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Films of Sergio Leone => The Colossus of Rhodes => Topic started by: Lac qui Parle on June 04, 2008, 09:46:30 AM



Title: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 04, 2008, 09:46:30 AM
Little old me has been reading up on pepla lately. Mostly out of curiosity. The only thing I know less about is nuclear fission. :-[ So here are my humble thoughts:

1. It seems like pepla are seen as ďcampyĒ now because of their special effects. Well thatís not really the movieís fault, now is it. Were they shamelessly low budget, or was it just a trademark of the time?

2. Most pepla were based on Greek mythology or leaders. Is there a peplum where the hero was written especially for the screen? Was the movie any good? Do you think movies do better with a familiar hero or an original one?

3. Iíve seen some of the modern sword-and-sandals... like 300, Troy and Gladiator (all very good, I might add.) Iíd love to rent a classic, but I donít want to be dissapointed. Ben Hur perhaps? Does anyone want to make a recommendation?

4. Whatís the cheesiest peplum of all time? Anyone have any memorable scenes that are laugh out loud funny?


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Groggy on June 05, 2008, 06:48:51 AM
Spartacus is my favorite of the genre, personally. Although you lost me when you said 300 and Troy were good. :(


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 05, 2008, 08:29:06 AM
Spartacus is my favorite of the genre, personally. Although you lost me when you said 300 and Troy were good. :(

GASP. Must... remain... calm.... How can you not think 300 and Troy were good? The arrow to Achillesí heal at the end of Troy? Brilliant. And 300 with that tertiary color palette? Gorgeous.

Troy and 300 were great because they so creatively blended history and mythology; there were no acts of gods, although history could have written it that way. Plus, side by side itís the same story. And yet you could watch them back-to-back and not get bored. Orlando Bloom is a slop, Iíll give you that. But Brad Pitt and Gerald Butler are some Grecian bad asses.

ps. Iím assuming Spartacus is a derivative of ďSpartaĒ ---making it the same story and hero again and again. Which kind of proves my point in #2 about all the heroes being the same. But of course, Iíll need to see it to be sure.  :)


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Atlas2112 on June 05, 2008, 10:34:16 AM
And 300 with that tertiary color palette? Gorgeous.
But it isn't much of palette, is it? I mean it's just a bunch of variations on three colors: brown, grey, and of course, lots and lots of red. This kind of palette seems to apeal to a lot of people now a days, though i don't think I'll ever understand it. Why would you want to make a historical film entirely out of CGI, doesn't anyone see a bit of irony in it? Just give me a film shot in the wild wilderness over simulated dirt any day.

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Troy and 300 were great because they so creatively blended history and mythology;
300 didn't have very much of either; completly disregarded some basic historical facts (spartans weren't the only ones there, you know?) and just ignoring elements of greek mythology to just make up their own (and a rather lame mythology i might add).

Troy just goes for some history, removing pretty much all the elements of the story that makes it interesting. I think a large part of the interest in the story is that the gods themselves become involved. Of course i know none of it is true, but i feel without it, it just feels like a long drawn out war story.

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;
ps. Iím assuming Spartacus is a derivative of ďSpartaĒ ---making it the same story and hero again and again.
other then his name, spartacus has very little to do with sparta or greece (his former home). It's an incredibly interesting legend, and probably one of the only legends of it's kind (although similair events have happend, they aren't as well known as this). I really don't want to offer an extensive explanation, but its basically about a slave/gladiator (spartacus) who ends up leading a slave revolt against the romans, and escape to freedom. you can get the full story here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartacus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartacus)


but if you want a more abridged, action packed version just watch the kubrick film.

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Which kind of proves my point in #2 about all the heroes being the same. But of course, Iíll need to see it to be sure.  :)
I assure you that most greek mythology offers a wide variation of stories, most of them offering their own appeal. I don't understand why someone might want to make a pepla entirely independent of greek history/mythology, it's what makes a pepla a pepla. If the story or character has no connection to the time or setting of anceint greece (or its legends) whats the point of making it in the first place?


PS: If you really want to get into pepla's, you'll have to wait till Arizona Colt responds. He has a rather encyclopedic knowledge of films like these  :)


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 05, 2008, 11:43:03 AM
But it isn't much of palette, is it? I mean it's just a bunch of variations on three colors: brown, grey, and of course, lots and lots of red. This kind of palette seems to apeal to a lot of people now a days, though i don't think I'll ever understand it.

Did you like Sin City? Although, in that one the palette is black, white with red accents. Iíd say in 300 it was pretty even steven. I donít read comics ... maybe both Sin City and 300 were originally screen-printed duotone, so itís a throwback to the comic.

Werenít you the one that commented on V is for Vendetta?

I realized that Troy wasnít following myth or history. It was almost like turning myth into historical fiction. (Or not. I donít even know Greek mythology, so if you told me there was a god name Charlie who farted lightening bolts, Iíd be none the wiser.)

