By Jermey, on July 12, 2010
Director: Vittorio Cottafavi
Cast: Reg Park,Fay Spain,Ettore Manni,Luciano Marin,Laura Efrikian
It is doubtful that any cultural figure, real or made-up, has fueled more people’s imagination than Hercules. The argument could be made that he was the world’s very first super hero. As the son of Zeus, Hercules was a semi-god, a mortal with extra powers. In Hercules case, the extra power he inherited from his great father was literally power, Hercules is the strongest man in Greek mythology. For decades screen writers and directors have been using legends about Hercules’s incredible strength to create epic fantasy films and entertain one generation of movie goers after another.
Hercules and the Captive Women is an example of what can happen when someone’s imagination has free rein. It is also an excellent example of what can happen when a skilled director and screenwriter can accomplish by marrying two or more famous legends. This 1961 film pairs the scantily dressed Hercules with a lovely maiden, who needs to be saved. After saving her, the grateful maiden than takes Hercules to her home, Atlantis.
It turns out that bringing returning to Atlantis was not one of the maiden’s better ideas. The queen has one goal, to kill the girl. Still it could be worse; the maiden could have gone home without Zeus’s incredibly strong son at her side. Just like always Hercules uses his strength to help save the captive women.
In addition to being a good example of what can happen when two legendary tales are mashed together, Hercules and the Captive Women is also a wonderful example of a genre of film that the industry calls sword and sandal. Like this movie, sword and sandal movies are an Italian creation. The genre requirements are simple. The film is Italian. It features either a mythological or biblical hero who is capable of incredible feats, there is fighting, and there are usually two women who are at odds with one another. Most film experts feel that Hercules (directed by Pietro Francisci) created the genre, and Hercules and the Captive Women does an excellent job maintaining the quality of work fans of genre have come to expect. Most fans of the movie find that in addition to having all the elements of a good sword and sandal flick, Hercules and the Captive Women is made even more entertaining by the liberal use of humor.
Hercules and the Captive Women is an Italian film, and the actors speak Italian during the entire movie. In this movie, Hercules is portrayed by Reg Park. The films antagonist, the Queen of Atlantis, is beautifully acted by the lovely Fay Spain. The film, which was directed by Vittorio Cottafavi, was originally released on April 15, 1963. In addition to directing, Cottafavi also co-wrote the screenplay with Sandro Continenza.
One of the most surprising things about Hercules and the Captive Women is the soundtrack. In several places, the musical director opted to use the same list of music that also played during the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
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