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!
Here’s a comparison of two good prints of COLOSSUS OF THE STONE AGE (1962), aka Fire Monsters against the Son of Hercules.
In this comparison, we see Reg Lewis and Luciano Marin. The screen grab at the top is from a German TV broadcast. The bottom screen grab is from a recent HD Italian Broadcast. Now the HD one is beautiful. It makes all the difference in the world to see such a crisp image at such a high resolution. But in transferring the movie, the end product is often too smooth or non-film looking. In comparison, the German TV broadcast looks like a movie. Personally, I like both. I love seeing old movies in a crystal clear state but sometimes the transfer is so good it doesn’t look like film anymore.
A good example would be the MESSALINA Blu-ray I posted about in the previous post. It looks clear and beautiful but it still looks like film.
This is not a review of the Blu-ray or of the movie. I just wanted to share some screngrabs of the French Blu-ray release of MESSALINA (1960). The BR was available from back in 2018 and had I known this I would have bought because it’s really beautiful. If you’re capable of playing region B Blu-rays, from a stand alone player or from your computer, this edition is really worth it, certainly since it includes the English track. Here are some scenes from the movie.
Belinda Lee as Messalina
Spiros Focas and Belinda
Belinda looks amazing!
Is the movie historically accurate? Does it matter? Enjoy it for what it is, one heck of a PEPLUM directed by Vittorio Cottafavi.
In less than a week, the world of PEPLUM cinema lost two great actors. Haya Harareet and Christopher Plummer.
Haya’s star making role was in BEN-HUR (1959) playing Esther. She was truly memorable in it. She also starred in JOURNEY BENEATH THE DESERT (1961), playing Antinea, Queen of Atlantis. She was 89 years old.
Now this Friday, it was announced that Christopher Plummer, who’s most famous PEPLUM role was Commodus in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964), died at the age of 91.
Christoper was the best thing about the humongous movie. The Shakespearean trained actor also played Oedipus in OEDIPUS THE KING (1968).