By the Gods!

A disheveled Alan Ladd and Franca Bettoia in DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961)

For some reason, this film is very polarizing. I have this film uploaded at my PEPLUM TV channel and the comments are either pure hate or 'Oh that was good.' So, it's either absolutely awful or it's good (but not great). I wonder why the disparity. I think it's good but not great like HERCULES (1958). I sorta see why some think it's unsuccessful, with the majority saying Ladd acts indifferently. But Ladd's lackadaisical acting sorta goes with the nature of his role. Franca has appeared in several PEPLUM films. She's a good actress who often played the 'strong, regal but cold female' type. This is one of the few shots in the movie with actors' faces are in the same frame. I love old films but this one of those annoying things about old movies: it's always head shots after head shots with little involvement with actors. The direction is sorta indifferent, even with two directors involved (and it looks like a difficult, cold shoot) but there are good scenes in it, the cast is good and the score is beautiful.

1 comment:

Scott Ochiltree said...


It is remarkable that Alan Ladd had a successful movie career in view of the fact that he was only five and a half feet tall.

His best role was probably as the male lead in the 1953 western SHANE. Ladd was also known for his "tough guy" roles in gangster films.

Alcoholism was a problem in his later life.

In 1962 He attempted suicide by shooting himself near his heart, but lived. Two years later he died from an overdose of alcohol and pills at age 50.