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PEPLUM

HEROIC FANTASY

GIANTS OF ROME (1964)

-Letterboxed print. Director: Antonio Margheriti. Cast: Richard Harrison, Wandisa Guida, Ettore Manni, Philippe Hersent, Piero Lulli. An elite group of soldiers led by the courageous Claudius Marcellus are handpicked by Julius Caesar to embark on a desperate and dangerous suicide mission to destroy the Druids' secret weapon.

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GLADIATORS 7 (1962)

-Letterboxed print. Richard Harrison and Loredana Nusciak star in this colorful muscleman film. Framed for the escape of five gladiators from the arena, the son of one of Sparta's leading citizens is sentenced to the arena as gladiator himself and forced to fight for his life in the Roman Colosseum. Years later he manages to escape and return to Sparta, only to find out that his father has been murdered--even though it was ruled a "suicide"--and the woman he loves is about to marry the evil king who has usurped the throne. He sets out to find six of his fellow gladiators and return to Sparta to save his woman and place the rightful king on the throne.

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THE MINOTAUR (1960)

-Letterboxed print. Finally a beautiful widescreen print of this Silvio Amadio Peplum! Rosanna Schiaffino co-stars. In ancient Crete, a monster called the Minotaur (half bull, half man) can only be satisfied by virgin sacrifices. The evil ruler of Crete is determined to keep the monster happy by sacrificing as many of the island's virgins as he can, but a pair of friends determine to kill the monster and stop the sacrifices.

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CAESAR THE CONQUEROR (1962)

-Widescreen print. In this tale about the legendary Roman emperor, Julius Caesar is at war with the people of Gaul and hopes to defeat them to bring their lands under his domain. With the Roman Senate opposed to his plans for the military, Caesar must raise and lead his forces personally in order to see them to fruition. Complicating things for the emperor is the capture of his charge and her lover by the rebels from Gaul, who plot to use their prisoners to their advantage over Caesar. Stars Cameron Mitchell, Rik Battaglia, and Dominique Wilms.

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MACISTE GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

-In Italian with eng subs, Widescreen printDirector: Mario Caiano. Cast: Mark Forest, Marilù Tolo, Claudio Undari. Mark Forest never looked better then in this lavish gladiator story. Maciste schemes against Caesar to free a group of Christians whom the emperor plans to feed to the lions. Above average peplum with some lovely color photography, nice sets, and well staged battle scenes...this one obviously had a bigger budget then most films of it's kind. A bit overlong, but still enjoyable as Mark Forest and others put forth some fairly decent performances.

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MACISTE VS THE MONSTER (1964)

-Finally, a beautiful, Letterboxed print. Wandering strongman Maxxus comes upon two warring tribes, the Sun worshipers and the Moon worshipers. He saves the leader of the Sun tribe from a sea monster, then later on when the Moon tribe attacks and kidnaps the Sun tribe's women, they call upon Maxxus for help. Stars Reg Lewis, Margaret Lee, and Luciano Marin.

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TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

-Another beautiful Letterboxed print. The evil Queen Tenefi, who's usurped the throne of Memphis, demands that a steady supply of young women be sacrificed to the God of Fire inside the Mountain of Thunder. Maciste intervenes and saves from this sacrifice a village's women including the beautiful Antea. Maciste then becomes involved in an effort to restore to the throne of Memphis its rightful ruler, Prince Iram. Stars Kirk Morris and Cathia Caro.

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HERCULES OF THE DESERT (1964)

-LETTERBOXED PRINT. A fabulous land of green pastures is protected from invasion by the mysterious Valley of the Thundering Echo. Queen Farida draws together the desert tribes to conquer the land, even though a prophecy has promised the land to the Gameli tribe. The Gameli journey to the Silver Temple, where the High Priest summons the legendary Maciste from the mountain rock to defeat their enemies and guide them to their promised land. Stars Kirk Morris and helene Chanel.

