Hill. No English audio. The silent version is also available on Blu-ray.

Another Blu-ray release:

MESSALINA (1960) starring Belinda Lee. Spanish print. English audio included. Thanks, Gary.

—-

I’ve updated the list thanks to input from others. More than before but still missing major titles, mainly in English. In light of this, a great source of PEPLUM titles in HD are from TV broadcasts. None of them in English though.

If you have any additional titles to add, leave a comment. I’ll add them to this list.

Mistakes and the PEPLUM genre

Mistakes, confusion and the PEPLUM genre go hand in hand. For example, here’s a screenshot of the massive book, L’ANTIQUITE AU CINEMA by Herve Dumont. You’d think they would know their stuff but alas even authors who write books on PEPLUM movies don’t know their stuff.

Mistakes are normal (I’ve done my fair share of mistakes) but this one is inexcusable. The author cites this photo as being from HERCULES (1958…not 1957) when in fact it’s from HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). It’s pretty obvious to anyone who has seen these two films. With Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina and Gabriele Antonini.