THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR Artus Films DVD…

I recently got the ARTUS FILMS release of THE MAGNIFICENT GlADIATOR (1964) starring Mark Forest and Marilù Tolo. This is definitely the best print yet that is until an HD print is made available. I like this film. It has everything a PEPLUM movie should have. I like watching it but the copies I have in my collection (7 different prints) are fairly ordinary in quality. This one definitely beats all previous releases. The Italian and French tracks are on it. No English track. The runtime is 91 minutes 28 seconds. I have a Fan Dub print in English at 95 minutes. The runtime at IMDb is at 95 minutes. It seems this French release is uncut since it’s in PAL format, at 25 frames per second, which would make a 95 minutes long movies at 24 FPS be roughly 91 minutes at 25 FPS. Recommended.

Mark Forest

Marilù Tolo and Jolanda Modio

ARTUS FILMS @ Vimeo

If you’re not familiar with ARTUS FILMS, a French film distribution company, you can have a crash course on their titles at their Vimeo channel. The channel has trailers and even VOD  you can rent. PEPLUM movies and other genres. Of course, the movies are not in English but it’s an excellent glimpse into the PEPLUM genre. I just ordered THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR DVD. Hopefully the image on the DVD is as good as the clip below.

ARTUS FILMS VIMEO

The German Gladiator DVD 2-pack…

As I stated in my last post, the German Gladiator 2-pack was canceled and I was refunded. I didn’t return it or ask for a refund. It most likely was lost during the terrible floods that besieged Germany. So I re-ordered it and I finally got it today. Is it worth buying? For those who only watch movies in English…no. It’s not worth it. There’s only the German dubs in this pack. Not even the Italian versions are included. And there’s no English dub as well. For me, as a PEPLUM mega fan, I’m glad I bought it even though it’s pretty much the same as what’s available out there. Here’s a quick round-up. The size of the screenshots reflect the differences in resolution.

SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS

The movie is the same as the Italian DVD but at a higher resolution and in German only.

José Greci. The prints are identical but the German one is at a higher resolution.

The runtime between the two prints are virtually the same, minus a minute or so with the German print. 1024×572 is the resolution, which is higher than the print from the Italian DVD.

Note: I incorrectly named this movie as SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME in previous posts. I corrected it.

 

REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS

Now this one IS different than what’s available out there but it closely resembles the Italian copy I have from an Italian TV broadcast. The German print from the 2-pack is overly saturated and not as sharp.

Rodalno Lupi and Renato Baldini. The German print has more info on the left side but less on the right side than the Italian one.

The runtime is very different. As usual, the German print is cut. Its runtime is 82 minutes (PAL) while the Italian copy is 93 minutes (also PAL). That’s a whopping 11 minutes removed from the German print. I have to check it out further to see what was cut. The resolution for the German print is at 1000×428. Again, this resolution is higher than the one from the Italian TV broadcast.

Note: the runtimes posted at the Amazon.de page are incorrect.

German DVD issue…

I pre-ordered the German two pack DVD set with REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) starring Mickey Hargitay, and SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) starring Roger Browne. I got confirmation from AMAZON.de in July that the DVD was shipped. I was happy. There are few DVDs or Blu-rays on the horizon and I wanted to see the quality of the image for both movies. Well, today I got an email from AMAZON.de saying that I got a refund for the DVD because it was returned. I was baffled. So I checked ny AMAZON.de account and yes, I got the refund. The DVD was apparently returned to Amazon. I never got it so I’m not the one who returned it. Maybe it had something to do with the disastrous floods in Germany. Regardless, I re-ordered the DVD again. Let’s hope this won’t happen again.

Not many titles in the foreseeable 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.

The only solution to THE BIG FISHERMAN dilemma

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.

Herbert Lom and Martha Hyer

Weird image in French DVD of SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE…

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.

Something odd happened during the transfer.

Dubious DVDs on eBay!

Finding dubious stuff for sale on eBay is nothing new. It’s to a point now that one doesn’t really know what’s legit and what are dupes.

The two following DVDs are dupes. I bought them knowing they would be dupes but I was curious to see which versions they were. The DVDs were cheap and shipping was free. So, buying them didn’t break the bank.

The ‘HERCULES VS MOLOCH’ is taken from the Trimark boxset I mentioned in a post below. I had hoped it was a Fan Dub of the widescreen version but no it’s in 4:3 aspect ratio.

As for ‘HERCULES OF THE DESERT’ it’s a Fan Dub that’s available on Youtube. I personally did a Fan Dub of this movie and called it ‘MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES’. I don’t have it on my channel but many people have uploaded it to their channels. The ‘HERCULES OF THE DESERT’ copy is in poor quality.

Suffice it to say, avoid buying these.

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:

What’s odd about this DVD cover…

This Spanish DVD set is interesting, not only for the titles included but the cover art.

The set includes:  THE TROJAN HORSE (1961), CORIOLANUS – HERO WITHOUT A COUNTRY (1964), HERCULES AGAINST ROME (1964), MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON’S MINES (1964), SLAVE OF CARTHAGE (1956; The Sword and the Cross) and SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959).

Pretty good set. Aside from the fact that the movie from which the artwork comes from is not included in the pack, what else is peculiar about it? A true PEPLUM fan would know this.

The answer:

GOLIATH & THE DRAGON was the US version of VENGEANCE OF HERCULES aka La vendetta di Ercole. VENGEANCE OF HERCULES was re-edited for the North American market and additional scenes were added, including those with Mark battling the dragon and became GOLIATH & THE DRAGON which was never released in Europe. This Spanish DVD cover shows the artwork of a movie that was never released there.