Like HERCULES (1958) recently, there’s a new RAI TV HD of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) making the rounds on the internet. Like the HERCULES one, the HERCULES UNCHAINED print is the same as the Japanese Blu-ray. It’s sorta nice but it’s not a new transfer. The biggest issue is that it’s cropped or zooming in. It doesn’t have the original aspect ratio which makes it pretty much worthless. Here’s are screenshots of the RAI TV broadcast and the German DVD (below, from my collection).
The screen shot above is from the German DVD. It’s the correct aspect ratio. Below is the one from RAI TV (and also the Japanese Blu-ray). The image is zoomed in or cropped.
Above is a screen shot from RAI TV version (and Japanese Blu-ray) and below is the same scene from the German DVD. Everything inside the red rectangle is what you see in the RAI TV version. Everything outside the red rectangle has been cropped out. That’s a lot of information.
I really don’t like this cropped print. The original framing should be available. If RAI TV can’t even show the correct version of this classic, I’m afraid the movie will never get released properly in HD.
I don’t have this specific Spanish DVD of HELEN OF TROY but I love the cover art. It’s one of my favourites DVD covers and the best of any release for this 1956 epic directed by Robert Wise.
the SODOM AND GOMORRAH German Blu-ray is still not available even though it says at Amazon.de that it’ll be available on December 9, 2021. This release has already been delayed a couple of times, and as I anticipated, it’s still not available.
Addendum: someone who lives in Germany was able to get it for me….from Amazon. I guess Amazon.de don’t people from outside of Germany to buy it. Anyway, I will give a thorough review of it once I get it.
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.
Marilù Tolo and Jolanda Modio
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.