A Greek military hero named Darios visits his uncle in Rhodes in the year 280 BC. Rhodes has just finished constructing an enormous colossus of Apollo to guard its harbor and is planning an alliance with Phoenicia which would be hostile to Greece. Darios flirts with the beautiful Diala, daughter of the statue's mastermind, while becoming involved with a group of rebels headed by Peliocles. These rebels seek to overthrow the tyrannical King Serse as does Serse's evil second-in-command, Thar. The rebels' revolt seems to fail, with Peliocles and his men being captured and forced to provide amusement in the local arena, but an earthquake eventually upsets, not only the Colossus in the harbor, but the balance of power in Rhodes as well. Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
The real Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was 32 meters high and stood on a hill. The cinematic version stands 110 meters and its legs bestride the harbor. See more »
The picture dates itself to 280 BCE. The island of Rhodes is shown as an independent state, which is true enough for the time; however, it's alleged to have a king although Rhodes was a republic at the time. The king bears an uncharacteristic non-Greek name: Serse, an Italian corruption of Xerxes, a Greek corruption of an Iranian name that it scarcely resembles. The king receives an ambassador from Phoenicia - at the time an integral part of the Seleukid Empire (Syria). Greece is referred to as if a united country, which at the time was untrue - divided as it was between Attika, Lakaidemon, the Akhaian League, the Aitolian League, Epiros, Makedon, and other states. See more »
[after seeing a court servant die from drinking poison]
Somehow I've lost my desire for wine.
[he pours his wine out onto the floor]
See more »
Notable now mainly as an early work by Sergio Leone, this ambitious entry in the sword-and-sandal genre has the kind of long, detailed story-line rarely seen in productions of this sort, and it's unencumbered by the religious "piety" which clings to, say, "The Revolt of the Slaves." If anything, "Colossus" may be a tad too ambitious, since the second half of its two-hours-plus running time could use a bit of trimming.
Worth noting are the scenes involving the head of the giant statue which is of hollow construction. Watching Rory Calhoun climbing out the ear of the statue and then engaging in a sword fight on the statue's shoulder is one of those moments for which movies were invented. (Yes, I said Rory Calhoun, and he's as out of place here as you might imagine. Stephen Boyd or John Derek, Leone's original choice, would have done better jobs.)
Also worth noting is the movie's apparent motto of: "Shirts off, chains on." Rarely have so many muscular men been subjected to such a variety of bondage and torture, beginning with the pre-title sequence in which a bare-chested, spreadeagled Georges Marchal, (who was born for this kind of role,) is rescued from a prison-camp. Later, he's placed inside a metal bell which is repeatedly struck with a hammer while two of his colleagues -- stretched out on horizontal slabs -- have caustic fluids dripped onto their bare torsos. And then there are the prisoners in the arena who are dragged behind chariots or suspended by their wrists over a lion-pit. (About the only other movie which has such a high quotient of men writhing in pain in MGM's 1954 "Prisoner of War.")
Today's special effects could make the Colossus and its eventual fate even more impressive, but alas, movies such as this just aren't made anymore.
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