Category: peplums

Chelo Alonso! Cuban-born, she started as a s…

Chelo Alonso! Cuban-born, she started as a stripper at the Folies Bergere in Paris where she combined striptease moves with Afro-Cuban dance and grind. Her nickname was “the Cuban H-Bomb.” She did a lot of movies in Italy where she played evil queens and female pirates, and she was so famous in the 1960s that Che Guevara himself personally went to Italy to ask her to return to Cuba after the revolution. She even had a small part as a female peasant in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

She cut a really dramatic figure as Cleopatra. 

Virginia Mayo and Jack Palance in “The Silver …

Virginia Mayo and Jack Palance in “The Silver Chalice,” set in Greece.

Paul Newman, who made his film debut in this film, later called it “the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s”.

Steve Reeves as Sandokan, the Malaysian Pirate…

Steve Reeves as Sandokan, the Malaysian Pirate, foe of all Englishmen. 

Though he is identified with the role of Hercules, Steve Reeves only played Herc twice, and most of his 60+ film career was in other roles like this one. 

The Sandokan movies were based on a pirate-adventure book series set in Malaysia by author Emilio Salgari. He is not as well known in the English-speaking world as he is in the Italian and Spanish speaking world, possibly because his novels were anti-imperialist. For that reason, Salgari was a favorite of figures like Che Guevara and Isabel Allende (who wrote a few Salgari-esque stories herself).