Tag Archives: sword-and-sandal movies

Elizabeth Taylor and The Cleavage of Cleopatra…

Elizabeth Taylor’s epic starring vehicle Cleopatra came out in June 1963, but I didn’t see it until 1964, for a fifty cent ticket on its third run in a small theater on the North Side of Chicago. I was almost thirteen years old. I remember thinking the movie was pretty good, even though people had said negative things about it. And I remember saying at the time that fifty cents was really a good price to pay for a four hour trip into the ancient world!

I hadn’t seen the whole film again since, so when Turner Classic Movies ran it the other night I gave it a watch from start to finish. I enjoyed it, although I didn’t think it was a great film. But its mix of politics, romance and spectacle was absorbing.

But what most struck me now was how it was quite a showcase for Taylor’s cleavage.

The admiring fellow is, of course, Richard Burton as Mark Antony.

I wonder now how that cleavage affected me back in 1964. Cleavage displayed like this was not something that I saw much of growing up in the sexually conservative Jewish middle class neighborhood of West Rogers Park. So the constant focus on boobie vistas in Cleopatra may well have blown my mind at that tender, impressionable age. As it also did in June 2019 when I watched the film again from beginning to end.

As Cleopatra gives Caesar daring political advice, Mark Antony (out of frame) falls for her hard.

Now I can’t help but think that Cleopatra may have had something to do with my utter fascination with cleavage in recent years, a fascination which really didn’t start until I was in my late forties/early fifties after I got an amazing lapdance from a stripper with two utterly beautiful large natural breasts. Until then, I think a fetish for cleavage existed “underground” in my subconscious, and I’m not sure of the reason(s) why. Perhaps the ubiquity of cleavage in the media and on the street nowadays is what brought it back to the surface for me, big time.

Cleopatra in her regal finery, cleavage dazzlingly displayed!


In any case, I therefore conclude that perhaps my long-ago viewing of Cleopatra on that fifty cent ticket (plus a dime for buttered popcorn) had something to do with my writing of femdom erotica ebooks like this one…available on Amazon here…try the free sample just by clicking…

One of my best femdom ebooks. Yolanda is charmingly merciless with her “boob for boobies,” the haplessly cleavage-addled Orwell Jarvis.


…and the imprinting of Cleopatra’s CleavageScope (oh, that’s just my silly invented word!) probably had something or other to do with my ever-burgeoning admiration for the gorgeous and b-b-busty Goddess Lycia, about whom you can learn m-m-more here. And I want to emphasize that her talents are by no means limited to her sharing tantalizing glimpses of her, um, her c-c-cleavage, but are but one aspect of her entrancing hypnodomme erotic powers as conveyed through her skillful writings, striking images, intoxicating videos, and especially her mind-enrapturing audio files. For adults only, of course.

Goddess Lycia is a true Mistress of the Selfie as well as of men’s minds.


Back in the early 2000s, there was a magazine entitled Cleavage put out by one of the publishers I worked for. It never seemed to hit big, perhaps because the magazine showed full bare breasts, instead of obsessively concentrating on the tease of cleavage alone. Although it probably wouldn’t have been practical on the marketplace to do an adult magazine without showing some bare tits and nipples, I would have photo-edited it very, very carefully to emphasize tease over exposure and nudity. And given the way I feel about cleavage, it might have been a success like the other fetish magazines I did for many years: the ass-crammed Cheeks (1988-2005), the toe-and-sole utopia of Leg World (2004-2010), and the mature ladies sexual paradise of Girls Over 40 (1988-2008).


Images of Goddess Lycia are ¬©GoddessLycia and used by courtesy of Goddess Lycia. Screencaps of Cleopatra, 1963, by yours truly. And the photographer’s credit for my ebook Rule By Cleavage is prominently displayed right on the excellent cover above.


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Hail the Great Tower of the Mighty Queen!

A few months ago I entered an online contest at the Westgate Gallery in Los Angeles; the task was to come up with a storyline for a sexploitation film of which there only remained a title and a poster. To my delight, I won, received some store credit, and got to pick any poster I wanted. Not surprisingly for me, given my love for the ancient and the lurid, I selected something from the sword-and-sandal genre: Slave Queen of Babylon, Italian title Io Semiramide (for Semiramis, the legendary queen of the title).

A poster worthy of an epic film! Dig that mighty tower, and her obedient minions in the shadows behind her.


