The Giant of Metropolis (1961)

aka Il gigante di Metropolis
Article 3772 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-30-2011
Posting Date: 12-12-2011
Directed by Umberto Scarpelli
Featuring Gordon Mitchell, Bella Cortez, Roldano Lupi
Country: Italy
What it is: Sci-fi sword and sandal

Muscular hero Obro comes to the city of Metropolis in Atlantis to defeat an evil king who is dabbling in science that is not meant for man.

I’m surprised it took me so long to get to this particular sword-and-sandal title; it’s perhaps the one that can most easily be classified as science fiction as well, given that it takes place in the super-scientific town of Metropolis. And, to its credit, the offbeat setting seems to inspire a plot that doesn’t blindly follow the well-worn tracks of most movies of its ilk; there are some unusual plot developments here. However, that’s not an unmixed blessing. One problem is that it’s a movie with a message, which is that nature shall take vengeance on those that try to subvert it through science; the movie is so self-consciously aware of its theme that it gets very preachy at times. As a result, it’s one of the duller, talkier sword and sandal movies out there. You’d also think that this super-scientific city would come up with something in the way of useful projectile weapons; instead, we have standard-issue clubs, weapons that seem to be nothing more than glorified pointed sticks with thyroid problems, and faux lobster claws. I also can’t help but notice that, despite the science, they still practice astrology, like to spend a lot of time hanging around caves, and still have an addiction to liturgical dance; the scene involving the latter convinces me that the choreographers of Metropolis work overtime while their composers are asleep at the wheel. Overall, I’m very disappointed with this one; I’d like to like it, but it’s way too talky and preachy to be much fun. And the scene where the hero has a battle with a ray of light may be one of the most embarrassing moments in the whole genre.


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