Thursday, December 12, 2019

By the Gods!

Helga Liné in THE SECRET SEVEN (1963; 1966 US; Gli invincibili sette)

Fun PEPLUM movie. There's nothing much to write about since it's strictly action. Even though it's almost a carbon copy of GLADIATORS 7 (1962), or other Tony Russel movies, in terms of locations and style, it's pretty entertaining on its own. All directed by Alberto De Martino. This one was released theatrically in the US by MGM in 1966, when the genre pretty much dead.

The story, of band of criminals recruited secretly by Tony Russel, to help him get some treasure from the evil ruler, convincingly played by Gérard Tichy (below), is highly improbable (using some catapult contraption), but even so it moves at such a good speed and the brawny action and cast are so game that the improbabilities don't matter much. It's a 'nice' shoot in that most of the action takes place in bright sunny semi-desert settings. Everyone is bronzed. It's the complete opposite of the dreary BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS I reviewed on Monday.

Tony Russel and Helga Liné also starred together in THE SPARTAN GLADIATORS (1964), which is a twin productions with this one. Overall, I prefer SPARTAN. It's a better production but the story and action are better in SECRET SEVEN. The story in SPARTAN GLADIATORS is quite convoluted while everything is pretty much straight-forward in this movie.

Helga looks so much better in this movie than SPARTAN. Less dowdy. She's one of my favourite actresses of the genre and certainly enjoy watching this one because of her presence. As for Tony Russel, well, I like him. He's enjoyable on screen but I have to admit he's not my favourite PEPLUM star. He played the regular amiable man. But after Steve Reeves or even Gordon Scott, Tony cannot overshadow those classic action stars.

The Italian title translates as THE INVINCIBLE SEVEN. PEPLUM titles with numbers, usually indicating the number of 'heroes' in the story, were very popular back then. I pretty much like all of them.

I have a couple of versions of this rare movie, including the Spanish version from which I made a Fan Dub with it (and uploaded to my PEPLUM TV channel).

The 'Secret Seven': Renato Baldini, Livio Lorenzon, Massimo Serato, Tony Russel, Barca Barri, and Jose Marco.

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