Thursday, November 20, 2014

Movie review: The Giants of Thessaly

The Giants of Thessaly (aka The Argonauts) (I giganti della Tessaglia) 
 Starring: Roland Carey, Ziva Rodann, Alberto Farnese, Massimo Girotti, Nadia Sanders, Luciano Marin, Cathia Caro, Alfredo Varelli, Gil Delamare, Maria Teresa Vianello, Nando Tamberlani, Alberto Sorrentino, Massimo Pianforini, Paolo Gozlino, Raf Baldassarre, Nando Angelini, Taki Karas, Franco Gentili, Jacques Stany, Gualberto Titta, Alfredo Zammi, Salvatore Furnari, Pietro Tordi, Raimondo Magni 
Director: Riccardo Freda 
Cinecittà Studios, LUCE Studios, Italy, France, 1960. 
The Giants of Thessaly title
Mill Creek Warriors 50 movie box set again! 

It is 1250 BC. Year ago Jason the King of Thessaly (Roland Carey) left his wife Creusa (Ziva Rodann) and son Aitus to be taken care by his cousin Adrasto (Alberto Farnese). To save their people from disaster, Jason and the Argonauts set their sails to Colchis. Angry Zeus has demanded that Jason must find the stolen Golden Fleece and bring it back to city of Iolco. It was a gift to Thessaly from Zeus, and volcanoes will destroy the city if the Fleece is not found. However the people are restless and fear that Jason has failed. 

Antinoo (Raf Baldassarre) and other members of council fear that the city will be destroyed and suggest evacuating the people. Adrasto tries to break the peoples faith in Jason so that also Creusa will believe that Jason has failed. Then Adrasto and the council plan to take the treasures and emigrate to another land, with Creusa becoming Adrasto's wife. 
Alberto Farnese
Ziva Rodann
Raf Baldassarre
Meanwhile Jason's ship Argo is struggling in storm. The mast breaks and shipbuilder Argus (Alfredo Varelli) must repair the ship. Food and water are getting scarce. They hope that the current will bring them to land. Some of the crew would like to return to Iolco and are getting rebellious. (One of the rebelling crewmen is writer Gualberto Titta, who looks a lot like Mimmo Palmara!) Just when things are getting bleak, it starts raining so now they have fresh water. 
Storm breaks the mast
Gualberto Titta
Rebelling sailor
Roland Carey
Some driftwood from the ship is found on the shore and the council thinks that the ship has sunk. Argo's father (Massimo Pianforini) does not believe that they are dead. He is blind so he has a small assistant Nano (Salvatore Furnari). 
Massimo Pianforini and Salvatore Furnari
Argo's father and Nano
The Argonauts arrive on an island full of beautiful women. Queen Gaia (Nadia Sanders) tries to get acquainted with Jason. Also other men are occupied with the girls. Argus and always hungry Licaone (Alberto Sorrentino) are looking for wood to repair the ship. They find some talking sheep. Laertes (Paolo Gozlino) and other men have been turned into sheep. 
Massimo Girotti
Nadia Sanders and Roland Carey
Queen Gaia and Jason
Alberto Sorrentino and Alfredo Varelli
Licaone and Argus
The women in the island are witches. Jason finds a talking ring and flees the palace. Gaia must use potions to keep herself young. Jason finds Gaia's sister (Maria Teresa Vianello) chained to a wall. Gaia is the ugly daughter of sun god Apollo. If she manages to seduce Jason she will be beautiful forever. Gaia shoots Olivia with an arrow. Jason breaks Gaia's spell. Gaia puts a curse on him, that he will lose his throne and son. 
Maria Teresa Vianello
Gaia's sister
Gaia's true form
Citizens of Iolco start to rebel. The rebellion is put down bloodily, which upsets Creusa. Adrasto tries to persuade Creusa to leave with him to conquer new lands. She declines. Jason and his men leave the witches' island. Licaone frets having to eat fish again. Laertes misses his son who will be a good archer (his son is Ulysses by the way). Orfeus tells about his failed attempt to get his wife Eurydice from Underworld. The Argonauts find another island with a city. The people are afraid and fleeing the island. The king (Nando Tamberlani) tells that a Cyclops monster is destroying the city. The Argonauts find the monster in it's cave. The battle is fierce but finally Jason puts out the Cyclops's eye. 
Paolo Gozlino
Nando Tamberlani and Cathia Caro
King and his daughter Atalanta
Cyclops monster
Euristeus (Luciano Marin) falls in love with king's daughter Atalanta (or Aglaia) (Cathia Caro). Atalanta wants him to stay, but Euristeus has to go. He promises to return but Atalanta does not believe him. She hides herself in the ship. Leocrates (actor unknown) finds her and tries to fondle her. Euristeus fights with him. Euristeus is accused of smuggling a woman on board the ship. Atalanta is sentenced to be put on a raft. Leocrates and Euristeus are sentenced to death. Orpheus speaks for them. He asks Euristeus and Atalanta to have faith in the power of love. The sentences are commuted. Leocrates is given 100 lashes and Euristeus and Atalanta are put on a raft with supplies. 
Cathia Caro and Luciano Marin
Euristeus and Atalanta
In Iolco Creusa finds his son missing, nanny Olivia murdered and herself locked into the palace. Adrasto shows his true colours and threatens to kill Jason's son if Creusa does not submit to be his wife. Meanwhile Argo has lost it's way because of Gaia's curse. The ship also catches fire. Finally they find a mountain that shines, the Golden Fleece is on the top of it. Because of the prophecy Jason must go alone to get it. After a dangerous climb he has to swim across a lake. Next he has to scale huge statue. After getting the Golden Fleece the volcano in Thessaly goes dormant. 
Jason climbing the mountain
Huge statue holding the Fleece
Adrasto wants to destroy their ship before they return. Euristeus and Atalanta return to the city. Euristeus leaves to warn Jason about Adrasto. On the ship Licaone offers words of wisdom: "Onions taste like apples when you're hungry. And they make your hair curly too." Jason has a plan: the ship will sail normally to the harbour. Next day Adrasto's and Creusa are to be wedded in the temple. When Argo returns Adrasto sends an army to stop Jason. The ship is full of wooden dummies and the real crew is already in the temple. After an epic fight in which Orpheus and several other Argonauts are killed, Adrasto takes Jason's son as hostage. Jason throws him with a spear and Leocrates saves the baby. Euristeus and Atalanta marry and happy times begin. 
Hostage situation
The Golden Fleece returned to its place
Yay, the film is wide screen version (but still somewhat cropped, boo). This is a bigger budget peplum with some nice special effects by Carlo Rambaldi. Stylish cinematography and sets are also good. This movie was made three years earlier than "Jason and the Argonauts" (which I would rate Excellent). Music by Carlo Rustichelli is epic. However there are lots of characters so it's hard to remember who is who. I think this is one of those underrated adventure gems.

Rating: Very Good


  1. I like this movie and know the old story. Many great male actors

    1. This is nice but unknown film that would deserve a good restoration. The scene where Jason climbs to get the Golden Fleece is great and epic.

  2. great movie especially the end while Orpheus is saying his farewell he hears and sees Eurydice coming to take them both to paradise


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