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Wandering strongman Maxxus comes upon two warring tribes, the Sun worshipers and the Moon worshipers. He saves the leader of the Sun tribe from a sea monster, then later on when the Moon ... See full summary »
Ursus returns from war to find his fiancée, Attea, has been kidnapped by a mysterious sect which sacrifices virgins to its patron goddess. Ursus faces much treachery and is forced to ... See full summary »
URSUS IN THE VALLEY OF THE LIONS (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1961) **1/2
Though featuring many an unlikely plot point (starting off with Ursus as a baby even if it was the third of his adventures to be released within the same year!), this emerges as a slightly above-average peplum in which the muscular hero is once again played by the affable Ed Fury. He is the heir to some throne, obviously coveted by the villain of the piece Alberto Lupo and thus the target of assassination; amazingly, he not only survives this but is also brought up, Tarzan-like, by a bunch of lions (hence the title). Amusingly, though he seems to have effortlessly mastered the faculty of speech regardless, Ursus is blissfully ignorant of etiquette since he sees nothing wrong in taking a dip into a stream while the protesting (and obviously annoyed) heroine a girl, intended for a slave market, whom he helps is bathing! Special mention, then, is given in the credits to the animal wrangler involved, Orlando Orfei, presumably a relative of the film's villainess Moira Orfei (who was actually a staple of such fare: as was the case with the first URSUS, she has to contend with another girl over the love of a man, even if the object of her affection here is Lupo). Surprisingly, the film maintains a fairly sober tone throughout with little concessions to the genre's usual pitfalls (there is no insufferable comic relief, for instance) but we still get the villain's unconvincing demise at the hands of Simba, Ursus' favorite lioness (elsewhere it also bonds with the heroine's snowy-white mutt), and some unintentionally hilarious action scenes: Gerard Herter, Lupo's henchman, is hit squarely on the head with a stone-block the hero has dislodged from his prison-cell and lives (at least long enough to be devoured by a creepy pack of hungry hyenas); a soldier is thrown into a fire during a scuffle, rises up blazing, trips and falls flat on his face; a number of soldiers are commissioned to demolish a cave, the meeting-place of rebels, only to end up buried within it themselves, etc. In the end, the film provides standard excitements but proves mildly entertaining nevertheless (if hardly essential); again like URSUS, we find some notable names among the credits not just director Bragaglia but composer Riz Ortolani and assistant director Ruggero Deodato(!).
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