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Il Conquistatore di Atlantide

Conqueror of Atlantis
Kingdom in the Sand / Kampf um Atlantis

Italy 1965
produced by
Copro Film
directed by Alfonso Brescia
starring Kirk Morris, Andrea Scotti, Piero Lulli, Hélène Chanel, Luciana Gilli, Mahmoud El-Sabbaa, Livia Rossetti, Mohammed Tawfik, Caterina Trentini
written by Alfonso Brescia, Franco D'este (= Franco Cobianchi)

Hercules, Hercules (Kirk Morris), Hercules in Italy, Hercules in the 1950's/60's

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Washed upon the shores of Egypt, Hercules (Kirk Morris) is saved by the beautiful queen of the desert, Virna (Luciana Gilli), whom he immediately falls in love with, but she sends him away ... & he arrives in the camp of Karr (An drea Scotti), who claims to be continuously attacked by the men of Assur (Mahmoud El-Sabbaa), the father of Virna.

But when Hercules arrives at Assur's camp, he claims to be under constant attack of Karr's men ... which leads Herules to the conclusionthat some third party wants to cause a war between Karr & Assur . Ultimately he can convince the 2 of them of his suspicion & make them reconcile, but no sooner is that accoplished is Assur's camp invaded by some mysterious soldiers dubbed ghosts & Virna is kidnapped.

Hercules & Karr agree to embark on an expedition to find & free Virna again - an expedition that leads them to the city of death, & in the midst of it, Atlantis, rebuilt on a volcano & only kept in place by some sophisticated machinery, as Ramir (Piero Lulli), the head mad scientist of the realm, explains to them.

& to guard Atlantis, Ramir has an army of golden zombies (don't ask why they are golden), an arsenal of laserguns, & surveillance cameras in every room (really). And Virna was kidnapped, it turns out, because she is to be the reincarnation of Atlantis' queen Ming (Hélène Chanel), who claims she can control whom she is reincarnated into, & Virna has already been brainwashed to think the Atlantis way. By the way it is said that Atlantis will sink on the day it's queen falls in love with a man ... & since Virna is already in love with Hercules, it's only a matter of time until he breaks the spell  ... which he promptly does, knowing for some reason perfectly how to operate the local brainwashing machine ...

In the end, Virna & Karr can get away, while Hercules stays behind to pull all the right levers of Atlantis floating machinery to properly sink it, & assur & his men attack the zombies who are guarding tghe city ... of course all our good guys survive in the end & are victorious.

 

By 1965, the peplum boom was essentially over, & this one is pretty much one of the last movies of the genre ... but also one of the wildest: Hercules the son of Zeus in an adventure in the African desert that involves Atlantis, great retor machinery & lab-scenes, a greenbearded mad scientist, golden zombies & laserguns, all in glorious primary colours ...the description alone sounds fascinating (or should I) say silly) enough, & the finished product, safe from some overly talky passages, does not disappoint, having more in common with 1930's fantastic serials than your friendly neighbourhood peplum.

it wasn't until the early 1980's, when Luigi Cozzi with his 2 Hercules films tried an equally wild variation on the genre.

By the way, this film is not to be confused with the somewhat similarly titled Ercole alla Conquista di Atlantide (1961, directed by Vittorio Cottafavi, Reg Park playing Hercules).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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