Arizona Colt, eh? I figured there was at least someone out there who knew something about pepla. :)


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Groggy on June 05, 2008, 04:39:22 PM
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How can you not think 300 and Troy were good?

They sucked.

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The arrow to Achillesí heal at the end of Troy?

A nice touch. But that's about thirty seconds of a two and a half hour film.

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And 300 with that tertiary color palette?

You mean the one where it looked like a dog with a urinary track infection relieved himself on the film stock?

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ps. Iím assuming Spartacus is a derivative of ďSpartaĒ ---making it the same story and hero again and again. Which kind of proves my point in #2 about all the heroes being the same. But of course, Iíll need to see it to be sure. 


Do you REALLY not know about Spartacus? Somehow, I find that hard to believe. ???


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 05, 2008, 05:12:31 PM

You mean the one where it looked like a dog with a urinary track infection relieved himself on the film stock?


I think you guys are missing the point of the color palette. That sort of dogged color pattern is an artistic tribute. Black gradiating down to brown is probably a representation of a halftone. Itís actually higly intelligent filmmaking if youíre recreating a comic book. Itís not like they said, ďLetís make this movie look like a dog with a urinary track infection.Ē Theyíre making the movie LOOK like the actual comic book. Iím sure the fans loved it.

Iím surprised that 30 Days of Night didnít have more artistic flair. The graphic novel itself was messy, liquid and raw. They got lazy. At least 300 put their asses out there in the name of art. Even if the non-fans hated it.

No, I really donít know anythig about Spartacus. It sounds famiar. Like maybe he did something. A long time ago. In Greece. Am I right?


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 05, 2008, 07:50:53 PM
Guys (and gal), it's "urinary tract infection." Keep it clean, Socrates.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: cigar joe on June 06, 2008, 05:29:24 AM
'll take a stab at this.  ;)

Little old me has been reading up on pepla lately. Mostly out of curiosity. The only thing I know less about is nuclear fission.  So here are my humble thoughts:

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1. It seems like pepla are seen as ďcampyĒ now because of their special effects. Well thatís not really the movieís fault, now is it. Were they shamelessly low budget, or was it just a trademark of the time?

The vast majority of them were campy,  I can't count the number of paper mache' rocks that the likes of Hercules and Machiste used to pick up and throw, lol. It was lower budgets and the effects of the times.  Some were very good though the "Clash of The Titains" is one with stop action special effects that still looks pretty good. Another was "Jason & The Argonauts".

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2. Most pepla were based on Greek mythology or leaders. Is there a peplum where the hero was written especially for the screen? Was the movie any good? Do you think movies do better with a familiar hero or an original one?

Yea most were based on Greek mythology, a few on Aesop's Fables, and more than a few on histoic leaders and biblical events.

I think that the Italian Machiste an extremely popular Italian muscle man character (Machiste, Italian for "Rocky", as in, "rock-like") was written especially for the screen, but a lot of them, since Machiste was unknown to Americans, almost all of them were retitled (and sometimes re-dubbed, but not always) to make his name Colossus, Atlas, and Hercules. The films were worse than B movies. I used to watch them as a kid usually the local TV channels in NY would run them as late night fillers.


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3. Iíve seen some of the modern sword-and-sandals... like 300, Troy and Gladiator (all very good, I might add.) Iíd love to rent a classic, but I donít want to be dissapointed. Ben Hur perhaps? Does anyone want to make a recommendation?

"Clash Of The Titans", "Ben Hurr", "Spartacus", "Barabus", "Androcles And The Lion", also highly recomended and better than all the films is the "I Claudius" BBC mini series, check that out.

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4. Whatís the cheesiest peplum of all time? Anyone have any memorable scenes that are laugh out loud funny?

All of the Machiste films are bad just find anyone of them.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Groggy on June 06, 2008, 06:06:05 AM
I think you guys are missing the point of the color palette. That sort of dogged color pattern is an artistic tribute. Black gradiating down to brown is probably a representation of a halftone. Itís actually higly intelligent filmmaking if youíre recreating a comic book. Itís not like they said, ďLetís make this movie look like a dog with a urinary track infection.Ē Theyíre making the movie LOOK like the actual comic book. Iím sure the fans loved it.

No, I get the point. I still think it looks stupid. It might have been a minor point if the movie itself had been any good, but it wasn't.

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No, I really donít know anythig about Spartacus. It sounds famiar. Like maybe he did something. A long time ago. In Greece. Am I right?

Rome. Rome, Rome, Rome! Someone gave you a Wikipedia link above.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 06, 2008, 06:48:16 AM
Guys (and gal), it's "urinary tract infection." Keep it clean, Socrates.

 ;D Thanks, Dave. I once called duct tape "duck tape" and got a great laugh.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 06, 2008, 06:53:31 AM

I think that the Italian Machiste an extremely popular Italian muscle man character (Machiste, Italian for "Rocky", as in, "rock-like") was written especially for the screen, but a lot of them, since Machiste was unknown to Americans, almost all of them were retitled (and sometimes re-dubbed, but not always) to make his name Colossus, Atlas, and Hercules. The films were worse than B movies. I used to watch them as a kid usually the local TV channels in NY would run them as late night fillers.

