THE TRIUMPH OF HERCULES (1964)
Article #760 by Dave Sindelar
Date Viewed: 4-14-2003
Date Posted: 9-11-2003
Directed by Alberto de Martino
Featuring Dan Vadis, Moira Orfei, Marilu Tolo
Hercules is called upon to avenge the murder of a king.
During the first five minutes of this movie I saw two elements that I have seen umpteen times before in Sword and Sandal movies; a bunch of helmeted horsemen fighting peasants in a village, and the assassination of a king by a pretender to the throne. This, combined with the fact that Hercules was played by someone who I’ve never heard of (Dan Vadis) led me to suspect that I was going to see nothing more than the usual S & S spectacle. Then I noticed something odd; I could actually follow the plot! I didn’t need a scorecard to keep track of the characters, and in every scene I knew what was going on and why the people were there and what they were doing. Now with most other genres, to praise a movie by saying the story is coherent is to damn it with faint praise; in a Sword and Sandal movie, it’s such a rarity, that I have to marvel at actually getting lost in the story. Not that the story is great; it’s pretty standard stuff, but (here I go again) YOU CAN FOLLOW IT! It even has some great comic relief scenes, including a scene where Hercules tussles with some golden musclemen, and a sequence involving pickpockets and a monkey who manages to get hold of a magic knife. And there’s not a single temple dance in the whole thing! And you can follow the plot!!!!
It’s amazing how watching too many of these things can lower your expectations so much that you really learn to count your blessings.