Thursday, 13 November 2008

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)

The Italian-French co-production Hercules and the Captive Women (Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide) is a fairly typical example of the classic peplum - or sword & sandal - genre of the 50s and 60s. Hercules and his friend Androcles set off on a ship to save Greece from a mysterious invading force. They are shipwrecked, and Hercules finds himself on a small island where a young woman is being held captive by the evil Proteus. She is in fact the only captive woman in the movie, but I guess they thought Hercules and the Captive Woman would have been a less impressive title.

Despite his shape-shifting abilities Proteus is no match for Hercules. It turns out that the young woman is the daughter of the Queen of Atlantis, so Atlantis is the next stop on the journey. the Queen of Atlantis isn’t quite as overjoyed as one might expect to have her daughter safely returned to her. It transpires that Atlantis has some dark secrets. There’s a priest who still worships Uranus, the predecessor of Zeus, and there’s a cavern in which some of the blood of Uranus is preserved, blood with extraordinary powers.

Hercules and his pals(including his son and a dwarf named Timotheus) have the usual adventures that you expect in this sort of film. There are some reasonable action scenes, there’s a touch of romance, and there’s treachery and confusion as the evil queen exercises her diabolical powers.

Reg Park is a bit on the wooden side as Hercules, but that’s no great problem. There’s plenty of adventure, there’s a beautiful but evil queen, an army of inhuman super-warriors, and some reasonable (by 1960 standards) special effects. It delivers fun lightweight entertainment, which is all it ever sets out to do, and if you’re a fan of this genre or of old-fashioned adventure movies you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

1 comment:

venoms5 said...

I really enjoyed this one, D. I used to own the Rhino VHS, only that tape had horrible sound. The European DVD is supposed to be a bit longer, which is often the case with these films. I've been steadily picking these up from overseas lately so hopefully I can get one of this title to see what was cut from its US release. Reg Park was very popular, even though he only did five of these movies. His first two are the best, imo. The remaining three range from mediocre to outright terrible.