I pre-ordered the German two pack DVD set with REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) starring Mickey Hargitay, and SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME (1965) starring Gordon Mitchell. 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.
I successfully transferred the *uncut* copy of ANTONY & CLEOPATRA (1972), starring and directed by Charlton Heston, from VHS to DVD+R to digital. It wasn’t a difficult process since I had an old DVD / VCR recorder that still works. It was just a question of setting it up correctly, including buying a small monitor to connect to DVD recorder in order to view the making of the DVD+R. So, new monitor and new blank DVD+Rs and that was it. I watched the movie has it was being recorded. The uncut version is the only version worth watching. I have different versions of this and it’s amazing how the uncut version, though a bit long at time, flows so much more smoothly than the cut versions out there.
From the myriad of stories and characters that would be great as a TV series, the first thing that pops-up in my mind is a series based on the Argonauts. Hercules would appear from time to time with each member of the crew getting storylines. It would very cool and fascinating. HERCULES (1958) was the first motion picture to focus on the fabled crew of the Argo. THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) were other movies which were based on the Argonauts. Those movies showed how we barely knew all the members of the crew. A TV series would give time to explore and expand all the adventures, old and new, the men experienced.
The actors are: Fulvio Carrara as Castor, Willy Colombini as Pollux, Fabrizio Mioni as Jason, Aldo Pini as Tifi, Steve Reeves as Hercules, Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses, Andrea Fantasia as Laertes and Gino Mattera as Orpheus. From HERCULES (1958).
The 1985 release on VHS of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1972) is the only uncut copy available in English. There’s a VHS dupe of the movie going around but it’s from Norway with intrusive Norwegian subtitles. There has to be a copy of the US VHS tape available somewhere but alas it’s not. The solution then is to buy a copy of the VHS tape and try to transfer it in digital format. I have a combo VHS / DVD recorder somewhere. I have to find it if it still works. The problem: finding a TV that can connect to it. So, I purchased the tape and once I’ll get it I’ll try to think of the ways I could get it on a DVD disc.
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).
The PEPLUM TV channel has had several videos pulled by Youtube not because the movie or clips are copyrighted but because the score of a certain movie is. The score for SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) by Carlo Rustichelli is currently being used to invalidate uploads, even uploads that have been there for years. As it’s often the case with PEPLUM movies, the score for this movie starring Jack Palance was re-used countless of times in other movies. By claiming the score is protected, the PEPLUM TV channel has lost about a dozen uploads, just from that one score. The claimant, a giant multination music corporation, is going after other scores in order to remove uploads which have on Youtube without issues for years. It’s a terrible tactic but for now it’s working. I don’t mind if a music score is claimed and revenues go its artist but to block or ban an upload just because of that is ineffective. These films are popular and keeping them in obscurity does more of a disservice to these movies than anything else.