TERROR OF ROME AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (1964)
aka Maciste, gladiatore di Sparte, Maciste: Spartan Gladiator
Article 4908 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Mario Caiano
Featuring Mark Forest, Marilu Tolo, Elisabetta Fanti
Country: Italy / France
What it is: Sword and Sandal, Historical Style
A Spartan gladiator who is a favorite at the court of Rome becomes enamored with a beautiful Christian woman. When her sect is arrested as enemies of the Roman state, the gladiator tries to rescue them so they can escape to a safe land, but he risks the anger of Caesar.
Which son of Hercules is it this time? The original title would you lead you to believe it’s Maciste, but that name was a little obscure for the English language version, so it was changed to Poseidon. Being a historical story rather than a mythological one, it’s lighter on the fantastic content, but there are a few moments where the hero might be construed to have super-strength (one of which may be the result of a miracle brought about by his prayer to God), and at one point he fights a big ape that, as far as I can tell, isn’t a gorilla, a chimpanzee, or an orangutan; I don’t know if this is a fictional ape or the result of a poorly designed costume. Those hoping for an evil queen in this one will be disappointed; all female characters are on the side of good. Storywise, it’s a fairly solid entry into this over-crowded sub-genre of fantastic cinema, but it’s also a bit on the dull side. It even has the wisdom to use the comic-relief character sparingly, though the food-obsessed Caesar may be one himself. All in all, this is an acceptable example of a sword and sandal movie.