“Deceit does not go with a man of such quality.”
Legendary strongman Hercules (Steve Reeves) romances the daughter (Sylva Koscina) of King Pelius (Ivo Garrani) and assists Jason (Fabrizio Mioni) on his quest to secure the Golden Fleece.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Ancient Greece and Rome
- Historical Drama
- Supernatural Powers
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this enormously popular “muscleman epic”, starring former Mr. Universe Steve Reeves, “doesn’t compare to Ray Harryhausen’s epics”, but is “much better than its imitators”. He argues that while it’s “hurt by dubbing, lack of wit, and extreme earnestness”, it’s “still fun”. Maybe so, but for my money, I’d much rather rewatch a Harryhausen flick any day — namely Jason and the Argonauts (1963), which even Peary concedes covered “the same ground… much more spectacularly”. The dialogue in Hercules is laughably corny (“My heart has reached the crossroads of destiny.”), and the dubbing is highly distracting — yet it remains one-time must-see viewing given its historical importance as the film which “spawned [a] wave of Italian-made, myth-based, sword-and-sandal films”.
Note: Reading the film’s amusingly bombastic tagline (available on IMDb) gives one a sense of the excitement kids at the time must have felt about this flick:
SEE the heroic Hercules rip down the Age of Orgy’s lavish palace of lustful pleasure! SEE the Mightiest of Men fight the Mightiest of Beasts, the killer Cretan Bull! SEE Hercules fight off the savage love-starved Amazon women! SEE the seductive Amazons lure men to voluptuous revels and violent deaths! SEE the powerful Hercules crush the savage ape-men who guard the shrine of the Golden Fleece!
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Steve Reeves’ appropriately ripped body (it’s worth a look!)
- Mario Bava’s cinematography
- Effective historical sets
Yes, but only for its historical importance.