Review Date: 6/13/16
Director: Sergio Leone
Cast: Rory Calhoun
"Filmed in SupertotalScope!"
A lavish and beautifully filmed sword and sandal adventure that suffers from being about forty-five minutes too long. A lascivious Greek warrior named Dario (Rory Calhoun) visits his uncle on the island of Rhodes, where he proceeds to get into trouble by chasing every girl in sight. During one of these escapades, he stumbles into a secret meeting room where plans are being made for a Phoenician army to invade the peaceful island, which alarms the crafty Phoenician ambassador. Is Dario a spy, or simply a fool? There's also a band of rebels on the island who wish to overthrow the king. They beg Dario for help, but he's only interested in girls. That is, until the king throws him in the dungeon for attempting to leave the island without permission. That's when he gets angry and leads a revolt against the corrupt rulers of Rhodes. The key to victory is to infiltrate the giant statue of Apollo that guards the harbor, and free the slaves who are held captive underneath it.
It's a gorgeous and large scale film with elaborate sets and hundreds of extras. The colossus is particularly impressive, as a full size bust was created for people to fight in, on, and around. The cast is mostly comprised of Italian muscle men, and American Rory Calhoun looks awkward and stiff in their company. His amorous playboy attitude is detestable, but he puts up a pretty good fight towards the end and does an effective job of rousing the rebels. It's a fun adventure romp that unfortunately slows to a crawl in the overly drawn out final act, and after ninety minutes I was ready for the film to end. Still, it's an interesting example of Sergio Leone's early work, and fans of the genre should find it moderately entertaining.