Regular reader Joe mentioned that HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) are available on Youtube in 4K. He provided the links to two separate channels. The prints there are pretty good. Are they truly 4K though?
The versions available at the Youtube channel are:
HERCULES is the International English version, available on the French DVD. It’s not the Avco Embassy English dub.
As for HERCULES UNCHAINED, it’s from the German DVD. Many scenes are cut, including Ulysses telling Hercules he’s fighting Antaeus, which are identical to the cuts found on this German DVD.
Both movies were uploaded to their respective channels yesterday!
Thanks to Joe for the quick updates on these uploads.
I successfully transferred the *uncut* copy of ANTONY & CLEOPATRA (1972), starring and directed by Charlton Heston, from VHS to DVD+R to digital. It wasn’t a difficult process since I had an old DVD / VCR recorder that still works. It was just a question of setting it up correctly, including buying a small monitor to connect to DVD recorder in order to view the making of the DVD+R. So, new monitor and new blank DVD+Rs and that was it. I watched the movie has it was being recorded. The uncut version is the only version worth watching. I have different versions of this and it’s amazing how the uncut version, though a bit long at time, flows so much more smoothly than the cut versions out there.
From the myriad of stories and characters that would be great as a TV series, the first thing that pops-up in my mind is a series based on the Argonauts. Hercules would appear from time to time with each member of the crew getting storylines. It would very cool and fascinating. HERCULES (1958) was the first motion picture to focus on the fabled crew of the Argo. THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) were other movies which were based on the Argonauts. Those movies showed how we barely knew all the members of the crew. A TV series would give time to explore and expand all the adventures, old and new, the men experienced.
The actors are: Fulvio Carrara as Castor, Willy Colombini as Pollux, Fabrizio Mioni as Jason, Aldo Pini as Tifi, Steve Reeves as Hercules, Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses, Andrea Fantasia as Laertes and Gino Mattera as Orpheus. From HERCULES (1958).
This blog was created in anticipation of a magazine or zine…but the pandemic occurred and everything was thrown out of the window. I’m slowly trying to get back into it. I have several topics which I want to cover but I actually had a PEPLUM star ready for an interview. I decided to do this interview for the very first publication of the magazine. What better way to start a magazine than with one of the stars from the Golden Era? But the star has stopped communicating with me. Mind you, I was this star’s first Facebook friend 5 or 6 years ago. Gradually this star felt more comfortable communicating via Facebook. I’ve been friends with them for all that time. I never asked for anything. Then this star wanted me to promote a soon to be published biography. I was ok with it but in exchange I asked this star for a written interview. This star had no issues with this. But after I sent them a list of questions they stopped communicating with me. So, the whole concept for the first publication was, again, thrown out of the window. I won’t disclose the name of this star because that’s not the point of this. Who knows, maybe they’ll change their minds (I doubt it). But I have to refocus on another subject of this publication. It sucks. Hopefully, it will be available for fall.
The 1985 release on VHS of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972) is the only uncut copy available in English. There’s a VHS dupe of the movie going around but it’s from Norway with intrusive Norwegian subtitles. There has to be a copy of the US VHS tape available somewhere but alas it’s not. The solution then is to buy a copy of the VHS tape and try to transfer it in digital format. I have a combo VHS / DVD recorder somewhere. I have to find it if it still works. The problem: finding a TV that can connect to it. So, I purchased the tape and once I’ll get it I’ll try to think of the ways I could get it on a DVD disc.
The never-ending saga of the GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961) Kino Lorber Blu-ray release has been shelved indefinitely. KL announced the tentative release back in November 2019 and has been delayed repeatedly up until they couldn’t pretend anymore. I’m not surprise about this announcement. I’ve chronicled the entire saga since day one here at BTG so this announcement is not a shock. Disappointment, yes, but shock, no. It seems those who have the rights to the movie didn’t want KL to get their hands on it. So, it boiled down to a rights issue. I hope Kino Lorber, which is a great distributor, learns a lesson here. Don’t announce a release if the legalities haven’t been fully finalized.
Artus Films is churning some interesting titles, including THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958) starring Sylva Koscina and Gianna Maria Canale, REVENGE OF THE CRUSADER (1964) starring Alberto Lupo and Stephen Forsyth. Those were announced months ago but now they added two new titles to their roster: TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962) starring Gianna Maria Canale, and THE LION OF ST MARK (1962) starring Gordon Scott and Gianna. Both movies directed by Luigi Capuano. No information yet on the audio options (if English will be included).
Update: Amazon.fr has both movies listed and audio options are limited to Italian and French only, no English.
I wonder why so many European distributors are suddenly releasing titles on DVD and not on BD. I’m happy for these releases but HD is the way of the future.
If you check Blu-ray.com, there are *no* upcoming PEPLUM titles listed. Not one. SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRES is still missing in action but that’s been on-going for nearly a year and a half. The only new titles are from Germany in a two pack DVD set with REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) starring Mickey Hargitay, and SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) starring Roger Browne. Both films will only have German audio option.
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.