Made back in 1962, Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator most likely was lumped in with all the other musclehead movies coming out of Italy at the time. Audiences then can be forgiven if they thought this one was interchangeable with the latest entry in the Hercules, Goliath, Maciste, Samson, Atlas, Ursus and Ulysses film series.
It is also precisely because of this glut of pretenders that I’m going to cut the Academy a little slack for failing to recognize Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator with the Oscar for Best Picture that year. And lest you think this some artless attempt at being obtusely droll, all I’m saying is that if they can give this movie five Oscars when it came out again in 2000, then it was a shame that the participants in the first one languish in obscurity. Continue reading “Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator (1962)”
Ursus, The Terror of the Kirghiz (released as Hercules, Prisoner Of Evil in the U.S.) documents an important geopolitical struggle between two tribes of grubby barbarians you never heard of. Continue reading “Ursus, The Terror of the Kirghiz (1964)”
Here’s a movie that’s going to satisfy that contingent of gladiator fans that like watching old, short guys near the end of their life strapping on the Roman soldier outfit and battling a bunch of guys half his age and still come out on top. Sure, in the end both of his brothers are killed in the battle, his sister commits suicide, and his father has been accusing him of being a coward and a traitor for most of the movie, but other than that, he came out on top. Continue reading “Duel of Champions (1961)”
If you’re watching Alan Steele (Zorro contro Maciste) in this movie and wondering just where it was that he learned how to pose and wear his leather gauntlets with so much authenticity, it’s because he apprenticed under the very best in the beefcake business. Continue reading “Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)”
Truly then, the gods have smiled upon us this day when they sent forth this second adventure of Hercules. Fresh from whatever it was that Herc accomplished in his first epic film, this movie opens with him saying his goodbyes to his buddies from the Argos and preparing to journey to his hometown of Thebes with his new wife Iole and his buddy Ulysses. Continue reading “Hercules Unchained (1959)”
This is another one of those muscleman epics that seems alternately obsessed with displaying the rippling back muscles of star Gordon Scott (Hercules Vs. The Moloch) and with the palace intrigue in old time China.
The fact that the version I saw only ran 77 minutes was both a blessing and a curse. Cursed because everything happened in a rather hasty manner with entire sequences that could have explained exactly how characters went from doing one thing to the next mysteriously missing. Blessed though since it was still 77 minutes of Gordon perpetually greased up and standing around posing like an adult baby in a red diaper whose next appearance would be on Sean Connery in Zardoz. Continue reading “Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World (1961)”
Surprisingly grim, Revenge of the Gladiators starts off like any number of rather lunkheaded sword and sandal flicks with its gladiator heroes, deranged emperor, silly-looking barbarians, convoluted schemes to betray whomever happened to have his back turned at a given moment, and Mickey Hargitay, but then gets progressively darker until our heroes are reduced to joining a group of religious refugees fleeing the disintegrating Roman Empire.
Truly a sobering experience, though Hargitay couldn’t resist tapping into that natural goofiness that was so much in evidence in Bloody Pit of Horror by telling the barbarians while they were torturing him that their women smelled like sheep! Continue reading “Revenge of the Gladiators (1964)”