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Hercules in the Valley of Woe (1961)

Maciste contro Ercole nella valle dei guai (original title)
Two boxing promoters travel via time machine back to the days of Hercules, who must save them from Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Frank Gordon ...
Bice Valori
Raimondo Vianello ...
Rusteghin
Mario Carotenuto ...
Comendatore
Liana Orfei ...
Carlo Croccolo ...
Fetonte
Franco Franchi ...
Francheo
Gino Bramieri ...
Il Osservare
Ciccio Ingrassia ...
Ingrassiade
Ave Ninchi
Sandra Mondaini
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gino Buzzanca
Gianni Cajafa
Gianna Cobelli
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Storyline

Two boxing promoters travel via time machine back to the days of Hercules, who must save them from Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde.

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Comedy | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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19 October 1961 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Hercules in the Vale of Woe  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 35926 delivered on 14-10-1961. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The film equivalent of gargling latex paint
21 July 2007 | by (Wavy Wheat, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

...Once you've seen it, it will be a long time before you get the taste of it out of your mouth.

This film seems to have been made long after both the "Hercules" franchise and the "Machiste" franchise had run out of steam and were combined in an attempt to make just a little more money from the concepts. High adventure and epic storyline were dropped in favor of bone-headed slapstick and, seemingly, the Italian equivalent of bad Three Stooges style plotting and staging.

Look, I actually like the Stooges in small doses. And this seems to be the kind of comedy film where the screenplay just throws a bunch of gags and humorous tics at the wall and hope that some of them stick. That worked for the "Hellzapoppin" comedy film from the same era, right? "Hellzapoppin" was actually quite amusing, for what it was.And I don't ask much from my "Hercules" movies, really I don't. All I ask is for some good ransacking of "Bullfinches' Mythology", a few fistfights, maybe some lion wrestling and some gratuitous posing and flexing here and there.

But what we get here is a bunch of ratchet-jawed slack-wits talking non-stop at 90 miles-an-hour. There's no dynamic range to the dialog; it just comes out of the actors (especially the two comedic leads) like a fire-hose of gibberish, and none of it is in the least amusing. Comic delivery depends on pauses, timing, and vocal range; but the actors babble nonstop for 90 minutes without a change in rhythm or volume or timbre, and after a while, I just wanted to smack everyone involved.

It's possible that the dialog was amusing in its original Italian, of course, but I'll never know. I don't WANT to know.

What's more, the movie takes its sweet time getting to the films' title match, and then stages it with all the panache and conviction of the final two minutes of "Robot Versus The Aztec Mummy". This is a HERCULES film, for heaven's sake, there's supposed to be some cool muscle flexing and beat-downs and feats of strength that awe the viewer, but what we get looks like 10 year old aping their heroes at Muscle Beach. Especially pathetic is the way the film introduces and frames the lesser known "Maciste". I saw this same actor (Kirk Morris) play the "Maciste" role in an earlier film, "Colossus and The Headhunters", and he came across as a vibrant, solid action hero. Here, he looks and acts like an over-muscled Ken doll.

This is easily one of the 10 worst movies - or at least one of the 10 most irritating movies - that I've ever seen. The only reason it isn't number 1 in that category is that it obviously isn't meant to be taken seriously. That would be OK - if it were actually, you know, funny.

Yecch.


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