This classical peplum tells a fictitious story set in 490 BC, the time of the Medic Wars during which Persian armies sweep the Ancient world. Having brought home to Athens the Olympic victor's laurel crown, Philippides joins as commander the Sacred Guard, which is expected to defend the city-state's liberty, a year after the chasing of the tyrant Hippias. Athenian supporters of Hippias conspire, hoping to side Philippides by marriage to Theocrites' expensive servant Charis, and thus neutralize the guard. She fails to seduce him, as his heart is already taken by a young girl before the learns her name is Andromeda, daughter of Creuso. Everything personal is likely to be put on hold when the news breaks that the Persian King of kings Darius's vast army is marching on Greece, hoping its internal division will make its conquest a walk-over. Theocrites reproaches Miltiades to hold back the sacred guard to defend the Pallas temple after a likely defeat, and proposes instead to negotiate ... Written by
Director of photography Mario Bava was called to step in as director (uncredited) to finish the film, as Jacques Tourneur did not wish to extend his ten month contract. Galatea Film decided to reward Bava by giving him a chance to develop his own project as a solo director, Black Sunday (1960). See more »
Don't let the names of Jacques Tourneur and Mario Bava fool you into thinking this is anything more than it actually is. Outside of the occasionally atmospheric shot, this is largely an average sword and sandal adventure. However, it is a good amount of fun for fans of this genre. I always preferred the more fantastic entries in this genre (such as "The Conquerer of Atlantis" or "The Giant of Metropolis") to the more historical ones (don't expect any accuracy though). Still, this is a fun version of the legendary story of Sparta and is much better than the over bloated CGI-fest "The 300".
Steve Reeves was never a great actor, but these films didn't require him to be one. He just needed to stand around, looking muscular and handsome, and he fills that bill quite well. I'll admit to enjoying just about anything with the man, from the "Hercules" series to this. Mylène Demongeot is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful women ever to grace this kind of film, and if you've seen a good deal, you know thats saying a lot. This can be found for free online, so its defiantly worth the download. (6/10)
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