Chris Bishop on Peplum Films in Cold-War America

Peplum Films in Cold-War America or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Beefcake

Thursday 19 October, 1pm Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLL

American interest in the ancient world took on a new life in the second half of the twentieth century, thanks largely to the Marshall Plan and the bourgeoning opportunities for US investment in the European film industry. The subsequent craze for ‘peplum’ films (or Sword and Sandal epics) marks an interesting intersection of economic pragmatism, a shift in US demographics, a crisis in Hollywood, and an intense struggle for the public recognition of the homoerotic.

Chris Bishop teaches in the Centre for Classical Studies, ANU.  His most recent monograph, Medievalist Comics and the American Century was published last year by the University Press of Mississippi, who have subsequently asked him to contribute to a forthcoming collection on neoclassicism in comics (research for which forms the basis of this paper).


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