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Brian G. Hutton,
David J. Stewart
Sometimes you see a movie and wonder if it was made just so the crew could enjoy a six-week vacation in a nice place. Unspoiled Greece in 1961 was probably a very pleasant locale indeed for Roger Corman and friends to take such a vacation.
The story is a familiar one: Buff, good-hearted but naive hero is tricked by a more worldly man into using his great strength for his benefit until the hero wises up. This is a plot used in the great sagas of Hercules, Sigfred, and Tom Cruise. Here the trusting hero, Atlas, is invited by a city-state tyrant, Praximedes, to be his champion in a fight to the death so that Praximedes can annex some defiant holdout city.
The problem with all of this is: the movie is boring. Very boring. The fight scenes lack drama; the battle scenes look like extras throwing sticks that are supposed to be spears at each other. Michael Forest as Atlas can't act - period. Barboura Morris is the sex interest of changeable loyalties; she isn't bad looking, but she doesn't take off near enough clothes. --Oh, don't tell me it was 1961. "Spartacus" was made a year before, and that had a bathing scene. Plus a reference to homosexuality. "Atlas" was never meant to be a big-budget epic. So no excuses, Roger. This kind of movie, you have to sex up if you don't do anything else.
Frank Wolff's Praximedes seems to be having a good time; but rather than coming across as a figurative tyrant (he makes no secret that he is a -literal- tyrant), he seems more like a glad-handing jerk, and a distinctly American one at that.
I hope the crew enjoyed their vacation. The rest of us, if we want a Greek vacation, should catch "Summer Lovers" or "Venus on Fire".
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