Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The films of Michael J. Murphy

Tristan (Stephen Harris) and Iseult (Catherine Rowlands) in LEGEND OF A HERO

When I was off last week I discovered a 'new' voice in the PEPLUM film genre: his name is Michael J. Murphy and he's a filmmaker from the UK (there's so little info on him I don't know specifically from where he's based) who's been making films since the early 1970s and up to today. His films are mostly from two of my favorite genres: horror films and PEPLUM genre types: sword & sorcery or films based on classic stories like TRISTAN AND ISOLDE. In fact the director has made three adaptations of that story, in 1970 called TRISTAN & ISEULT, in 1986 as LEGEND OF A HERO and in 1999 as TRISTAN (link).

Most of his films are not listed at IMDb or available on DVD or VHS or any format. The couple of films I've seen up to now clearly show that Italian PEPLUM films are a big influence in the director's approach. In fact his ATLANTIS opus includes a statue reminiscent of the one in HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN, on a much smaller scale of course (see last screenshot). These films are very low budget productions or high-budgeted home movies. Many would dismiss their worth on that fact alone but personally I find them fascinating. I watched LEGEND OF A HERO and I enjoyed it even if it looked like it was shot in a closet. The one interesting aspect of his films is that the filmmaker had a troupe of actors who appeared regularly in several of his films giving these obscure films a theatrical aspect. Mr Murphy is one dedicated independent filmmaker. 

Scenes from AVALON





Scenes from ATLANTIS




3 comments:

Richard Svensson said...

This looks darn interesting! I've never heard of Michael J. Murphy or any of his films, but now I'll keep a sharp lookout. Thanks for the tip!

Wayne M said...

The director is a friend of mine and a wonderful guy he is too.

I am currently working on a book covering his life-long love for filmmaking and hope this will be out sometime soon!

Mike R said...

Murphy's back catalogue is slowly being officially immortalised online ... Legend of a Hero can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pgiBJjDqCM