The most wanted PEPLUM title that desperately needs to be on Blu-ray or HD.
On the top of my head, I think:
HERCULES (1958) – The fact that this game changing PEPLUM movie is still not available in a proper HD transfer is a crime. The closest thing available is the Japanese Blu-ray but the print has some odd filters. Starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina.
HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) – Same thing as HERCULES above. Why is this movie still not in HD? It was broadcast in HD in Italy but the print is the same murky one found on the Japanese Blu-ray. Starring Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina and Sylvia Lopez.
THE MINOTAUR (1960) – Solid production and PEPLUM movie that even though it has a nice DVD a copy in High Definition would be amazing. Another movie stuck in limbo. Starring Rosanna Schiaffino, Bob Mathias and Alberto Lupo.
SAPPHO THE VENUS OF LESBOS (1960) – This movie, eternally lost in limbo, would be fabulous in High Definition. Starring Tina Louise and Kerwin Mathews.
TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961) and MACISTE IN HELL (1962) – These two Kirk Morris PEPLUM classics are still not in HD. Mind boggling. TRIUMPH OF MACISTE is a perennial favourite so I’m waiting impatiently here for it to be in HD. And MACISTE IN HELL was directed by Riccardo Freda. That alone is a reason to watch it.
THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) – Another epic PEPLUM movie directed by Riccardo Freda. One of the best PEPLUM movies ever made. So where’s the Blu-ray? Starring Roland Carey, Massimo Girotti, Luciano Marin (below) and more.
PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE (1963) – This is Richard Harrison’s best PEPLUM movie. It’s a classic and yet it’s not on Blu-ray. Such a bizarre mystery why these fun movies are not available in HD. With Anna Ranalli.
These are just a handful of titles that, in a perfect world, would already be in HD but nope.
HANNIBAL (1959) is available in High Definition at Amazon.com in the US. Someone made a web rip and some movie download sites have it. It’s in English. This is great news. I couldn’t buy the HANNIBAL in HD with the Japanese Blu-ray and that release did have the English dub.
Will this be the next Kino Lorber release?
Terence Hill and Rita Gam from HANNIBAl (1959)
I received the Kino Lorber SON OF SAMSON (1960) Blu-ray on Friday so I had the entire weekend to check it out. I have very complaints about it. The only issues are the audio is sorta not loud, there are no extras about the movie and this is not the actual version released in the US 60+ years ago. That’s it. The Blu-ray itself is pretty amazing. Brilliant colours. No transfer issues to be seen anywhere (aside from the soft audio). It’s a must have for fans of the genre.
I’ll have a full review at the main PEPLUM TV blog this week.
Vira Silenti and Mark Forest
Nothing much on the BR front. The one interesting title, and it’s a pretty cool one, comes from the new Maria Montez – Jon Hall BD set. The set, which will be released in July, includes WHITE SAVAGE, GYPSY WILDCAT and SUDAN. Of course, their bigger titles, like COBRA WOMAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS and ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES, have all been available on BD already. So this set is not the top Montez – Hall titles but it’s still great news. SUDAN is a pretty cool movie. Buying the set just for that title will be worth it.
Jon Hall and Maria Montez
The upcoming SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray from Kino Lorber has just gotten a price reduction at Amazon. It was priced as $24.95 before but now sells for $17.99. That’s a pretty good deal. If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, do it now and support PEPLUM movies. Official release date: May 10.
Mark Forest and Chelo Alonso
Aside from big Hollywood titles, modest PEPLUM movies in 4K are few and far in between. One of the first Sword and Sorcery movies of the early 1980s is available in 4K, THE BEASTMASTER (1982) from Vinegar Syndrome. I have a soft spot for this movie.
Screenshots available online look great.
SCHEHERAZADE (1963) starring Anna Karina (below) and Gerard Barray is available on Blu-ray. It was released last September. I didn’t buy it yet. I’ll buy it next year (haha!). Anyway, it looks good. Audio and subtitles in French only. It was released in the UK and Canada as SCORCHING SANDS.
I just got the new SINS OF POMPEII (1950) Blu-ray from France. The Blu-ray worked fine (haha!). The shipping was very fast. And the price reasonable. I’ve examined the movie to give a quick overview of this release.
According to IMDb, the original runtime is 110 minutes. The new BD is 98 minutes. The previous DVD, also from France, was 94 minutes long. So there’s a discrepancy with runtime, which I haven’t checked in detail since I only got the BD yesterday. The extras are barebones. This HD release has two short documentaries, one on the Italian cinema highlighting the movie itself and the other has something to do with propaganda films made to showcase France and its culture (???), both narrated by the same expert.
The image is nice but the image of the DVD was also nice. The beginning of the movie they state that the movie was ‘fixed’ or restored in 2017. The prints are virtually the same. The only big difference, and it’s a big one, is the resolution. To compare, I placed screenshots of the new BD version next to the old DVD. The size difference is amazing.
Was it worth buying? Yes, since the movie now looks great in a higher resolution but this transfer offers no new surprises, well, except for the cover which is stunning.
The new German Blu-ray edition of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) is scheduled to be released next week, on December 9. Initially, it was supposed to have been released during spring but it has been delayed. The old German DVD release of this movie wasn’t that good with odd video artifacts reminiscent of old VHS transfers. Hopefully the Blu-ray won’t replicate these issues. Even so I’m taking a wait and see approach with this BD. The new Japanese BD is pretty good even though it’s not complete. Anyway, the German Blu-ray is not yet available on Amazon for pre-order so that’s that. Not a good sign. One should be able to pre-order by now.
There are more Blu-ray releases scheduled which I’ll mention in another post.
I recently purchased the Blu-ray for THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965) after I realized I didn’t have it on DVD or any other adequate format. Once I got it the Blu-ray didn’t work. It stops working in the middle of the movie. It’s not the Blu-ray player is not the problem as I played other movies on it afterwards. This is a bummer. I really wanted to view this movie in HD but now I can’t save it for my collection. I bought it on eBay from a seller with no returns. Oh well…