Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Neo-mythology: Translating the peplums

The true problem, of course, is that I get mortally bored when I translate something I wrote. I think it is because I already know how the story is going, and so there’s no fun in translating it. But we’ll talk about this later. Maybe.

Because you see, considering that right now about 90% of my Amazon income comes from English-language sales, I’ve been thinking about translating some of the things I published in Italian, to see how they would work on the international market.
Right now I’d like to give it a try with my Asteria series of sword & sandal novelettes, but here I crash against two problems.
The first, as mentioned above, is the fact that I find translating myself mindbogglingly boring.
The second is the matter of the titles.
Which brings us to Maciste – or Samson,or The Son of Hercules, as it was sold in the US of A. Continue reading

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The Silent Cinema Blogathon: Cabiria (1914)

indexIt’s the Silent Cinema Blogathon, hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – follow the link to get the full list of blogs participating and movies being reviewed.
Join the fun.

Now, here at Karavansara, we go for pulp adventure, historical fiction and other less-than-sophisticated forms of entertainment, and it is therefore fitting that we take a look at a movie that was the mother of all sword & sandal flicks, of all the historical movie fantasies and Greco-Roman “peplums”.
A movie that almost exactly one century ago, was the first movie to be shown in the White House.

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Other People’s Pulps – Revenge of the Peplums

cabiria101They never wrote novels about Maciste.
But someone’s writing them now.

Back in the ’50s and ’60s, Italy had its own brand of fantasy movies – they were called peplums, from the standard garment worn by the female characters, the classic attire of ancient Greece, or more generically “film mitologico” – myth-based movies.
And we’re talking classical myths – Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses… and Maciste.

Maciste first surfaced in 1914, in the silent era colossal Cabiria, portrayed by Bartolomeo Pagano, a former docks worker turned actor.
The success of the character was such that the following year Maciste was back on screen, starring in his own spin-off – the straightforwardly titled Maciste. Continue reading