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Hercules, Samson And Ulysses

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    Ian Jane
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  • Hercules, Samson And Ulysses



    Released by:
    Warner Archive
    Released on: August 30, 2012.

    Director: Pietro Francisci

    Cast: Kirk Morris, Richard Lloyd, Liana Orfei, Enzo Cerusico

    Year: 1964

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    Pietro Francisci made a lot of sword and sandal movies, some good, some not so good. 1964's Hercules, Samson And Ulysses falls into the good category, and sometimes into the so bad it's good category, but it's nothing if not entertaining.


    The movie follows, you guessed it, Hercules (Kirk Morris), Samson (Richard Lloyd) and Ulysses (Enzo Cerusico). When Hercules and Ulysses accompany some regular Greeks on a mission to take down a problem causing sea monster hanging around where he's not wanted, they wind up getting caught in a freak storm. To escape the weather they wind up in Judea, where the people's front, or at least the Philistines, mistake Hercules for Samson - a man they are none too happy with. As the Philistines intend to kill Hercules and all his pals, he decides that the best way to get out of this sticky situation would be to track down Samson himself and bring him in to face Philistine justice!


    At least partially responsible for the whole sword and sandal movement that came out of Italy in the late fifties and early sixties (he did, after all, direct the 1957 Hercules film starring Steve Reeves, the one that really started it all), Pietro Francisci seems to be out to do little more than entertain his audience with this film. While some of his earlier entries were played pretty straight, here the story injects some welcome humor that ensures we're never asked to take any of this all too seriously. That's a good thing, mind you, because there's a lot here that we simply can't take all too seriously, even if we want to. All three of the principals tend to overact here, throwing their weight around and using wild body movements to convey what could otherwise have been handled with far more subtlety by better actors, but really, that doesn't matter. This is a movie about Hercules and Samson duking it out - Ulysses is more or less around to think things through rather than pummel anyone.


    We get a sea monster, we get beautiful women (Liana Orfei plays Delilah and Diletta D'Andrea Hercules' main squeeze and both women are stunning), and we get a mix of genuinely cool and ridiculously cheap sets. Of course the whole storyline is little more than an excuse to get us to the big finale where Hercules and Samson are going to fight one another but before that we also get to see Hercules take on a lion - the king of the jungle looking completely dazed in a few shots and more than likely pumped full of sedatives before certain shots were filmed. Once we get to the final showdown, it's all worth it - Hercules and Samson stand amongst classic ruins and throw Styrofoam rocks at one another with lots of flexing and posing thrown in for good dramatic measure. The dubbing is pretty goofy but this one is a lot of good, clean fun suitable for kids of all ages.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Warner Archive presents Hercules, Samson And Ulysses in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen in a transfer that generally looks pretty good. Some scenes are a bit soft and there is occasional color fading but compared to the fullframe version that has popped up here and there, this is quite a nice improvement in quality. Skin tones look good, black levels are acceptable if not reference quality, and the print used for the transfer was in pretty nice shape.


    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is also pretty good. Levels are well balanced and dialogue is easy to understand. The score sounds nice and the effects do too. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.


    There are no extras on the disc aside from the theatrical trailer but we do get a static menu offering chapter stops at ten minute intervals.


    The Final Word:


    .The best of the sword and sandal films? Not a chance but a ridiculously entertaining Italian B-movie with a fun cast and some memorable scenes. Warner Archive's release of the film looks pretty good and even if it doesn't have any extras, fans of the genre will want to pick this up.
























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