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