Hercules (1957)

Article #83 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-7-2001
Posting date: 10-21-2001

Hercules takes part in Jason’s quest for the golden fleece and tries to win the heart of his love, Iole.

The Italian title of this Steve Reeves entry is LA FATICHE DE ERCOLE (The Labors of Hercules), but this movie (which initiated the whole sword and sandal craze) is a lot more interested in the Jason quest than the labors; about halfway through this movie I realized I was watching another version of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, which I had just seen the day earlier. Sword and sandal movies can be a lot of fun, though I often have trouble telling one from another; this one at least has the advantage of at least being based on specific myths, unlike many later entries. Actually, one can have some fun just compiling a list of common sword and sandal cliches. Here’s a starting point for a list of common scenes and plot elements of sword and sandal movies; feel free to add your own.

Our hero bends back the bars of a cage and escapes.
Out hero lifts a heavy object and throws it at someone or something.
Our hero battles some deadly wildlife, such as tigers, lions, bulls, crocodiles, etc.
Our hero is seduced by an evil queen.
Our hero is drugged by the evil queen and loses his memory.
An evil underling engages in court intrigue to gain control of the throne.
Someone makes a long boring speech.
While out riding his horse, our hero encounter a line of refugees walking in the opposite direction, some of which are pulling a cart with big wheels.
Our hero encounters a band of slaves going in the opposite direction.
Our hero only pretends to be drugged by the evil queen.
Our hero is cast into a pit from which he must escape.
A village is destroyed by evil men on horses.
Women in skimpy dresses dance in the court.
Amazons are encountered.
An evil queen kills or otherwise eliminates her ex-lovers (by stuffing them, turning them into trees, etc.)
This sounds like the beginning of a drinking game.

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