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PIRATES OF TORTUGA (1965)

-In Italian with English subs, letterboxed print. Luigi  Capuano directs a swashbuckler/adventure/piracy film loosely drawn on characters recalled from stories by Emilio Salgari, and stars Rik Battaglia as Pedro Valverde, a handsome pirate who's discovered a less risky buccaneering way to bring in the money. By impersonating a Spanish duke, he becomes engaged to the richest girls in the Caribbean and, at the time of the weddings, vanishes and steals the dowry. All is going well until he meets and becomes infatuated with Soledad Quintero, a beautiful Spanish girl who comes to Santa Cruz to inherit a fabulous legacy left by her grandfather. To his misfortune, Soledad also interests Alfonso di Montélimar (Guy Madison), the governor of the island. Jealousy and envy ensue as they both connive to attain the love and affection of Soledad, and only one will have her...

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ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

-In German with eng subs, letterboxed print. Rare uncut version! Exotic peplum starring Kirk Morris as the hero Anthar, fighting a despot who has usurped the throne of an Arabic kingdom. The evil vizier Ganor overthrows an Arabian kingdom, killing the king and imprisoning the monarch's son Daikor and daughter Soraya. Soraya escapes by leaping out a window into a river. Her drifting body is found by Anthar, who revives her. Later, Soraya is seized by slave traders and sold into slavery. Anthar attempts to free Soraya but is captured and forced into a death battle with a rhinoceros. Escaping, Anthar liberates Soraya's brother and together with loyalists of the late king, wages war against the usurper and his army.

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HEROD THE GREAT (1959)

-In Italian with eng subs, letterboxed print. Viktor Tourjansky's long-forgotten Italian historical epic Herod the Great dramatizes the dark final years of the title figure, an evil Judean Tetrarch notorious for sending Christ to the cross in league with Pontius Pilate. The story begins with Herod (Edmund Purdom) and Antony's shared defeat by Rome (when the two men foolishly decide to form an allegiance and go head to head with the colossal Empire), and ends with Herod's slide into insanity following Christ's death. Throughout, the ruler exhibits utter lunacy, raving constantly and spewing forth torrents of unbridled anger; viewing this film in it's original totalscope quality is truly captivating, enchanting and relentlessly dramatic throughout.

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THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR (1964)

-Letterboxed print. This Hercules (Mark Forest actually playing a prince named Attalus, but even his pals call him Hercules so what are you going to do, right?) though is more of a glass half full sort of muscle hunk.  So it is that once the Romans have defeated his countrymen and taken him prisoner (but only to spare the lives of his men), Herc finds himself chucked into the gladiator arena for a classic handicap match where the odds are stacked against him four against one while the Roman emperor (Gallienus) and his toadies look on!

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SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959)

-English dubbed version, letterboxed print. Zenobia, Queen of Palmira (Anita Ekberg), revolts against Rome and defeats the Roman troops... But she makes a big mistake when she falls in love with enemy officer Marcus Valerius (Georges Marchal).

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FURY OF THE BARBARIANS (1960)

-In Italian with English subs, letterboxed print. Director: Guido Malatesta. Cast: Edmund Purdom, Rosanna Podestà, and Livio Lorenzon. Toryok (Edmund Purdom) ,is a brave king whose wife was raped and killed by the wicked Kovo (Livio lorenzon).When his enemy comes back, he leads his village in a war (in spite of his brother's and his sweet wife's disapproval.).

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REVOLT OF THE BARBARIANS (1964)

-Letterboxed print. Director: Guido Malatesta , Cast: Roland Carey, Maria Grazia Spina. A roman consul is sent to Gaul to investigate the theft of gold shipments. He discovers that the gold is being stolen by a tribe of barbarians--whose leader is the governor of Gaul.

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THE LION OF THEBES (1962)

-Letterboxed print. Mark Forest, Yvonne Furneaux and Rosalba Neri star. This is another above-average peplum and one that's actually a follow-up to Ferroni's own THE Trojan HORSE (1961), since it follows the exploits of Helen Of Troy after the fall of that city.

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ROBIN HOOD AND THE PIRATES (1960)

-Letterboxed print. What could possibly be better than Robin Hood battling some filthy, scurvy-ridden pirates?  Teaming up with some filthy, scurvy-ridden pirates to fight the evil dude (Brooks) who killed his dad and stole the Earldom of Sherwood! And while no one can deny that trading Little John for a eye-patch wearing pirate called One Eye who actually has two good eyes is a monster upgrade, the movie would have been merely been solidly entertaining if it had stuck solely to its "pirates standing in for the Merry Men" angle.  But it in a stroke of either genius or complete tastelessness, this Italian version of Robin Hood (with German film legend and former Tarzan Lex Barker) adds a bit of sauce to the mix by giving us Sweet Pea, a sassy full-figured black woman, prone to singing spirituals and alternately beating on One Eye and declaring her love for him!

