Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Peplum guys and gals, and costume dramas ...

Pompeii erupts again, Sophia and Robert and Napoleon, Belinda and that DANGEROUS EXILE ...

We like a good volcanic eruption here at the Projector, and the 1951 French film (thanks, Mel) SINS OF POMPEII has a rather good one, even if in black and white.
The muddled story features an Egyptian sect (bet you didn't know the Ancient Egyptians had also settled in Pompeii ....), a lady Helene - Micheline Presle - and a slave - Georges Marchal - amid a tangle of plots as the volanco finally blows the big one. 
Cue the usual mayhem with people trying to escape, fortunately our leading couple manage to get away in a boat, though its very unlikely anybody did back in 79 AD ! 
If only they had splashed out on colour and a more streamlined story. At least the statues in this peplum have the requisite nude look, unlike those tastefully covered ones in a Hollywood peplum like 1956's ALEXANDER THE GREAT ! Now for the Steeve Reeves version of POMPEII ... not to mention that new Paul W A Anderson 2014 feature. Best of all for me though is Robert Harris's novel, yes, titled "Pompeii" which Roman Polanski had been associated with a film of, pity that never came to pass ...

Unseen since 1961 is the French comedy MADAME SANS-GENE, a Christian Jacque romp (he also gave us Gerard Philipe's FANFAN LE TULIPE among others), with Sophia Loren at the height of her early 60s popularity (after TWO WOMEN, EL CID) as the French washerwoman following Napoleon's army, and washing the great man's shirts. 
She falls for Robert Hossein, one of his generals and the amusing story follows their ups and downs as they go in the world as the Duke and Duchess of Zanzig, with Sophia clowning as she learns to how conduct herself at court. Hossein also went on to have a neat line in tough thrillers which he often directed, as per Hossein/ French labels. MADAME is an amusing trifle now, which Loren turned out between more important engagements.
DANGEROUS EXILE - good to see this costume drama from 1957 available again on a proper dvd. Britian's Rank Organisation knew how to make movies like this, I enjoyed it as a kid, and still do now, featuring as it does that British siren Belinda Lee, unfortunately killed in a car crash in 1961, she could have gone on to have had a long career, in both European cinema (she is in the French New Wave LES DRAGUEURS in 1959, Italy's THE LONG NIGHT OF '43 (where her ordinary Italian woman is the equal of a Loren or Mangano), and various peplums like MESSALINA and APHRODITE, as well as sensational fare like SHE WALKS BY NIGHT - as per Belinda label. 
This is what I said about it a while back here:
DANGEROUS EXILE. One of those rather good Rank Organisation period adventures this 1957 drama features the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who is smuggeled out of the Basteille and escapes by hot air balloon but lands on a small island near Wales. The little prince (young Richard O'Sullivan) is found and protected by local beauty Belinda Lee and her aunt dowager Martita Hunt - there are however treacherous servants (Anne Heywood, Finlay Currie), the French in pursuit (Keith Michell) and French aristocrat Louis Jourdan also wants the boy, whom he replaces with his own son. Its stirring stuff well handled by veteran Brian Desmond Hurst and I liked it a lot as a kid, so good to see it again. One of Belinda's best for Rank. There is a poignant moment when her character says that when she is an old woman she can tell her grand-children the King of France wanted to marry her - Belinda though did not make old age, she was killed in a car accident when only 26. She had though become one of the sword and sandal stars on the continent. This is an engrossing period story about what may have happened to the young French prince Louis VXII. Lots of swashes are buckled. 

Peplum guys:
Vidal and Loren in ATTILA
Vidal & Belmondo
French actor Henri Vidal, married to Michele Morgan - posted about here before, as per label - in Rene Clement's LES MAUDITS, FABIOLA, with young Loren in the '54 peplum ATTILA where Anthony Quinn rampages across the ancient world. We liked Henri in some Hossein thrillers (like WHAT PRICE MURDER or THE WICKED GO TO HELL), and with Bardot in their two films, and with Romy Schneider in a 1959 comedy, ANGEL ON EARTH, (the year he died aged 40), which also featured up and coming Jean Paul Belmondo - right. Ironic it was Vidal's last film as Belmondo's career was taking off ...

Peplum guys: Ed Fury, a 50s American muscle guy, went the peplum route to Europe in the early Sixties with those URSUS films, after bit parts in lots of USA items: he is one of the boys Jane Russell serenades in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (thanks to the enterprising Peplum site for identifying him), he is also one of the sailors in SOUTH PACIFIC (below, at right), and seemingly uncredited in Marilyn's BUS STOP, and is the guy introduced to Joan Crawford in FEMALE ON THE BEACH .... thats one we will have to return to. Here's Ed with Susan Hayward star of DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS in 1954, where presumably he was a gladiator, and with Richard Widmark in another Fox movie, HELL AND HIGH WATER ...

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that is Ed in "South Pacific". If you watch the movie he is an actor with a very similar hairstyle. Also, his nipples are lower down on his pecs then Ed's.