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La Vendetta di Ercole / La Vengeance du Hercule

The Vengeance of Hercules
Die Rache des Herkules / Goliath and the Dragon

Italy/France 1960
produced by
Achille Piazzi Produzione, Produzione Gianni Fuchs, Comptoir Francais du Film
directed by Vittorio Cottafavi
starring Mark Forest, Broderick Crawford, Gaby André, Philippe Hersent, Leonora Ruffo, Giancarlo Sbragia, Wandisa Guida, Sandro Moretti, Federica Ranchi, Carlo Calò, Claudio Undari
story by Marco Piccolo, Archibald Zounds jr, screenplay by Archibald Zounds jr, Marcello Baldi, Duccio Tessari

Hercules, Hercules (Mark Forest), Hercules in Italy, Hercules in the 1950's/60's

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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As Hercules (Mark Forest) has gone to the Hades, evil King Eurytos (Broderick Crawford) of Herculaneum figures it would be the perfect time to invade Hercules' hometown Thebes, & as long as everyone believes Hercules is dead, Eurytos has lots of allies. But then news reaches Eurytos' court that Hercules was only visiting the Hades (he had to settle some business with the god of vengeance), Eurytos is suddenly left to conquer Thebes on his own. So he cooks up a plot to incarcerate Hylas (Sandro Moretti), who happens to be in love with Thea (Federica Ranchi), the rightful heiress to the throne he has usurped, only to have him freed again by the slavegirl Alkinoe (Gaby André), who clouds his brain with some lies about HErcules wanting Thea for himself, which is why he won't allow his son to see Thea (while in fact an oracle has told Hercules that he will lose the woman who loves him the day Hylas is united with Thea).

Alkinoe also promises to bring Hylas a serum that will bring his father back to his senses, which is of course actually poison & which he has to slip into his drink, but when she's about to bring the serum, she is attacked by a bear, & Hercules saves her life ... from here on she changes allegiances, & neither does she give Hercules the serum, nor does she cooperate with Eurytos anymore, who has her thrown to the dungeons together with Thea ...

The deadly serum however finds his way to hercules' wine, & only thanks to the god Echo (!) can Thea reach Hylas to prevent Hercules from drinking it. Again, Hercules forbids Hylas to go to Thea, but Hylas makes another visit to her & is captured by Eurytos' men again, & thrown into the arena to be squashed by an elefant. Only the timely intervention of Hercules himself can save him ...

Now Hercules tells Hylas all about the oracle, that he can't let Hylas be together with Thea because he fears for his wife Deianira's (Leonora Ruffo) life, but when Deianira learns abozut this too, she wants to kill herself rather than see her son unhappy, & is soon taken by a satyr (Claudio Undari), whom Hercules lethally wounds.

But the satyr can still make it to Eurytos' court with Deianira, & for the exchange of his prisoner only demands that Eurytos will avenge his death ...

Now Hercules is faced with the challenge of freeing his wife from the dungeons of Herculaneum, the walls of which were built by the cyclops though & are thus impenetrable ... but Hercules soon finds some caves underneath which he brings to cave in, & thus the walls soon start to crumble ...
From then on it's pretty much child's play to defeat Eurytos' army & free Deianira, but in the end Eurytos is kileld by slave girl Alkinoe, who hurls herself into a snakepit & takes him with her. With her dieing breath she confessses her love to Hercules ... & as we see Hylas & Thea united, it becomes clear that she was the woman who was meant by the oracle.

 

Vittorio Cottafavi was always considered as one of the more stylish peplum directors, but this Hercules-romp is pretty much a childish yet colourful piece of (loveable) trash, full of unconvincing monsters (the 3-headed guard dog of the Hades Cerberus is a hoot, as is the Bat-Man Hercules meets in the Hades & a man in a bear suit), stupid plottwists & the usual at best mediocre acting.

But of course, if you know what you are in for, this can be quite entertaining.

 

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
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD