Ursus in the Valley of the Lions (1961)

Ursus Lion Poster 2 ResizedIt took until the fourth movie in Ursus’ nine movie career to finally unleash his secret origin. Was it because it was too painful for Ursus to relate to us? Was there some secret shame that drove him to muscularly right the wrongs so pervasive in the ancient world he inhabited? Was there an Uncle Ben lurking in his background somewhere?

Uh no, this isn’t an angst-ridden story about some pussy bug boy! This is the tale of the most bad ass of Italian bad ass bodybuilder flicks! Just how bad ass? Four words: raised by freaking lions!

As I was watching this, I was glad that Edgar Rice Burroughs had passed away in 1950 because if he had still been around in 1961 when Ursus in the Valley of the Lions came out, he would have probably killed himself after seeing how lame Tarzan was for being raised by crappy old apes!

Heck, apes are pretty much just people with a lot of back hair! Is it really any big whup that they can raise a kid just as well as the drugged out dirtbags that pop five or six kids out by the time they’re 25? But being raised by lions, you can’t help to be awesome when you grow up if you somehow survive that!

And just how was it that a bunch of man eating wild animals manage to nurture and care for an infant so that he would grow up into a moralistic good guy with great hair and a really ripped bod?

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Do you really think that these lions are going to give up their mystical child rearing secrets so easily? Besides, I’m not watching this movie to see a bunch of lions change diapers and supervise Ursus’s youth weightlifting regimen!

The movie know this and so it is that we see a scene of lions sniffing around the baby and the next thing you know, a grown up Ursus is playing around with the lions and even pulling one by the tail!

What we do know though about Ursus’ past is more than enough to give the movie its dramatic heft. It turns out that even in olden times, people just didn’t put their kids up for adoption by a pride of lions – there have to be good reasons for doing so. With Ursus, it’s because barbarians invade his father’s kingdom and kill his parents.

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Before his death though, Ursus’ father gives him a medallion which shows that he is the rightful heir to the kingdom. Of course, once Ursus becomes a man, he sells the medallion to a slaver for a sexy girl thus setting into motion all the drama with the evil Ayak who murdered his father and still sits on the throne.

It’s hard to fault Ursus for jumping on the first piece of ass to come along though, what with the dearth of hot babes that probably hung around the lion’s den while he was growing up.

Ayak didn’t get to be an evil barbarian usurper by doing things half way and the audience is rewarded by any number of bad guy doings he engages in. Ursus’ adopted lion family? Poisoned except for the majestic Simba! Ursus’ new girlfriend? Captured and tossed into quicksand in an effort to get Ursus to surrender! (To his credit, Ursus gave it a lot thought before ultimately giving in just before his old lady’s head almost got swallowed up.) Ayak even engages in the ultimate strongman taunt as he forcibly kisses the girlfriend while a tied up Ursus is forced to watch! Is there no limit to this man’s imaginative heinousness?

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Thankfully no because when it’s time to execute the girlfriend and all the people who support Ursus, he breaks out the elephants! And while stomping people to death would be pretty awesome, Ayak is more creative than that. Instead, he chains the people to the elephants, has a big bonfire between the elephants and the chained up prisoners and then has the elephants start pulling the people toward the fire! All the anti-death penalty liberals out there should keep this in mind the next time they carp about how barbaric lethal injection is!

The entertainment this film provides is just as massive as its star Ed Fury is! One of the most perfectly pumped up efforts from the era, Ursus in the Valley of the Lions will leave some demanding the film be tested for cinematic steroids, it is so beyond jacked in every way!

From the delightful cuckolded-while-in-bondage scene, to the moments where Ursus battles and overpowers the executioner elephants, to the invertible yet still pleasing lion attack on Ayak, and all the way to the hideous green fetish outfit Ursus trades his fur loin cloth in for once he begins to lead the revolution, there’s nothing about this movie that will leave the audience anything other than blown up and drenched in muscle man movie sweat when it finally finishes destroying every other sword and sandal flick out there! Any of you flabby wimps still doubting that this is the Mr. Universe of the genre, try heaving this phrase around – hyena pit death fight!

© 2013 MonsterHunter574

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