Those HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED French Blu-rays…

A contact of mine who lives in Europe communicated with ARTUS FILMS about their much delayed HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) Blu-rays and it seems the entire endeavour is a no-go. The releases have been abandoned or cancelled.

It’s odd that this is happening to these Steve Reeves movies, which are still popular to this day. The trend of advertising an up coming release without having final closure on the deals is annoying. The packaging was excellent but what’s the point of claiming these titles when the thing wasn’t finalized behind the scenes? It’s very odd way of doing business.

Would you pay $472 for…

…a vintage BEN-HUR board game?

I’ve been looking for this rare board game based on the blockbuster BEN-HUR (1959) epic on eBay and someone finally posted one for sale…at $472 US (or 400 Euros). It’s in Spanish from Spain. It’s in pretty good condition but as much of a PEPLUM fan I am, I wouldn’t pay that much for one.

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.

Update on that ANTONY & CLEOPATRA VHS tape…

This is a follow-up to a previous article…

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.

What PEPLUM stories should become TV series?

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).

That ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA VHS tape…

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.

The colours from the new HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN Blu-Ray…

The new Blu-ray of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN has some major issues. I mean major. First and foremost the colours are all wrong….

The larger image is from the Blu-ray…the smaller one is from the DVD. The walls are supposed to be red, like the DVD…not orange.

More on this problematic Blu-ray release next week at the main blog…

Transferring movies to digital…

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.

MESSALINA French Blu-ray…

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

Gorgeous production!

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.

 

HD releases of…HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)…(update)

Lo and behold, two new HD releases of HERCULES  and HERCULES UNCHAINED by Artus in France.

(The problem, I can’t find these releases anywhere, including at Artus’ website or even Amazon. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on here.)

I just got news that these might be available in May. The ‘sold out’ notice is not an actual current status of the product.

Here are covers of these releases. They both come with booklets, and a Blu-ray disc and a standard DVD. No English tracks though.

HERCULES (1958)

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Here’s the link to the website.

It says that they’re already sold out for both titles (in red at the bottom left corner).

If anyone out there has more info on these releases please leave a comment.