ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (Richard Pottier, 1961) **
Below-par peplum which, more than anything else, serves to demonstrate that Roger Moore (playing Romulus, ruler of Rome and the son of a deity!) is as ill-suited to the genre as John Wayne or Alan Ladd had been!! Dealing with the popular legend of the Rape Of The Sabine Women
which also inspired the musical SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS
(1954) - the film is strictly a potboiler, with colorful scenery but little real action and obligatory hit-or-miss comedy relief provided by Moore's pint-sized, myopic spokesman. Mylene Demongeot - who seemed to have been a fixture with this type of film - is, as ever, a most lovely heroine (sparring for Moore's attentions with the duplicitous Scilla Gabel, who eventually expires in an incredible manner by way of a deflected arrow); meanwhile, Giorgia Moll and Marino Mase' fill in for the secondary romantic interest - while the thing is given some measure of dignity by the presence of Folco Lulli, playing the jovial Sabine king, and cameos (in the film's most interesting scene) by Jean Marais and Rosanna Schiaffino as Roman Gods, respectively Mars and Venus, who appear before the sleeping Romulus - pretty much in the style of the Tom & Jerry cartoons! - to 'influence' his thoughts (i.e. whether to pursue the path to war or love). While not quite as bad as the similar (and similarly-titled) COLOSSUS AND THE AMAZON QUEEN (1960), the best film to incorporate the Battle Of The Sexes into the peplum genre remains AMAZONS OF ROME (1961; co-directed by Vittorio Cottafavi).
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