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

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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 »



(screenplay) (as Giampaolo Callegari) , (story) (as Giampaolo Callegari) , 2 more credits »
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Director: Umberto Lenzi
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Credited cast:
Richard Harrison ...
Lisa Gastoni ...
Marilù Tolo ...
Philippe Hersent ...
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)


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

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


Adventure | Drama


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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

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

MESSALINA VS. THE SON OF HERCULES (Umberto Lenzi, 1964) **
26 March 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I was looking forward to this Umberto Lenzi/Richard Harrison peplum (with the added bonus of Lisa Gastoni and Marilu' Tolo!) of the Roman Empire variety, especially after having been thoroughly entertained by their later collaboration TEMPLE OF A THOUSAND LIGHTS (1965); the setting being the debauched reign of Caligula, Messalina and Claudius (often dealt with in cinema), again, seemed propitious – but the result, alas, is quite lame and often too silly for words! I should mention in passing here that I have at least three more titles relating to these historical figures lined up for the current Easter marathon!

Incidentally, despite the U.S. moniker, the star is no relation of the Greek mythological hero – no surprise there, since such catchpenny allusions was a common practice from wily distributors for such indigenous product being exported overseas – but actually the prince of the Britons (read: barbarians)! Indeed, the film's original Italian title translates to THE LAST GLADIATOR – which is itself misleading, since the arena action is neither extensive nor even that plot-centered…to say nothing of the fact that no reference is made at all to Harrison being the ultimate exponent of this violent form of public entertainment! Culled from an Italian Satellite TV screening, the copy I acquired (off "You Tube") is, thankfully, in the proper widescreen ratio and, being in the official language, free of the generally atrocious English dubbing one often has to make do where films of its ilk are concerned.

However, this only exacerbates the disappointment one feels watching it, as there is little to hold the attention here (for what it is worth, among those credited with the film's second unit is genre regular Viktor Tourjansky!): not even Gastoni's sultry and openly philandering Messalina (often adopting flashy and cumbersome head-gear, treating assorted party guests to a dance – which the director ungracefully (or, perhaps, mercifully) promptly cuts away from after just a few ungainly moves{!}, conversing and quickly losing patience with slave and rival for Harrison's attentions Tolo while taking a milk-bath – her constant irritation with the latter leads personal whipping and, then, incarceration in a suspended animal cage with descending spikes{!}) does much to liven things up...while Caligula's presence (though predictably capricious and perennially cackling) is too limited and Claudius' too dull (with his actually taking time out from Rome – leaving devoted lieutenant Livio Lorenzon in charge rather than the Empress! – to lead a campaign against insurrectionist elements within the army a doubtful occurrence)!

Still, the single most exasperating thing about the film is that the soundtrack is filled with disembodied voices inanely clamouring for something or other – at one point, for instance, female screams can be heard but no woman is anywhere near the location involved – which could well be a penny-pinching tactic on the producer's part to save a composer's fee!! For what it is worth, I have three more of Harrison's efforts set against this backdrop lined up for the current Easter marathon – namely THE INVINCIBLE GLADIATOR (1961), THE TWO GLADIATORS and REVOLT OF THE PRAETORIANS (both 1964), which I now have little hope of their being any better...

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