Saturday, March 26, 2011

L'eroe di Babilonia (Italy/France, 1963)

aka The Beast of Babylon Against the Son of Hercules (USA) / Heroes of Babylon (UK) / Die Sklavinnen von Damaskus (Germany)

[German title lit. trans.: Slave Women of Damascus]

Directed by: Siro Marcellini
Gordon Scott: Nippur
Geneviève Grad: Tamira
Andrea Scotti: Namar
Célia Cély: Agar
Moira Orfei: Ura
Mario Petri: Kyros
Piero Lulli: Balthazar
Andrea Aureli: Anarsi
Giuseppe Addobbati: Licardio
Paola Petrini
Harold Bradley: Mursuk

I know nothing about the Italian peplum film genre ... and I know quite a bit about it!! Huh???

Well, I've never really watched that many of the films (I think this is the third one I've watched in total!) but my old friend Henrik Larsen used to tell me lots about them and in the old days I would read all his reviews and articles about the genre in his magazine Obskuriøst. So I'm not gonna bother with a review of a film that belongs within a context I'm not familiar with. Instead I'll post a bucketful of screen grabs and let you decide if you think it's something you'd like to explore any further.

It's a bumpy road padded with big sweaty, half naked men and often grabbing each other. Apparently these films are favourite viewing in gay circles and you can certainly see why. However, you can't complain about the lack of gorgeous women in L'EROE DI BABILONIA as there were aplenty! But don't expect any nudity, this is from 1963 after all, but, hey, "less is more"! I don't know how well L'EROE DI BABILONIA holds up against the rest of the genre but I was well entertained.

As far as I remember Henrik once told me there are about 200 films within the peplum genre and it lasted from the mid-1950s thru to the early 60s. After that the audiences got bored with the whole thing and the Italian film makers discovered the westerns and invented the spaghetti western genre instead!

"Silence! I kill you!"

NB: The cast credits list is from German Wiki. Blame them if it's not correct!


  1. I've got the Spanish DVD for this one and it looks great. It's a little longer than the English dubbed version as is most often the case. Personally, all the critics who claimed these movies were aimed at gay audiences were probably gay themselves. They said the same damn thing about the SW's and kung fu movies particularly those from Chang Cheh. They didn't wear jeans and t shirts back then for f*ck sake. Such people need to get a grip and enjoy the show. I've watched these movies since I was a kid and never saw them as anything more than superhero pictures, which, according to an Italian documentary on the genre, that's all they were.

  2. Hey Brian,

    Someone who collected these films told me they were popular with gay audiences but I really have no way of knowing if they really are. In any case, whether they are or not, I have no problem with it. I enjoyed the film heaps and I'm not gay. When John Woo started gaining popularity in the mainstream in America I remember there were critics who said his films had gay themes which is of course bollox (no pun intended)!

    You've got a Spanish DVD and there's an English dubbed one too?? I did a Google and could not find one single DVD release! (but okay it was a quick search, LOL). I taped my copy off a German satellite channel.

  3. Well no doubt gay audiences would find the movies appealing because of all the muscled up guys in the movies. But a lot of critics make out like these movies had subliminal homo undertones "Look at the positioning of this sword on the poster. That's clearly supposed to be a penis". Gimme a fuckin break.

    They said the same thing about the SW's with the guns being an extension of the man's penis. Yeah I remember that about John Woo, but then his style is the same as his mentor, Chang Cheh and the same thing was said about him and it's way off base. Everybody's a homo in movies I suppose.

    Actually, Jack, I had planned doing a review of this one from the DVD last week but never did. I did include it in my 26 Best Sword and Sandal list with images from the dubbed version. The Spanish DVD has an Italian track, too, but no other English options.