Mount Vesuvius looms ominously over the doomed city of Pompeii, a city in turmoil. Its citizens are being terrorized by a group of black-hooded thieves on the rampage, murdering entire ... See full summary »
En route to Thebes for an important diplomatic mission, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and loses his memory. He spends most of the movie in the pleasure gardens of Queen Omphale of Lydia. While young Ulysses tries to help him regain his memory, political tensions escalate in Thebes, and Hercules' new wife Iole finds herself in mortal danger.Written by
Molly Malloy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Watch closely the second time Hercules takes up Ulysses' challenge to bend the iron torch stand in an attempt to remember who he is. He successfully does so, and then unbends it just as easily, leaving a slight curve in the stem. However when he returns the stand to its original location, the stand is perfectly straight. See more »
HERCULES UNCHAINED (Pietro Francisci and, uncredited, Mario Bava, 1959) **1/2
The sequel to HERCULES (1958) is even less enthusing but remains, nonetheless, an adequate example of the peplum genre.
Sylva Koscina's role of Iole, Hercules' love interest, is diminished here since the most prominent female figure on display emerges to be the femme fatale-ish Queen of Lidia Omphale (the film's original title, incidentally, translates to HERCULES AND THE QUEEN OF LIDIA) – the latter is played by another red-headed beauty Sylvia Lopez, who died of leukemia not long after the film's release! Needless to say, the muscle-bound hero (Steve Reeves) falls under her spell after having conveniently drunk from a spring that renders him an amnesiac (though not before he's been engaged in an irrelevant wrestling bout with ex-heavyweight champion Primo Carnera as an irascible giant!); his friend Ulysses, however, is on hand to watch over him (ostensibly in the function of Hercules' deaf-mute slave). Meanwhile, back home in Thebes, two brothers fight it out over the throne – with Iole at the mercy of a cackling maniac (an over-the-top Sergio Fantoni)...
By the way, both of these Hercules films featured atmospheric cinematography by Mario Bava - who would himself direct one of the better adventures revolving around this mythical figure, HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) starring Reg Park. As for Francisci, he worked most often in this genre: from ATTILA (1954; co-starring Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren) – which is overdue for a reappraisal and has, incidentally, just been announced as an upcoming DVD release from Lionsgate! – to the low-brow HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963; with Kirk Morris now as Hercules) and SINBAD AND THE CALIPH OF BAGHDAD (1973; his last film and which I recall watching eons ago on Italian TV).
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