Monday, December 3, 2018

By the Gods!

Hercules (Steve Reeves) and Iole (Sylva Koscina) share family secrets in HERCULES (1958)

This week I'm celebrating the 60th anniversary of its original Italian release. Co-written and directed by Pietro Francisci, this colourful adventure was the 7th most popular film in Italy. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS was number 1 during that cycle. It was released in 1959 in the US and also became a huge hit. In fact, it was a hit all over the world. The influence of this film can be felt all the way to today, with the recent resurgence of films set in Antiquity, thanks to the success of GLADIATOR (2000). The Ridley Scott film was even pitched as something not seen since 'those Steve Reeves gladiator films.'

There are so many things great about it: cinematography, music, perfect cast, including Koscina who had success in Hollywood productions. It's also important to note that this was the first cinematic incarnation ever made of the famous Greek hero! But most of all, it introduced Steve Reeves to the world and action films weren't the same since.


Anonymous said...

No matter how many Peplums I watch l always come back and watch this film. By the way l prefer the American dubbed voice more than the English dubbed voice. Wayne W.

Anonymous said...

It is a wonderful film and I think the sequel is even better. They are great to see back to back. Embassy Pictures reissued them together in 1973 and it was a real treat to see them on the big screen again.

hsc said...

"It's also important to note that this was the first cinematic incarnation ever made of the famous Greek hero!"

Actually, this isn't *entirely* true.

25 years earlier, the character appeared in "The Warrior's Husband" (1933), a film version of a Broadway play based on the story of Theseus and Hercules getting the magic girdle of Amazon queen Hippolyta:

The whole thing's a "battle of the sexes" comedy, though, not a serious treatment of the myth.

Hercules was played by Tiny Sanford, who was a big, overweight guy who played comic bullies for the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy (and may have inspired Popeye's nemesis Bluto).

Steve Reeves, however, was the first "real" Hercules, as far as I've ever been able to determine.

And kudos on this great series of posts saluting the 60th anniversary!

hsc said...

Ha! When trying to find an image of Tiny Sandford to post, I see you already covered "The Warrior's Husband" some years ago:

PEPLUM TV said...

In THE WARRIOR'S HUSBAND, Hercules is just a supporting character. HERCULES is the first film adaptation based on his life/myth.