Monday, October 20, 2008

Hercules and the Tyrants

This is yet another Italian Hercules film, this one filmed in 1964 as Ercole contro i tiranni di Babilonia. I can't find much more info on it, but it is presented by the legendary Samual Z. Arkoff.
This time out, Hercules is played by Rock Stevens. That name may not ring a bell, but two years later he will co-star in the hit series Mission: Impossible under his real name of Peter Lupus. Lupus will play Willie Armitage, the muscle of Peter Graves' IMF team, and in the 1980s he'll also be a regular on the short-lived series Police Squad (one of my favourite shows of all time).
Here, Lupus sure looks the part of Hercules, he's as beefy as they come, but interestingly even though he is the only actor speaking his lines in English, his voice has been dubbed like the rest of the cast who speak (presumably) Italian.
The movie is very silly. In the first scene, Lupus as Hercules frees some slaves as they are being force-marched across a rocky plateau. He throws boulders down onto the slave-drivers as they sit astride their horses. (The fun part is that the boulders are as big as the riders themselves. They catch them in their laps, scream like their insides are being squashed flat, then they and their boulders tumble out of their horses' saddles. The horses, of course, don't flinch at all. One would think that a boulder landing on a rider would buckle the horse's legs, too. But I digress.)
The plot, such as it is, involves Hercules rescuing the Queen of the Hellens who, in disguise, as been captured by the slavers. Of course, the throne of the Hellens is in doubt, so everyone except my grandmother has some sort of plan to usurp the vacant throne (and I wouldn't put it past Gran, either).
Lupus tries, but he's not a great actor and doesn't have much to work with here, but he looks the part so that helps.
But not enough.

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