By the Gods!

Silvana Mangano as Penelope in ULYSSES (1954)

An early entry in the Italian made PEPLUM genre. I like everything about this (cast, costumes, sets, etc). Silvana is great in a dual role of Penelope and Circe. I only have two big reservations about this: it's way too short (while the TV mini-series that came a decade later was too long). And Kirk Douglas as Ulysses. I'm certain that having Kirk Douglas cast in the main role helped the film to get made (and sorta helped spearhead the PEPLUM genre in Italy, along with other factors) but I think Kirk as Ulysses was a bit of miscasting. And those two aspects are big liabilities, not minor ones one can easily overlook. So close and yet so far.

5 comments:

Scott Ochiltree said...

For once I must disagree. It is far better for a movie to be a little on the short side rather than to be too long. The "does my ass hurt yet" test.

Peplum genius Cecil B. DeMille did a superb job telling the story of Cleopatra in one hundred minutes. Ulysses is actually slightly longer at 117 minutes.

Finally I though that Kirk Douglas did a great job, as usual.

WrestlePorno said...

The wrestling scene in this movie is one of the best in peplums! It stayed true to the style of wrestling during that time!

Richard Svensson said...

I actually like this movie as it is. To me, it doesn't outstay its welcome in any way, and I think Kirk Douglas makes a very good Ulysses. The end fight with the intruding suitors is top notch action.
The one thing I can't wrap my head around is how grapes squashed one minute has magically turned to alcohol the next (the cyclops scene).

Mark Mellon said...

I agree with the previous commenters. Douglas did a fine job, especially the rage he showed when he killed off the suitors.

PEPLUM TV said...

The length is not the only issue but what they covered during that its running time, which was minimal. In comparison, a film like HERCULES covered many things (including with the help of a flashback) and it felt epic, even with a shorter amount of time (at 107 minutes). ULYSSES felt short because the screenplay's storyline was minimal. A story in a few acts.

Douglas did a fine job but being miscast doesn't make the role fit. An actor can be miscast and still give a fine performance even if he wasn't suited for the role. Saying someone is miscast doesn't mean they gave a bad performance.