Biopic of Constantine the Great, set between 293-312 AD, from his days as Tribune to his accession as Roman Emperor of Gaul under the tetrarchy system and ending with his battle against the usurper Roman Emperor Maxentius in Rome.
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A pretty thin plot stretched about as far a it will go, and little more than an excuse for Lee and Sernas to get their clothes off at the slightest provocation.
Lee, in her first peplum appearance when she was still billed as "per autorizzazione della Rank Films", plays pure and innocent Iride (a bit of a stretch to her talents), slave to sculptor Praxiteles (Girotti) and model for his statue of the goddess Aphrodite. One day she finds injured Macedonian soldier Laertes (Sernas) washed up on the beach and takes him home, as always seems to happen in these films. Naturally the two fall for each other, arousing the jealousy of Praxiteles, who betrays Laertes to the Greek soldiers who have been searching for him. Laertes escapes, but Iride, believing him dead, deserts Praxiteles and winds up working at the Greek soldiers orgies. Laertes leads a victorious army to find his love, and rescues her from a life of sin in the nick of time.
Lee, who hadn't yet developed the hardened 'exotic' look she displayed in later genre pictures before her untimely death, only appears topless from the back, but her skimpy frock leaves little to the imagination so must have been pretty daring at the time. Sernas was on familiar territory having already appeared in Helen Of Troy, and he played a practically identical role four years later in The Centurion.
Not to be confused with Aphrodite, Goddess Of Love, released the same year.
One of a number of Italian peplums which, while it received a wide cinematic release in the US, remains strangely impossible to find in an English language print, and has never appeared to date on DVD or video anywhere in the world. The Italian language print which I viewed, taken from a TV broadcast, ran 84 minutes, 16 minutes longer than the running time listed here.
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