I wasn’t aware that HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS had a German DVD. It was released in January 2020. I guess the pandemic made everyone overlook everything. Anyway, the DVD has a German and English audio which is a yeah!!! But looking at the specs (below), and the aspect ratio is standard 4:3. So it’s a definite no for me. This is one of those PEPLUM titles with needs to be seen in widescreen.
One of the aspects of the PEPLUM genre which irks me is the dismissive attitude of the success of HERCULES (1958). Many say that it became popular because of clever marketing by Joseph E. Levine. The marketing aspect for the U.S. release might be one of the reasons but not the only reason. This claim basically says the movie is worthless and that it didn’t have any redeeming qualities.
I’ll be writing about this for an article in the soon to be published magazine of BY THE GODS!.
What do you think made this movie such a success? The movie rivalled along much bigger Hollywood movies.
What is it just clever marketing? The movie is just darn good? The casting of Steve Reeves as Hercules?
Steve Reeves as Hercules and crew of the Argonaut.
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.
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.
There are already titles, all of them from Hollywood, that are available in 4K, such as SPARTACUS (1960) and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956). See Youtube video linked above. The scene they used for the comparison (below) is not impressive. I see some different, mostly clarity, or less fuzzy, but of all the scenes they could have used from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, they used that one? Mind boggling. Oh well…
As usual, Hollywood big titles are getting the 4K treatment first. There are few PEPLUM movies from Italy on Blu-ray so the prospect of seeing HERCULES (1958) in 4K are not in the immediate future.
PEPLUM actor Mark Forest died on January 7 at the age of 89. He made 12 movies, all entertaining and fun. I wrote a comprehensive overview of his career and his movies at the main PEPLUM TV blog. Make sure to check it out.
Regular reader Joe mentioned that HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) are available on Youtube in 4K. He provided the links to two separate channels. The prints there are pretty good. Are they truly 4K though?
The versions available at the Youtube channel are:
HERCULES is the International English version, available on the French DVD. It’s not the Avco Embassy English dub.
As for HERCULES UNCHAINED, it’s from the German DVD. Many scenes are cut, including Ulysses telling Hercules he’s fighting Antaeus, which are identical to the cuts found on this German DVD.
Both movies were uploaded to their respective channels yesterday!
Thanks to Joe for the quick updates on these uploads.