The Warrior Empress (1960)

THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960)
Article #328 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 2-6-2002
Posting date: 6-23-2002

A rebel leader falls in love with Sappho, a poetess who is also a priestess and niece to the evil king of the kingdom.

For the first several minutes, the sword and sandal cliches come thick and fast, but then it eventually turns into an action-oriented soap opera of sorts. The odd thing about this one is that there is no Hercules character; the character Kerwin Matthews plays is the equivalent of one of those rebel leaders Hercules would be helping out in other movies. In fact, there are several interesting aspects of this movie; the bad guys are more complex and human than they usually are, especially the king, who seems more ineffectual than evil, and surrenders near the end of the movie with a surprising degree of grace. Tina Louise plays Sappho of Lesbos; I was amused that the place where she was staying as a priestess was a fortress next to the ocean surrounded by a moat. It was described as being an island within an island, and if anybody should know about spending a lot of time on an island, it should be her. And yes, there is a lesbian subplot, plus costumes that are daring even for this genre of movies. And anyone who can figure out which of the characters is the “Warrior Empress” of the title is more alert than me.

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