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Perseo l'Invincibile

Medusa against the Son of Hercules
El Valle de los Hombresde Piedra / Perseus against the Monsters / Perseus - Der Unbesiegbare / Perseus the Invincible / Valley of the Stone Men / Wrath of the Medusa

Italy/Spain 1963
produced by
Emo Bistolfi for Cineproduzione Emo Bistolfi, Copercines
directed by Alberto De Martino
starring Richard Harrison, Anna Ranalli, Arturo Dominici, Elisa Cegani, Leo Anchóriz, Antonio Molino Rojo, Roberto Camardiel, Ángel Jordán, Fernando Liger, Bruno Scipioni, Frank Brana, Miguel de la Riva, José Luis Ferreiro, Miguel González, Rufino Inglés, Enrique Navarro, Ángela Pla, Lorenzo Robledo, José Sepúlveda
story by Mario Guerra, Alberto De Martino, screenplay by Mario Guerra, Alberto De Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi, Luciano Martino, José Mallorquí, Mario Caiano, Tonino Guerra, music by Carlo Franci, Manuel Parada, special effects by Carlo Rambaldi

Medusa, Perseus

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Acrisio (Arturo Dominici), king of Argo, has cut off Seriphos access to the sea, unless they pay very high taxes. Now attacking Argo is not an option for the good people of Seriphos, because the way to Argo leads by a swamp monster and the Medusa (not at all a sensual woman with snake hair in this one but rather a tree-monster wich snakelike twigs and one single glowing eye), who has (literally) petrified most of Seriphos' army already. However, Acrisio offers a solution: He wants Andromeda (Anna Ranalli), Princess of Seriphos, to marry his son Galenor (Leo Anchóriz) - to ultimately rule over both cities. Her people in mind, Andromeda agrees to meet with Galenor, and at first she isn't even totally opposed to him ... until he gets into a fight with Perseus (Richard Harrison), a nature boy who couldn't care less about either Seriphos or Argo - but she's in love with him, and he's very fond of her as well. She figures she might kill two birds with one stone if she sets up a duel between Galenor and Perseus, and the winner gets her as his bride. Of course, Perseus wins, but he doesn't want her under these circumstances, is a bit repulsed even by her scheming - but Galenor is not one to accept defeat that easily, so he kidnaps Andromeda and wants to take her back to Argo ... with Perseus in hot pursuit though, he somehow runs into the swamp monster, and Perseus saves his life - then takes him back to Argo unharmed to try to broker a peace. He almost succeeds, too, until it's found out he's the son of the rightful ruler of Argo. He has to flee, and this time Argo's army is in hot pursuit, and they soon put Seriphos under siege. But Perseus has a plan: If he manages to kill the Medusa, all the petrified soldiers of Seriphos will come back to life and ... well, the film ends happily of course (for the good guys at least).

 

By 1963, the peplum (the Italian version of the sword and sandal movie, most of the time featuring a bodybuilder) had pretty much run its course - and especially considering most other productions from the late era of the peplum, Perseo l'Invincibile is a pretty decent effort: It really makes the most of its low budget, succeeds in making the crowd scenes look larger than they actually were, features decent locations, the swamp monster is very well executed, and the treelike Medusa shows a spark of inventiveness. Sure, the film's by no means a genre masterpiece, the plot is much too flat and too riddled with plotholes (like: why is the way to Argo and back sometimes a stroll in the woods, sometimes a life-threatening journey from one monster to the next), the action scenes could have been executed better, and everything has a been-there-done-that feel to it. And that said ... there are quite simply way worse peplums out there, so you might find yourself enjoying this one all the same.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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