I’ve never actually seen this entire movie; it’s posted on YouTube, but only in Italian, so I figured I’d wait until a dubbed or English-subtitled version showed up. Although we can get a lot from the visuals in these movies, I like following the nuances of plot through the usual pithy dialogue in these flicks…

Anyway, although I tweeted about this contest and poster after I won last April, I never got around to blogging about it until now. The poster is very large; from top to bottom, it could take up almost the length of a wall; but I hope sometime to rearrange my apartment and have it framed and displayed, and then invite my friends over to join me in worshiping Semiramis. ūüėČ

Here’s a little quote from an old book telling you about this mighty lady:

That tower in the poster looks a lot more interesting than the ones going up in Manhattan nowadays! Maybe we need a reincarnation of Semiramis to work on the skyline here before it just becomes stuffed with more boring glass phalli.

Be sure to check out the Westgate Gallery. They have a lot of cool stuff!


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Crushing on sexy Sixties British actress Margaret Lee…

I have the late-middle-age equivalent of a schoolboy crush on pretty and perky British actress Margaret Lee. Sometimes she’s blonde, or sometimes she’s a redhead, as you see in the pic below. She starred in many a 1960s Eurospy and sword & sandal movie. I collect and watch her old films when I can find them, such as SAMSON AND THE SEA BEASTS which I found at Sinister Cinema here. I initially found out about her in a book called Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television 1962-1973, by Tim Lisanti and Louis Paul, available on Amazon here.

Here are a couple of pix from the Samson movie which I snapped of Margaret from my tv screen. She was just tossed to the floor by a villain, but you can see the feisty gleam of defiance in her eyes.

I don’t know if that was her real voice or some other actress’s dubbing, but in some films she sounds a little like Audrey Hepburn. Which is extra-sexy coming out of Margaret’s voluptuous body.


The legs dangling over the pit while Samson fights with a crocodile are Margaret’s. She screams at the menacing reptile with some real Fay Wray-style lung power!

Although she finds herself in a “damsel in distress” situation, Margaret is no shrinking violet in this fun flick.

I’m making some more pix of Margaret from one of her spy movies, and I’ll post those soon!

You might ask, what does a post like this have to do with a blog called EROTICA IS MY TRADE? Well, these are the types of features I used to like to concoct for the adult magazines I edited and for which I wrote for more than four decades. But since sex publications have basically disappeared in the last couple of years, and I primarily work for hardcore websites and/or Twitter doing explicit porn writing, I’m just doing stuff like this for my own pleasure, and yours, on this blog. Practicing my trade, you might say, and having fun! I hope it’s fun and entertaining for you too.


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The Queen of Sheba, glorious and fiery in her chariot!

In the fun 1952 Italian spectacle The Queen of Sheba, the son of King Solomon expresses his love for Princess Balkis (soon to assume the queenship) as they ride together in her chariot (she drives). He speaks fondly of “the fire in your eyes when you give an order…”

In this series of screen caps I’ve made, here’s a bit of that fire…courtesy of the marvelous eyes of actress Leonora Ruffo:

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You don’t need a recap of the dialogue from me;¬†the scene is all in her¬†eyes as she dreams both of love and power. Smoldering!!

And now for one more treat: you can see the queen race, on¬†her horse, the two men who are competing for her attentions. Check out this marvelous YouTube clip from Peplum TV here. Leonora Ruffo¬†rides like she’s a female centaur, and there is a real joy in her exultant expressions. Watch her throw¬†a spear and an axe¬†and shoot an arrow at various targets. Try to find the whole movie sometime, it’s very entertaining and has some incredible sets of ancient Jerusalem and Sheba, as well as¬†a musical score by the great Nino “The Godfather” Rota. Check out this clip and get a taste of those wild and wonderful “ancient” days of the imagination!

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Erotica, Femmes Fatale


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Brilliant dominatrix probes my perverse literary psyche!

A rainy, dreary day in Manhattan. I went out for a walk simply because I had to get out of my apartment for a little while, and I stopped at the flea market where I picked up a translation of Flaubert’s novel, Salammbo,¬†the exotic tale of a priestess of ancient Carthage. I’ve always wanted to dip into this book.

I recently saw a sword-and-sandal version of the story:

This is a more lurid poster for America:

Of course Salammbo has power over men, clouds their brains with lust…what other kinds of stories do I like to read lately? Or write? (I’m being 50% serious and 50% self-deprecating.)

[I got those cool movie posters from this great site here.]

