I saw a Film!

Who doesn’t love a sword and sandal epic? Bronzed heroes tussling WWE style, lovely ladies rushing about in togas, peril, legendary monsters of old . . . I’m told the cyclops legend developed out of finding disembodied elephant skulls, the central nasal passage seeming like a huge eye socket. I suppose the confusion is understandable, of course you’d posit a giant man with a singular central eyeball.

Apparently Fabio was a baby in this film, so if you’re, you know, a Fabio completist, you’ll need to see this acting! Maciste (ma-chee-stay) takes on everything from louts with swords to lions. Our film opens with the razing of a village and the kidnapping of all the kids and women as snacks for the Cyclops, Polyphemo. Yummy! The evil, and gorgeous, queen involved in the attack is apparently a descendant of Circe and wants to take revenge on the descendants of Ulysses. Anyway, yawn, it’s not particularly of interest why these events must be undertaken, the idea is to give us a brawny chested bunch of wrasslin’ matches, ever popular in these old Eyetalian epics.

The problem with this particular installment of your basic Hercules movie is that it’s stiffly performed as cold butter. Few of these people seem to know what film they’re making, and while our evil queen Capys does a passable job sneering and declaring her truest love for Maciste, most of the side characters including Maciste himself (played by American big boy Gordon Mitchell) seem to just be wandering through, arms dangling at their sides.

Still it’s hard not to enjoy it. I will say the finale with Polyphemo is a let down, and there just isn’t enough terrorizing, from the monster it’s mostly a lot of soap opera scheming from the evil queen, and we’ve seen this film before. It’s much like every Hercules epic. So it’s a bit of a letdown, but still a lot of fun if you’ve a fondness for this sort of pile of high school drama with a forced perspective monster in the end.

Running free on Prime (USA) and great for a Saturday afternoon on the sofa.

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