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Ulisse contro Ercole

Ulysses Against Hercules
Ulysses contre Hercules / Ulyses Against the Son of Hercules / Herkules der Sohn der Götter

Italy/France 1961
produced by
Fidès, Compagnia Cinematografica Mondial
directed by Mario Caiano
starring Georges Marchal, Michael Lane, Alessandra Panaro, Dominique Boschero, Gabriele Tinti, Raffaella Carrà, Eleonora Bianchi, Raf Baldassarre, Nando Angelini, Tino Bianchi, Gianni Santuccio, Yvette Lebon, Raffaele Pisu
written by Mario Caiano, André Tabet, music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino

Ulysses, Hercules, Hercules in Italy, Hercules in the 1950's/60's

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Because he has blinded the cyclops son of Poseidon, Zeus orders the hero Ulysses (Georges Marchal) to be captured by his son Hercules (Michael Lane), to be laid in chains and brought to the cyclops for sweet revenge.

... and Ulysses, on his way home from Troy, is captured soon enough with the help of a bunch of pirates, but escapes by setting their ship on fire. When later Hercules catches up with him again, he and Ulysses both are captured by a tribe of birdmen and their beautiful queen, who wants to marry one of them (no matter which one) and sacrifice the other one to the great Eagle God. however, a bolt of lightning and Ulysses' cunning frees our heroes. Hercules though still treats Ulysses as his captive and it takes Ulysses some more cunning to break free again ... only to be captured by evil king Lagos (Gianni Santuccio) and his tribe of cavemen. At first Ulysses manages to convince Lagos that he needs him thanks to his superior intellect, but when one of Ulysses inventions - wings that enable the king to take off to the air - goes horribloy wrong, Lagos has Ulysses thrown into his dungeon.

In the dungeon, Ulysses meets girls from the hometown of Helena (Alessandra Panaro), Hercules' sweetheart, and helps them escape in hopes that they will notify Hercules so he fights and defeats Lagos and frees Ulysses - if only to hand him over to the cyclops.

Hercules meanwhile is in Helena's hometown, but learns that Helena is promised to another man, Adrastus (Raf Baldassarre), who once saved her hometown from barbarians. Now though, the town seems to be threatened by barbarians again, Lagos' cavemen, and Hercules figures if he saves the town this time, he not Adrastus will get Helena's hand in marriage ... and he will fianally get his hands on Ulysses (once again). Of course everything works as planned, and Hercules even manages to not only free Ulysses but save him from being squashed by the lowering ceiling of his prison cell.

Still, Ulysses remains Hercules' prisoner, but then Adrastus, who learns he has lost Helena to Hercules, attacks her hometown and kidnaps her, and suddenly Hercules has to go to war which allows Ulysses to make another escape. Then though Ulysses finds Helena in the clutches of baddie Adrastus, and instead of making good his escape, he saves Hercules' girl, which in the end causes Hercules - after having defeated Adrastus and his army - to plead to his father Zeus for forgiveness for Ulysses - which Zeus of course grants ...

 

The Italian peplums (= sword and sandal movies) never had too much to do with the actual history and/or mythology they were based on but were rather conceived as a colourful succession of action and fantasy scenes starring one or more bodybuilder heroes - and Ulisse contro Ercole is no exception, it features a totally and freshly made up story pitting Hercules against Ulysses that also includes cavemen, birdmen, pirates and the like. The outcome, as one would expect, is rather ridiculous and utterly childish - but still, if you are in touch with your inner child, you might find the film quite exhilarating. On the other hand, if you take it seriously, you will probably no less than hate it - it's your decision.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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