Hercules Unchained

Hercules is seduced by the evil Queen Omphale while negotiating peace between two brothers contesting the throne of Thebes.

Original Title: Ercole e la regina di Lidia

Release Date: 13 July 1960 (USA)

Director: Pietro Francisci

Writer: Pietro Francisci (story), Sophocles (story)

Cast: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Sylvia Lopez, Gabriele Antonini, Primo Carnera, Patrizia Della Rovere, Sergio Fantoni

Country: Italy, France, Spain

Language: Spanish, Italian

One of the really great things about movies that are based on legendary myths is that you never know exactly what you are going to get. Some film directors opt to follow the myth exactly, never deviating, while others use the myth as inspiration and then let their imagination run wild, so that in the end they have a movie that sometimes bears very little resemblance to the original story. That is exactly what happens in Hercules Unchained. The movie is supposed to be about the legend of Hercules and Queen Omphale, but it does wander from the myth, adding interesting twists and turns.

Hercules faces a variety of obstacles during Hercules Unchained, obstacles that no one but Zeus’s strongest son could possibly hope to overcome. During the course of the movie Hercules loses his memory, mediate an argument between two brothers, save his wife, and fight several tigers. In addition to all of that, Hercules also manages to carve out enough time to help out the Theben army who find themselves under attack from the Polynices.

In Hercules Unchained, the son of Zeus is played by Steve Reeves. Previous to Hercules Unchained, Reeves also played Hercules in the 1958 classic Hercules. Hercules Unchained was the last time Reeves portrayed Greece’s strongest hero. The casting of Reeves in the role of Hercules was nothing short of inspired. Shortly before becoming an actor, in 1950, Steve Reeves won the Mr. Universe competition. This film helped prove that Reeves was capable of acting as well as being a body builder.

Sylva Koscina and Steve Reeves in Hercules Unchained

Sylva Koscina and Steve Reeves in Hercules Unchained

Other members of this 1959 fantasy film include Sylvia Lopez, Gabriel Antonini, Sylva Koscina, Fulvio Carrara, Primo Carnera, Cesare Fantoni, Willi Colombini, Carlo D’Angelo, and Gino Mattera. While the movie is good, one bittersweet note is Sylvia Lopez. When filming Hercules Unchained, this French model turned actress was battling leukemia, she died shortly after completing this Hercules film, while she was working on another film.

Hercules Unchained is an Italian film and can be heard in both Italian and Spanish. The movie is unrated in the United States. It was directed by Pietro Francisci. The screenplay was penned by Ennjo De Concini. The play was written by Aeschylus. The movie is 97 minutes long.

Anyone who is into sexy, bearded men, who are covered in a fine layer of oil and not much else, will appreciate how well Steve Reeves portrays Hercules. The movie is also all features several giggling serving girls and a gorgeous queen. The movie is packed full of action, you won’t get bored while you are watching it.

Like Hercules Against the Moonmen, Hercules Unchained was one of the movies featured on Mystery Theater 3000. It is currently available on both VHS and DVD. Hercules Unchained is a wonderful example of everything that a sword and sandal movie is supposed to be. It features a legendary character, has several beautiful women, and was made in Italy. Some film experts feel that the director, Pietro Francisci, helped create the genre of Sword and Sandal with Hercules Unchained and Hercules.


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