I recently read the 1890s Pierre Louys novel Woman and the Puppet, about a wealthy Spanish nobleman who gets enamored and enslaved by a girl who works in a cigarette factory…despite her numerous lies, manipulations, and open infidelity, he always keeps crawling back…

Here is a picture of me enjoying the book, which I used in my brief column about it here on the Domme Dose website where I write weekly…

Amongst my various sins in this life, I freely mix a purple tee shirt with a green sports jacket…

Right now I’m about a hundred pages into Emile Zola’s late nineteenth century novel Nana, which is about a French actress, a bad thespian but a magnificent stage presence and sex symbol of her era (1867), who basically dominates various big shots. It’s supposed to have some amazing scenes of humiliation. The book is very absorbing, meticulous in its recreation of things like high society midnight dinner parties full of decolletage and drunkenness, but it takes real concentration to read. I hope I finish it. I probably will if only to get to those scenes of degradation…

Here are a couple of cinematic interpretations of Nana…the first from 1982:

The second from 1934, starring the actress Anna Sten, briefly a rival for Garbo-type status in Hollywood:

These are some early paperback covers of Nana. Both depict the amazing opening chapter, which goes into minute detail to describe how she comes onstage in her first theatrical performance as the “Blonde Venus” and, after a rocky start due to her lack of theatrical skills, eventually wows the audience with her total sex appeal and lack of pretention…

I got these Nana covers from the Caustic Critic blog, which has an interesting post about the history and influence of Zola on paperbacks here.

Meanwhile, I do my own humble best to write about the femmes fatale who walk amongst us–at least in my imagination. And today on the femdom site Domme Dose, a smart and beautiful dominant gal named Femme.S, with whom I’ve exchanged various comments on the site, wrote a very interesting review and interpretation of my two ebooks Learning to be Cruel and Learning to be Cruel Part 2. You can read her column, entitled “Learning to be Cruel: A Reminder of Why being Bad Feels so Damn Good to Me” right here. You can also learn more about Femme.S by visiting her blog here.

And if you haven’t read my Learning to be Cruel stories yet, I hope you’ll check them out. You don’t have to read the first one to enjoy the second; each is self-contained, although the second has a brief synopsis of what happened in the original story. You can find them on the Amazon store, complete with free samples that you read right online.

Just go to my Domme Dose columns here and here to read more about them!


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The divine beauty of Belinda Lee enraptures and captivates!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted because in addition to my usual thousands of words produced weekly for websites and magazines, I spent a good chunk of time writing my longest femdom story yet, which I will be putting up on Amazon shortly as a Kindle ebook. I just want to make the final polish to the story, which would be about forty pages long in print, and is 12,000 words of delectable kink and perversity in my Erotic Realism style that puts you into the scene so vividly you think it’s happening to you! That’s the kind of writing I like to read, and that I always aspire to create myself.

Meanwhile…take a look at this:

Isn’t this an amazing image? I find it so freakin’ sexy, those legs…the sand underneath her toes…the indolence of her exquisite hands as she looks down at the bare-chested, unconscious male…

Yes, a girl long ago finds a guy who’s out cold on a beach. And when she’s not rescuing stray beefcake, she’s posing for a statue of the goddess Aphrodite! This is a poster for a 1960 movie called The¬†Goddess of Love in English and La venere di Cheronea (The Venus of Cheronea) in Italian, the story of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles and his creation of a statue of Venus (aka the goddess Aphrodite). The movie starred the late Belinda Lee (1935-1961) in the title role, and if anybody could embody such a character (or at least, embody a girl who perfectly qualified to model for such a statue), it was Miss Lee.

I believe this is a publicity shot from that movie, used on a postcard. I saw The¬†Goddess of Love awhile back, and although it wasn’t a great movie, Belinda was wonderful to watch…

I recently wrote a magazine article about 1960s girlie magazines (it hasn’t come out yet, though, but I’ll let you know here when it does) and Belinda Lee’s pictures were in some of the issues, so I’ve got her on my brain…

She died young in a car accident in 1961. The driver survived, and when he died recently at age 91, he reportedly said that he wanted to be buried next to her.

Read more about Belinda on Wikipedia here.

I also recently saw Belinda in her lusty role in a pirate movie, Marie of the Isles. Here is a poster from it:

Even in the variable quality of video recordings made by fans and friends of these now-obscure movies, the hypnotic beauty of Miss Belinda Lee shines through brightly and lives forever!

These are the kinds of images that inspire me as I write, even though my erotic stories both for adult magazines or the Web are not about ancient Greeks or pirates–although I would like to write on such topics at some point. But my tales are always about alluring women who, like Belinda Lee, enrapture my heroes and give them through their beauty and vivacity a taste of the divine–and sometimes a taste of divine hell! ūüėČ Belinda was great at playing femmes fatale too.

Have a great Labor Day and I’ll be back next week with more info about my new ebook!


I found the image of the rare poster of La venere di Cheronea here.


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