The Vengeance of Ursus (1961)
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Ursus has an Opie like little brother in this film and they're both involved in the politics of two city states where the king of one state wants to marry the daughter of the king of the state where Ursus lives.
It's a political marriage in every sense of the word. A tyrant to his own people, the bad king desires nothing less than to marry the daughter then kill the father and claim both states. He's a Snidely Whiplash villain if I ever saw one.
This one is a little bit better than most of the peplum's I've been viewing lately.
This is a very good swords and sandal movie that has a lot going for it. A reasonably complicated plot, good acting, and excellent action sequences that make it appear that the filmmakers at least understood the value of decent production values. This is one that's worth watching if you run across it.
A Word of Warning: I've seen this film at least twice now and the prints, the Sinister Cinema print in particular, are extremely choppy, so much so that as much as ten minutes or more may have been lost to the bad nature of the prints.
Okayish sword & sandals movie with the usual heroic scenes (Ursus is breaking chains, makes an elephant walk backwards and wins fights against any number of opponents). Samson Burke, it must be said though, isn't much of an actor. Also we get the typical annoying little boy brother he needs to rescue every now and then. On the other hand, Gianni Rizzo plays a twisted greedy character very effectively again - ready to change from the losing to the winning side. And Livio Lorenzon gets the best line in the script, replying when begged not to harm Ursus: 'I'm not going to harm him. I'm going to kill him!'
King Zagro is evil and has his "evil eyes" on Princess Sira. He wants to marry her and take over her kingdom. Sira is kidnapped, Ursus hears of it and races to save her from Zagro. Ursus then leads the revolt against Zagro.
It plays out very boringly. Nothing to see here unless you just like to watch Samson Burke half naked and showing off his pecks almost all of the time throughout the film.
Not surprisingly, the film I tried to see was from Alpha Video. Alpha is known for producing films that are in the public domain. And, since they are such a cut-rate producer, they do absolutely nothing to clean up the prints, nor do they provide any DVD extras or captioning. The only way I'd ever recommend them is if no other company has released the film--and unfortunately, this is often the case. The films they do bring us are wonderful to lovers of B-movies and silents...provided the prints are watchable.
The film was scratchy, completely bleached (you could barely tell it had even once been a color film it was so bad) and the film repeatedly jumped--with missing bits and pieces throughout the film. While I can ignore the scratchiness and washed out print, because often portions of sentences were omitted and the scenes jumped about due to missing frames, I just gave up and recommend you find another version if possible or just skip it entirely. After all, there must have been 29123491324 different Italian muscle-dramas from the era starring the likes of Hercules, Maciste, Ursus or Samson.