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.
As a collector of all things PEPLUM, I often acquire DVDs or Blu-rays faster than I can view them. I often set them aside, after making MKV or MP4 copies of them, scan them quickly and add them to the hundreds of other titles of my collection, to be viewed at a later time. I also watch them entirely, certainly with Blu-ray releases, but for the most part I reserve them for a future movie night. Well…I bought the French DVD of SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964) weeks ago and only now noticed some terrible image quality. For a brief moment the image becomes totally washed out, almost ghost-like. It’s an odd issue I’ve rarely seen before. Here are some screengrabs.
Nadir Moretti and Conrando San Martin look odd…
Carlo Tamberlani looks like a ghost…
Moira Orfei looks odd…
The movie eventually becomes normal again. For the most part the image is pretty clear and sharp.
I’ve purchased the German Blu-ray of ROMULUS & REMUS (1961). It’s traveling halfway across the world right now. In the meantime, a great friend of mine sent me a digital copy of it while I wait impatiently for it to arrive.
The German BR has audio in Italian, German and *English*. Since I just received this HD print, I haven’t watched it from beginning to end but needless today it’s a thing of beauty. Here are some screengrabs.
Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves with cast. Very sharp image.
Crowd scene. Everything is so clear. It’s beautiful.
Another crowd scene, with Jose Greci, Virna Lisi and Jacques Sernas, and Franco Volpi (seated)
While I’m waiting to receive the ROMULUS & REMUS (1961) German Blu-ray I got the ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964) Spanish Blu-ray, which I bought roughly 2 weeks ago. I have to say that I’m very pleased with it. Not only because it’s such a fun movie but the Blu-ray has English subtitles. Yeah! ANTHAR was one of the first PEPLUM movie released on Blu-ray in Italy. That release only had Italian audio and nothing else. This Spanish release is virtually the same but with the addition of English subtitles. It would have been better if it had the English dub but alas no. Even so, this movie, which has many long moments without dialogue, only action, having to read the subtitles is actually pretty cool. I watched it from beginning to end right after I made a MKV out of the disc. The next best thing is to do a Fan Dub with it. This Blu-ray has the Spanish and Italian audios. I watched it in Italian with English subs. Overall, I’m very pleased with it even if it’s barebones (no extras and such…)
The seemingly endless drama over the release date of the German Blu-ray of DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) is finally over. The BRs have been shipped. At least in Europe. This edition, which was always ‘out of stock’, is now in stock. I should have more info on it next week, including screen grabs. Stay tuned!