HERCULES IN NEW YORK (1969)
Article 4328 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman
Featuring Arnold Stang, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Deborah Loomis
What it is: Fish out of water story
Much to Zeus’s anger, Hercules leaves Olympus and goes down to Earth after many centuries of inactivity. He ends up in modern New York and befriends a pretzel salesman.
You know, the concept of sticking Hercules in modern times might make for an interesting comic idea; the trouble is, despite the fact that there is some humor in the movie, it more or less takes itself seriously. Granted, I’m not sure that, with the talent involved, making it a comedy would have helped; the comic moments are as flat as the rest of the movie. It’s unimaginitively directed, most of the acting is poor, there’s nothing fun in the special effects department, and the movie just limps along from one setpiece to another until it ends. It’s more interesting for its trivia value; it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first movie, and because he was an unknown, he was billed as Arnold Strong so that it would fun to see the name billed next to Arnold Stang’s. His accent was considered too thick to be understood, so he was dubbed on the released print; the undubbed print is available, though. The most fun I had during the movie was seeing a poster for a movie called HERCULES AGAINST THE MONSTER, because I couldn’t help noticing that the monster that appears on the poster is Godzilla; now there would be a movie to see. There also seems to be a little controversy on one point; does John Candy make an appearance in the movie? Some people insist that he isn’t, but all I know is that early in the movie, an actor who resembles and sounds like him says a couple of lines; he’s not listed in the cast, though. Incidentally, I had the choice of watching the version with Schwarzenegger dubbed or undubbed; I chose the dubbed for this viewing.