Peter Lupus is best known for a starring role in the 60s spy series “Mission Impossible” alongside such stars as Martin Landau and Leonard Nimoy, but before this he was incarnated as the great and ever changing its seems Greek hero Hercules in one of the apparently endless stream of Hercules films that poured out of Italy during the 60s. And as with all of its kind, it’s a right old mixed bag with some great stuff going on but always let down by some frankly very dowdily made material, almost cheerfully badly made it seems.
The plot as ever is featherlike and secondary to the action and spectacle and Lupus is given little chance to show off his acting chops, merely his physique and as such doesn’t really project much charisma as the hulking hero, but manages to grunt very well while waving around a paper Mache club in a manner that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Carry On Film. In fact he manages to make not much of an impression at all, unlike Helga Line who is dazzling in every scene and who would return in a later Hercules movie.
Set around the fall of Babylon, that’s where the history lesson ends as the plot lurches from one set[piece to another , never failing to entertain along the way and not for one moment becoming boring. Ludicrous yes, camp as a row of tents certainly, but not boring. As with most of the Hercules films it’s worth taking it with a large pinch of salt before you even press play, you’re not going to find anything of great depth here but yet another really quite fun sword and sandal flick .
It’s not the best or most exciting Hercules movie by a long way but it’s worth whiling away an idler hour and a half with if nothing else for the gusto with which it was made.
The storyline isn’t particularly engaging and has clearly been influenced and in some cases lifted from other such bigger budgeted epics so feels like nothing particularly new or distinctive which is a bit of a missed opportunity. The design work isn’t bad though and the cinematography is pleasing enough. None of the guest cast are exceptional, in fact there’s nothing exceptional about the movie at all! Will Hercules succeed in his mission to rescue the Queen of Hellens? Yeah, probably.
Director: Domenico Paolella
Cast: Anna Maria Polani, Peter Lupus, Helga Liné, Mario Petri, Livio Lorenzon, Tullio Altamura