Fascinating! Thanks, Cigar Joe.

And Groggy, yeah, sorry I missed the whole Sparticus - Rome thing. I didn't go to the link because if I'm going to rent it, I don't want to ruin the plot.



Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Groggy on June 06, 2008, 07:02:30 AM
I've seen the Hercules with Steve Reeves. Now you want cheesy? It doesn't get much cheesier than that - particularly when Hercules first unveils his BIG CLUB! ;D ;D ;D


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Groggy on June 06, 2008, 07:55:30 AM
There were quie a few similarities between Spartacus and Gladiator, actually, if you know where to look.

300 is awful garbage, although as an unintentional comedy it works alright. Troy is just lame, with a few good scenes but ridiculous casting, overuse of CGI and a poorly-told story.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Lac qui Parle on June 06, 2008, 08:11:16 AM
Troy
Based on Homer's The Iliad which is itself part fact and part fiction. Historians disagree about whether the Trojan wars actually took place but there is archaeological evidence of the ruins of a great city on the site where Troy was supposed to be located.  Numerous errors in the movie compared to the characters and sequence of events in The Iliad.

A nice, diplomatic review, A1. Creative liberties abound.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Arizona Colt on June 08, 2008, 03:38:12 PM
Hi, Lac qui Parle. Here's a link to a thread I posted here compiling a number of peplum and fusto movies I have. Granted, I still have a great deal more to write reviews for, but there's a nice expanse here of camp and serious filmmaking on the part of Italian artisans.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7317.0

Yes, there a number of campy entries that have a charm about them that only adds to the films enjoyment. There are also a fair number of big budget peplum and fusto movies that deserve a wider audience such as GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON aka MACISTE, THE GREATEST HERO IN THE WORLD, THE GIANT OF MARATHON, TERROR OF THE BARBARIANS, ROMULUS & REMUS and THE TROJAN HORSE are a few of the bigger Italian productions. You'll notice a number of spaghetti western stalwarts in many of these films including Guiliano Gemma and Gian Maria Volonte among them. What is considered low budget and big budget should not hinder ones enjoyment for a film. Too many times people seem to forget that foreign films did not have the enormous amount of monies afforded US productions. Yet many times these (and other films) made up for what they lacked with funds in sheer imagination and creativity. However, the films I listed above have obviously had a good amount of money lavished on them. If not, than those filmmakers truly did a lot with less.

I like to refer to the historical sword and sandal films as peplum and the mythological superhero movies as fusto (Italian for muscleman). The fusto films tend to be the campy ones but then some of the effects, such as some of the hydraulically controlled monstrosities are impressive for the time in which they were created....and then there are those that are not.

Also, the spelling is M-A-C-I-S-T-E not Machiste whoever spelled it in that fashion although phonetically, that is how you would pronounce the name. Back in the 60s there was a syndicated television program in America entitled 'The Sons of Hercules' wherein certain movies were edited and titles changed as well added opening narration to figure in the title of the tv show. Maciste was strictly an Italian creation and his name was often removed from film titles (although some films escaped with the name remaining in the dubbing) as most Americans would most likely not know who Maciste was.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 13, 2008, 08:47:51 AM
Chapter 4 of Frayling ("Economic Miracles") is all about the pepla craze (and SL's relation to it), pp. 80-117. Lots of good info there. What, you don't have a copy of Something to Do with Death? Man, who let you on this board?


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Arizona Colt on June 13, 2008, 10:27:53 AM
Chapter 4 of Frayling ("Economic Miracles") is all about the pepla craze (and SL's relation to it), pp. 80-117. Lots of good info there. What, you don't have a copy of Something to Do with Death? Man, who let you on this board?

Actually, no. But I did find an ENTIRE book about you though...and it's just volume one! O0

http://www.amazon.com/Asshole-No-More-Saga/dp/0898048044



Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 13, 2008, 02:02:40 PM
I wasn't actually talking to you, I was addressing the person who started this thread.


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Arizona Colt on June 13, 2008, 02:37:11 PM
I wasn't actually talking to you, I was addressing the person who started this thread.

Hmmmm...I see. Well, for someone who prides himself on being impeccable (perfunctory would be a more suitable term, IMO) you should be more clear on such things in the future. O0


Title: Re: pepla as a genre (a couple questions)
Post by: Ravx on July 02, 2008, 05:32:47 AM
I like Gerard Butler but a Spartan speaking with a thick Scottish accent and heavily CGI'd bodies and action spoiled it for me. 





Hi all This is my very first post!

A1 I'm sorry and I don't mean to patronise but the 300 actors did not have CGI'd bodies. They were trained by a guy called Mark Twight and he really kicked their butts! Just look at the You tube link I'm posting. It has behind the camera shots taken when they were shooting on blue screen. They are definitely all 6 packed up to the hilt!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox9KWMbkPnQ