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Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules (1964)
"L'ultimo gladiatore" (original title)

4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 62 users  
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While fighting in Britain, Roman forces commanded by Caligula capture the noble warrior, Glaucus. Seeing in him gladiator material, Caligula takes Glaucus back to Rome along with other ... See full summary »

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Title: Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules (1964)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Richard Harrison ...
Lisa Gastoni ...
Marilù Tolo ...
Ena
Philippe Hersent ...
Claudio
Livio Lorenzon ...
Prefect of the court
Jean Claudio ...
Gaio Silio
Lidia Alfonsi
Gianni Solaro ...
Enzo Fiermonte
Giuseppe Addobbati ...
Lucilius (as John McDouglas)
Maria Laura Rocca ...
Procusa (as Laura Rocca)
Charles Borromel ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lucia Bomez ...
(as Lucye Bomez)
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Storyline

While fighting in Britain, Roman forces commanded by Caligula capture the noble warrior, Glaucus. Seeing in him gladiator material, Caligula takes Glaucus back to Rome along with other hostages including Glaucus's girlfriend, Ena. A man seeking to restore the Roman Republic then assassinates Caligula after which Claudius is proclaimed emperor. Messalina -- Claudius's beautiful but evil wife -- then maneuvers to replace Claudius with her lover, Silio. She forces Glaucus to help her in this quest by threatening to harm the enslaved Ena. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Freedom rests in the hands of one mighty warrior! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

27 June 1964 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Messalina Against the Son of Hercules  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Caligola: [referring to Glaucus] He's much too heroic to die like a slave under the yoke. He'll do it much more gracefully in the arena.
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User Reviews

 
A routine "peplum" which never quite takes off
14 November 2010 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

Voice-over narration in the opening scene describes Glaucus, (the Richard Harrison character), as being the lineal descendant of Hercules. Otherwise there's no justification for the "Son of" title which was obviously chosen to appeal to that American audience which had earlier embraced Steve Reeves' movies. In most respects, this effort follows the formula set by those movies, mixing together such familiar ingredients as heroic strongman, evil queen, rebellion against tyranny, sword fights, depravity in high places, etc. Missing, however, are any mythological trappings -- no gods, no fantastic monsters. The result isn't so much bad as simply forgettable. Much of the movie's weary, almost listless quality can be attributed to the fact that the villains -- first Caligula, then Messalina -- are much livelier and more interesting than the stolid Galucus and his whiny, clinging-vine girlfriend, Ena. Eliminating Ena and giving Glaucus a more assertive role would certainly help. As it is, Glaucus too often seems to simply be milling around inside the plot, waiting for it to assume a form and direction which it never quite achieves.

Richard Harrison was about at his physical peak when filming this movie yet, curiously, the movie makes little of the expected use of his physique. In fact, he doesn't have a single bare-chest scene! The most audiences get are a few scenes in which he wears one of those tops with a wide strap which crosses over his right shoulder. Sharp-eyed viewers may thus get an occasional glimpse of Harrison's left nipple. Although threats are made in the movie to kill Glaucus or to subject him to unspecified tortures, the anticipated beefcake-bondage scenes never occur. (No stretching-between-teams-of-horses, for example.) We only have a brief sequence of Glaucus being forced to pull a plow while yoked to a wooden pole tied to his outstretched arms. This failure to exploit Harrison's body seems especially curious in view of Harrison's earlier work in America as a physique model. It's still easy on auction sites to find for sale photos of a handsome young Harrison wearing nothing but a smile and one of those scanty posing straps which struggles to contain the bulging evidence of his manhood. Why did this movie all but ignore such an obvious opportunity for visual appeal?


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