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Edgar G. Ulmer
After making his historic crossing of the Alps with elephants transporting supplies and troops, Hannibal marches on Rome in a war of revenge. During his advance, he captures Sylvia, the niece of Roman Senator Fabius Maximus but, instead of holding her prisoner, he shows her his powerful army and herds of elephants, then sets her free. He is sure she will report what she has seen to his Roman enemies. Hannibal defeats the Romans at the battle of Trebbia and sends a message to Sylvia that he is marching on Rome. Sylvia succumbs to her love of Hannibal and they have a rendezvous, but are surprised by a Roman patrol. Hannibal escapes and Sylvia is confined to the temple of the Vesta Goddess. She escapes and meets Hannibal again. Hannibal orders his brother Hasdrubal to Carthage to take over command of the reinforcements preparing to join Hannibal. Hannibals wife Danila arrives from Carthage unexpectedly and Sylvia runs away and returns to Rome, where she is tried for high treason and ...Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first film to co-star Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, and the only one where they are not the stars of the film. In fact they share no scenes and didn't actually meet until 8 years later. See more »
Towards the start of the film there is a panoramic shot of Rome. This shot includes many familiar buildings such as the Colosseum, which was not built until some 300 years after the events of the film. See more »
There were two different cuts of this movie in existence at the time of release. The version released originally in Italy and subsequently in Germany and maybe other non English speaking European countries had a running time of 95 minutes. The US release version is given with 103 minutes. The BBFC lists a submitted running time of 104m 40s. See more »
HANNIBAL (Edgar G. Ulmer and Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1959) **1/2
This is one of several epic Italian productions 'supervised' by Hollywood directors - others of its ilk include THE GIANT OF MARATHON (Jacques Tourneur, 1959), Joseph AND HIS BRETHREN (Irving Rapper, 1960), THE MONGOLS (Andre' De Toth, 1961), THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (Arthur Lubin, 1961), THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (Henry Levin, 1961) and SODOM AND GOMORRAH (Robert Aldrich, 1962); Ulmer himself served again in the same capacity on L' ATLANTIDE (1961).
As was generally the case, in spite of the participation of such noted film-makers, these spectacles displayed little directorial flair; in fact, this particular example is only distinguished from similar sword-and-sandal efforts by its above-average cast - though, to be fair, Ulmer stated in the accompanying interview on the VCI DVD that he didn't have final say on the film and, consequently, his vision was compromised by financiers who found his approach "too philosophical"! In any case, while the "elephant walk" (Hannibal famously crossed the Alps on pachyderms) and battle sequences are well enough staged, the look of the film is rather shoddy and bears evidence of budgetary restrictions. By the way, the Italian side of the directorial chores were handled by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia - a veteran of costume pictures who would soon replace Vittorio Cottafavi on AMAZONS OF ROME (1961), after the latter fell out with leading man Louis Jourdan!
Victor Mature, himself a regular of this type of film, is ideally cast as the legendary Carthaginian warrior - though his performance is merely adequate, the script having made his character distinctly one-dimensional (where he's involved in an unconvincing and dreary romance with Rita Gam, a woman from the enemy ranks); Gabriele Ferzetti lends dignity to the proceedings as a Roman senator. A surprising presence here is that of Spaghetti Western/action-comedy icon Terence Hill (billed under his real name of Mario Girotti) - playing the key role of Ferzetti's son; according to the IMDb, his subsequent frequent on-screen partner Bud Spencer also appears in the film...but I didn't spot him!
The supplements on the VCI disc include a precious 33-minute audio interview with Ulmer (conducted by Peter Bogdanovich), which imparts several interesting bits on the production of F.W. Murnau's THE LAST LAUGH (1924) - on which Ulmer served as art director - and HANNIBAL itself; also, besides having the director enthusiastically discuss John Schlesinger's MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969), it reveals his dislike of fellow expatriates Otto Preminger and William Dieterle!
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