Hercules (Italy 1958)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/9/19
Cast: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Gianna Maria Canale, cameo by Luciana Paluzzi

"Now there's a woman to conquer and battles to win!"

A loose retelling of "The Quest For The Golden Fleece" that focuses on Hercules (Steve Reeves) instead of Jason. Hercules travels to Iolcus at the request of King Pelias and quickly falls in love with Pelias's daughter, Iole (Sylva Koscina). Tragedy turns Pelias and Iole against Hercules, and he is sent to kill the Cretan Bull and recover the mystical Golden Fleece. To make things even more difficult, Hercules gives up his immortality so that he can live, love, and suffer as a mortal man, with the hope to one day raise a family. Soon after Hercules joins Jason and the Argonauts, the crew is captured and seduced by an army of Amazon women who intend to bed the men and kill them afterwards. Narrowly escaping death, Jason retrieves the Golden Fleece and returns with Hercules to face Pelias and punish him for his crimes.

It's an attractive and colorful film, full of great scenery, beautiful women, and an endless supply of sweaty and shirtless men. Steve Reeves makes a wonderful Hercules with his strong jaw, piercing blue eyes, and magnificent physique. Unfortunately, his acting tends to be a bit stiff, but he's simply marvelous to look at. The lovely Sylva Koscina is both sweet and feisty, and wears a delightfully skimpy dress throughout. Unlike the vastly superior "Jason And The Argonauts" (1963), there are hardly any visual effects to aid the story, and Jason's battle with a monster in a rubber suit is laughably embarrassing. To make matters worse, the monster even uses a slowed down version of Godzilla's classic roar. It's a fun adventure film from a simpler time, although the pacing grinds to a halt once the Amazons show up, and the tone of the film shifts towards campy humor. If nothing else, it's worth watching just for the eye candy that Reeves and Koscina provide.