The War Gods Collection box set contains an assortment of classic peplums and is currently on sale at Amazon for $17.99. A decent deal considering this set is a slimline re-issue bundle of double feature DVDs that can still be found on Amazon for between $9.98 to $17.99. If you must have it NOW click the links above but, before you do, know that this set contains the following:
Note: I have cropped the WS caps as NONE of these movies are anamorphic. Otherwise I have made no alterations to the screen caps other than to re-size them.
Son of Samson is in wide screen, actually has a trailer, and aside from the fact it's terribly interlaced and cut in at least one scene (see here) looks fairly decent. Picture quality is far superior to the version in the Warriors 50 movie set (see screen cap comparison here) though interlacing may be an issue when played back on some computers.
However Son of Cleopatra is Full Screen..
And while not a total eyesore is too bright in certain day scenes and too dark in certain night scenes. However this little gem is an impoverished epic full of battles, romance, and the usual machinations found in peplum. A diversion.
Hero of Rome looks like it was shot through a white silk curtain or off a rear projection set-up, it's fuzzy, not quite in focus, and despite being widescreen not much of a pleasure to watch. Though, in all honesty, it's not really an eyesore. Just annoying.
Contrast with Invincible Gladiator, which was obviously sourced from a very worn 16mm print with degraded color and video contrast levels in need of adjustment, yet appears to have a sharper image with clearer, if not cleaner, picture. .
War Gods of Babylon is perhaps one of the best releases in this set. For a full review (with screen caps) of the movie itself go here. A nice overview of the movie (with yet more screen caps) in it's original DVD release can also be found here.
War Goddess is hilariously absurd. From the dialogue, the music, to the nekkid wrasslin' near the end. I have a full review of the original DVD release here. This is, sadly, the same composite print using scratchy old reels, which only adds to the air of mystery in the wrestling scenes as the lighting was pretty bad to begin with. .
For those paying attention yes, you read right, the lead feature on this disc is a Sinbad movie; or so the title says. In actuality The Magic Voyage of Sinbad isn't a Sinbad movie at all but rather a full screen Russian import (sourced from a tragic looking print) about a Viking-like fairytale hero called "Sadko" that has been re-titled and poorly dubbed into English. The disc contains a still gallery of some poster art. On the flip side is. .
The movie Day the Earth Caught Fire- also in full screen though sourced from a slightly less tragic looking print- is, not surprisingly, yet another re-titled and poorly dubbed Russian/Finnish fairytale import. Included is a black and white trailer yet that does little to forgive the fact these movies were included as throwaway filler. Neither of these movies have anything remotely to do with the box set theme, yet here they are. Enjoy!
Sadly it's unlikely any major labels will be releasing better quality versions of these movies in R1. Not impossible, but re-mastered editions of some of these were released in Germany (R2) and no one seems interested in licensing those prints. So this is, unfortunately, likely to be as good as it gets for these movies. That said if you're on the fence about this set because you have most of the movies already I would recommend that, if you can find the movies you don’t have cheaper than this box set, then get them. Otherwise this may be worth the double dip.
UPDATE (5/29/09): I have been informed, and confirmed via Amazon, that the original version of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, under it's Sadko title, has received a restoration release. To see Sadko's Amazon listing click here. Sadly a search for Day the Earth Froze under it's original title (Sampo) did not return any hits.
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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan