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 »
This is the ultimate tribute to Steve Reeve's phenomenal male beauty, captured in all its glory at the peak of his powers in l959. "Giant of Marathon" is given an exhilarating beginning with the powerful music score of Roberto Nicolosi, whose symphonic theme, underscores a nearly naked Reeves in brief scenes that showcase his power in the beginning of this vastly entertaining swords and sandals saga. When he swims towards the camera and comes up for air, the music swells and we see a rare glimpse of Reeves laughing. In another snippet, he's shown wrestling with another athlete and both are clad in very brief white loin clothes. It's sexual connotations is definitely there but Reeves looks so god-like you can't imagine him doing anything so earthy as coupling with another handsome jock. Throughout the running time, Reeves magnificent torso and charisma are given the star treatment, especially in the final portion where he and his warriors swim underwater to sabotage the enemy. In their flimsy briefs, this proves to be a beefcake bonanza, featuring not only Reeves but numerous handsome Italian extras. Mario Bava and Jacques Tourneur directed this classic adventure tale with Bava also responsible for the outstanding photography. From this film, he was launched into his legendary series of horror classics, creating such classics as "Kill, Baby, Kill," "Black Sabbath" and others. Reeves is beardless in this adventure and it adds to his boyish charm. At the beginning, he is crowned with a wreath of olive leaves and wearing only his loin cloth, his incredible torso is displayed in all its glory. If you're a Steve Reeves fan--which I definitely am--you might also explore the series of muscle man moveis made by Reeves American cohort, Lou Degni, re-named Mark Forest from the Bronx and a Mr. America winner. His physique is also stunning with a handsome face and acting ability to go with it. "Giant of Marathon" should be restored to its full technicolor glory. Even more than "Hercules Unchained," this is the Steve Reeves movie that fully exploits his extraordinary beauty.
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