Monday, November 10, 2014

Movie Review: Hercules Unchained

Hercules Unchained (Ercole e la regina di Lidia) 
Starring:  Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Sylvia Lopez, Patrizia Della Rovere, Primo Carnera, Carlo D'Angelo, Gabriele Antonini, Cesare Fantoni, Mimmo Palmara, Andrea Fantasia, Aldo Fiorelli, Gino Mattera, Aldo Pini, Nino Marchetti, Daniele Vargas 
Director: Pietro Francisci 
Galatea Film, Lux Film, Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France, Urania Film, Italy, France, Spain. 1959.
Hercules Unchained title
Another movie from Warriors 50 Movie Pack by Mill Creek Entertainment. 

This is a direct sequel to movie Hercules (1958) which is not included in the Mill Creek box (d'oh!) 

Hercules (Steve Reeves) returns in Attica with his bride Iole (Sylva Koscina) and young Ulysses son of Laertes (Gabriele Antonini). They are leaving the friends of Hercules as they travel to the city of Thebes: Tifi (Aldo Pini) the pilot of Hercules' ship Argos, Laertes (Andrea Fantasia) the King of Ithaca and Argos the Shipbuilder (Aldo Fiorelli). On their way they see some Argive mercenaries. 
Andrea Fantasia and Steve Reeves
Argos and Hercules
Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina and Gabriele Antonini
Hercules, Iole and Ulysses
Hercules takes a nap. A giant Antaeus (Primo Carnera) stops them and demands a payment. Hercules still wants to sleep (maybe he is tired from the adventures in the previous film or something). Antaeus decides that he likes Iole and wants to take her as his wife. Forced to fight, Hercules beats the giant easily. The second round is a bit tougher. The giant gets stronger every time he is knocked down, because his mother is Earth goddess. So Hercules lifts him up and throws him into water. That'll do for now. 
Primo Carnera
Antaeus the Giant
In a cave they meet Oedipus, former King of Thebes (Cesare Fantoni). He has left the throne after Polinices (Mimmo Palmara) and Eteocles (Sergio Fantoni) demanded that he must abdicate the throne. The brothers agreed to rule together, each reigning one year at a time but now Eteocles wants to rule alone. Thebes will be destroyed if the quarrel continues. Polinices gives Hercules six days to turn his brother's head before he sends the Argives. Oedipus then enters the gates of Inferno (actually being set in Greece it should be Hades but the dubbing says it is Inferno). 
Cesare Fantoni
Mimmo Palmara
Sergio Fantoni
In the palace Hercules meets Eteocles and convinces him to leave the throne for his brother. Crazy Eteocles is running short of Tiger tamers. He decides to go to Egypt to get new Tiger tamers and also get some allies. On a way to deliver the news to Polinices, Hercules gets thirsty. He drinks water from a strange fountain. That's a big mistake! Hercules loses his memory. Ulysses tries to revive him but Hercules shoves him aside. A group of soldiers takes fainted Hercules to a ship. Ulysses pretends to be a deaf-mute servant of Hercules, and he comes along. 
Do not drink from a strange fountain!
Queen Omphale of Lydia (Sylvia Lopez) captures men, makes them her love slaves and kills the previous man. The amnesiac man is then said to be the King of Lydia. With the Queen and dance girls around, Hercules begins to like the idea of being the king. Omphale makes the men drink the Water of Forgetfulness to keep them from remembering the past. The water also makes Hercules weak. Ulysses tries to make him drink regular water instead. Ulysses also sends a message to his father Laertes. Laertes gathers his friends and travels to Lydia. 
Steve Reeves andSylvia Lopez
It's good to be a king
Andrea Fantasia
Laertes and his brave warriors
Meanwhile Eteocles is getting restless as Polinices' troops are concentration near Thebes. Eteocles takes Iole as a hostage. He also arrests the high-priest Creonte (Carlo D'Angelo). Meanwhile Ulysses finds a creepy museum where Omphale's former men are kept preserved using Egyptian techniques. Hercules begins to regain his strength. Omphale has to go meet Laertes. The Queen now casts her eyes on one of Laertes' men, Castor (Willi Colombini).
Steve Reeves and Gabriele Antonini
Strength is coming back
Hercules remembers now who he is. Omphale says that he really loves Hercules. She will not let Hercules or his friends leave alive. Hercules throws a table and statues on the soldiers. Having lost the love of Hercules, Omphale preserves herself using Egyptian techniques.
Sylvia Lopez
Plz don't go says Omphale
Walter Grant and Steve Reeves
Hercules does some weightlifting
The time limit for delivering the message to Polinices is up. "I've been tricked by the gods!" yells Hercules. The mad King Eteocles has no plans to give the city to Polinices. He makes his point by killing Iole's servants and threatens to feed Iole to the tigers. Eteocles challenges Polinices to a duel. Meanwhile Hercules and friends infiltrate the city. Hercules gets tricked into the tiger pit (he sure does not seem very smart). Well, bad for the tigers. The rest of the team beats the soldiers of Eteocles, even old Aesculapio (Walter Grant) knocks some enemies down. Meanwhile Iole has escaped but is at the hands of an evil mercenary captain (Ugo Sasso). 
Walter Grant
Old Aesculapio has some tricks in his sleeve
Ugo Sasso and Sylva Koscina
Mercenary captain captures Iole
The dueling brothers seem to be equal(ly bad) fighters. The mercenary captain now sets out to conquer the city. Hercules easily pulls down their siege towers. Hercules and Iole live happily at least until the next movie. 
Sergio Fantoni and Mimmo Palmara
Eteocles and Polinices prepare for duel
Hercules pulling some strings
Happy until the next movie
The movie uses low camera angles to enhance the size of the legendary characters (although Antaeus actor Primo Carnera was also in reality a tall guy). Mario Bava also worked with this film, adding a stylish touch. The movie combines Hercules myths and also elements from the Greek tragedy of Oedipus and his sons. In the original myths however Hercules spent whole year with Omphale and they had some children. 

The DVD picture and audio quality of the Mill Creek version are quite acceptable (but still not widescreen). The movie is a fun and entertaining adventure, being one of the better sword and sandals movies. Hercules is an easy-going and quite lazy hero. Ulysses and old guy Aesculapio offer some comic relief. The sets and sceneries are quite good.

Rating: Good

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest! (All comments are moderated before publishing so please be patient!)

Recommendations by Engageya