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THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958)

-In italian with english subs, Letterboxed print. this is the only widescreen version available of Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia's La spada e la croce. La spada e la croce stars Yvonne De Carlo in the story of Mary Magdalene. Set against the magnificent backdrop of classic Rome, "The Sword and the Cross" is the story of a notorious harlot who must choose between her lascivious lifestyle and the love and affection of her decent-minded brother...Also starring are Jorge Mistral, Rossana Podestà, Massimo Serato, Terence Hill, Andrea Aureli, Rossana Rory and Philippe Hersent, among others.

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TERROR OF THE STEPPES (1964)

-Letterboxed print. Director: Tanio Boccia, Cast: Kirk Morris, Moira Orfei, Daniele Vargas, Ombretta Colli, Franco Cobianchi, Giulio Donnini. Sandar, head of a band of marauders, kidnaps Samira – daughter of Yesen and bride-to-be of the powerful Altan. When the marauders are caught by Yesen’s soldiers, Sandar manages to save himself. Having fallen in love with the girl, Sandar returns Samira to her father hoping to be pardoned; but Yesen sends her to Altan who in turn takes possession of Yesen’s land. Sandar is then arrested but again manages to escape while Altan tries to take over the city, being later defeated in a duel with our hero. Yesen then appoints Sandar as his successor and gives him his daughter’s hand...

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TREASURE OF THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1964)

-Letterboxed print. Salvi throws in some of his trademark touches, such as dwarf baiting and some wilfully histrionic acting.  Although it’s all supposedly set in the forest, a large proportion was shot in Cinecitta, and again the direction makes good use of the interiors, creating a heightened sense of unreality through unusual art direction and set design.  Some sequences, with sparse trees shrouded in dry ice, actually have a surprisingly gothic touch, not too different to the type of thing that Mario Bava was shooting at the time.  Unfortunately, though, despite his best efforts, Salvi was dealing with a genre that was already a considerable way past its sell by date and, although it’s better than Sinbad and the Seven Saracens, Salvi’s poorest film, it’s nowhere near as diverting as Vulcan Son of Jupiter or The Seven Tasks of Ali Baba.Gordon Mitchell, in his third film under Salvi’s direction, is good fun as the utterly despicable villain, but possibly the most nuanced performance comes from Luisa Rivelli, who had made her name in a series of b-movies and melodramas throughout the 1950s.  Ivo Payer was a Yugoslavian actor who appeared in a handful of peplums (he was formerly in the Salvi production David and Goliath).  He’s not bad, but his thespian talents skills don’t come near distracting attention from the quite appalling bouffant hairstyle he’s been landed with.

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ZORRO VS THE 3 MUSKETEERS (1963)

-Letterboxed print. Wow, yet another fantastic upgrade from shitty black and white to beautiful color! Director: Luigi Capuano, Cast:Gordon Scott ... Zorro, José Greci ... Isabella, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart ... Athos, Livio Lorenzon ... Porthos. Zorro and three of his bandits crouch in hidden positions in the forest as they lie in wait for unsuspecting nobility to pass by. The warm sun is pleasant and mild, and soon Zorro's men begin to nod off. Zorro, however, remains alert and angrily wakens his men when he sees a horse-drawn carriage rumble down the path. Zorro aims with his Brown Bess and fires at the carriage driver, killing him. The carriage comes to a stop and out rush four men with muskets and swords in their scabbards: D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. Zorro steps out into the road with his bandits and begins to announce himself with a swish of his cape when Athos raises his wheel-lock and shoots one of the bandits in the neck, causing red blood to leap into the air and the robber to crumple instantly to the ground. Zorro and his men fire back but the Musketeers wear armor and the bullets bounce off of their breastplates. D'Artagnan shoots another bandit in the stomach and the man drops his musket, grabs his stomach, and lays moaning on the ground. The other bandit takes off running and Zorro disappears into the bushes. D'Artagnan takes out his rapier and quickly slices the wounded bandit's throat before the group pushes after the retreating bandit.

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