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imaginative low-budget peplum with Ed Fury in fine form
This was Ed Fury's second film in the Ursus character, and in this one we learn that Ursus, of noble blood, was raised among lions. When he enters the "human" world, he is wide-eyed and naive, but gradually adapts to the ways of the world, saves a beautiful woman who loves him, and overthrows an evil dictator. Fury plays the various phases of the character's evolution (from naivete to a kind of disgusted smirking to a regal heroic bearing) well. The scenes among the lions and the wolves will be an easy mark for those who want to nit-pick, but the techniques used here will be familiar to any fan of low budget films and won't bother anyone familiar with the concept of "willing suspension of disbelief." As is common among budget-conscious Italian "spectacle" films, the art direction and production design are quite imaginative and suggest a lot for a few lira. I've got to give some credit to a film that takes a lot of chances, and this film is, like an old serial, so over-the-top in its entertainment value that anyone looking to have some fun and set aside any critical questions should have an enjoyable 90 minutes with Ed Fury and crew. I've been digging out the old Ed Fury films recently, and I must say that he brings a special charm to the peplum genre--it was nice to see him honored with a retrospective at UCLA last year. Director Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia has credits dating back to the 1930s, but his 1960s credits tend to be costume adventures and comedies. With this film, he's created a unique mix of peplum heroics, fantasy, and wit that I found quite entertaining.
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