in New York
(1970): People slam
this movie all the time, and it's really not bad. It's supposed
to be a spoof of Hercules (i.e. camp), so if you take it as such you'll
have a good time. The only bad thing is that it's not
Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice and he's very obviously been
dubbed. The voice he's given
sounds so high and mighty and corny.
This is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie, but at
time he was credited as Arnold Strong. The later releases of it
show his name as Arnold Schwarzenegger in the credits. He made a
physically impressive-looking Hercules, but I've always felt Hercules
needs a beard. To me, Hercules isn't Hercules without a
beard, and that's all there is to it. Despite that, it's a
fun movie and I like the story idea. He's bored with life on
Mount Olympus among the other Greek gods and winds up going to New York
City. But Hercules' arrogance and inexperience with civilization
gets him into trouble time and again. He becomes a weightlifting
superstar. After making best friends with a pretzel vendor named
Pretzie, and the beautiful daughter of a college professor named Helen
Camden, Hercules slowly becomes a better person. But that isn't
the whole story.
Of special mention is Arnold Stang as Pretzie.
I enjoy Arnold Stang as a cartoon character voice actor, and it's great
to see him in a substantial role (second billing, not too
shabby). He is most famous for the voices of Herman the Mouse (of
Herman and Katnip) and Top Cat.
It's funny, it's stupid, but it's supposed to
be. At least Arnold passes for Hercules and can do
Herculean things, unlike many of the more recent actors they've had
play the character. If you're looking for something amusing to
watch, this is it.
This movie has also been called "Hercules: The
Movie" and "Hercules Goes Bananas". It wasn't a huge hit at
the time, but this debut helped Arnold secure several other supporting
roles before getting star billing again in "Conan the Barbarian" in
1982. And he's had star billing in almost all of his projects
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hercules [credited as Arnold Strong]
Arnold Stang as Pretzie
Deborah Loomis as Helen Camden
Ernest Graves as Zeus
Tanny McDonald as Juno
Taina Elg as Nemesis
Michael Lipton as Pluto
Erica Fitz as Venus
Dan Hamilton as Mercury
Mark Tendler as Samson
Dennis Tinerino as Atlas
- Hercules Goes Bananas
- Hercules: The Movie
- This movie was filmed in 1969, and debuted on
February 25, 1970 in the U.S.
- It is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first role,
although his voice is dubbed and he's credited as Arnold Strong.
- Schwarzenegger's friend Reg Park, a three-time
Hercules, urged him to take the part.
- Many years later, on a DVD release, the film is
presented with Schwarzenegger's real voice!
- It was actually filmed in New York City.
(1965): It's good
to see Reg Park as Hercules again. This is a sequel, of sorts, to
his previous Hercules appearances. The bad thing is that this
movie is mostly stock footage from the films "Hercules & the
Captive Women" and "Hercules in the Haunted World", both from
1961. New scenes were shot for this film, but as one reviewer has
said "it looks like it was filmed in a day". I'm not that
critical. I do think this is good enough to watch, but it's
"cheaping out" like this that ended up killing the genre of
sword-and-sandal peplum. Pretty much by 1966, this type of movie
was finished. Audiences got upset when filmmakers kept cutting
corners and didn't deliver what they promised.
Hercules again has a wife, Dejanira,
and a teenage
son. This time, his "only son" is named Zanthos.
Apparently, they were rewriting the saga of Reg Park's Hercules.
His trusted confidant is the aged Thessus, as it was in the last movie
"Hercules in the Haunted World". However, ALL of the supporting
cast around Reg Park is changed from previous entries.
In this movie, Hercules has recently
killing the Hydra snake monster. He knows he has incurred the
wrath of Hydra's creator, the petty Goddess of Earth, Gia. He
fears Gia will bring harm to his family. Hercules' fears come
A group of 20 male lions has plagued
Hercules' teenage son Zanthos pleas to Hercules to let him go in his
stead, so he can prove his manhood; sort of a "rite of passage".
Zanthos gets thrown from his chariot in an "accident", then attacked by
a lion. The boy is saved in time by Thessus, but is gravely
wounded. The lions, Zanthos' accident, and him being
attacked...all of it is the work of the evil goddess Gia.
Zanthos is still alive, but his
gone. The boy is quite insane. Zanthos is tied down to bed,
while Hercules goes on a sea voyage to some strange land to free
Zanthos' spirit. Meanwhile, Gia allows her evil son Antaius to
assume Hercules' identity and spread evil across the land.
Antaius is not as strong as Hercules, but still has enough
super-strength to be a menace to everyone; he is the second-strongest
man on Earth. The recently widowed Queen Lita of Syracuse seeks
Hercules' help in securing her kingdom from six evil kings. When
she can not find Hercules, she is met by evil Antaius and, reluctantly,
accepts his "help". Once Antaius rids Lita of the six evil kings,
he doesn't settle for payment. He takes the queen and the kingdom
by force, and makes himself the king. Telling everyone he's
Hercules in order to gain their fear and respect, he rules Syracuse in
a very cruel manner. He taxes the people into poverty, kills all
who oppose, and even frees convicted killers from prison to become his
new soldiers. Perhaps his cruelest act is driving his revolting
subjects into the Valley of Agony and blocking them out from ever
returning to the kingdom. People all over the land think this is
the real Hercules and hate his guts.
Against all of Gia's attempts,
the mission of saving his son's spirit and returns home. He finds
out about the fake Hercules and goes to Syracuse to kill him.
Hercules starts a volcanic eruption
to wipe out the
city. This is about the stupidest thing written into the
movie. It's just an excuse to reuse the destruction of Atlantis
footage from "Hercules & the Captive Women". Hercules was
supposed to be saving the people, why was he instructed to kill them
all and destroy the kingdom? Even sillier, how come there were
still people in the kingdom? Antaius had all of them sent to the
Valley of Agony. Queen Lita goes to the shrine of Zeus (Jove) to
beg his forgiveness and be pardoned from this terrible fate.
Antaius begs his mother to be saved and escapes through a crack in the
floor. We never see Lita again. Whether she is saved or not
is uncertain. She's good, so I think we're supposed to assume she
survives. Still, the kingdom she wanted to save from evil is
leveled, and that sucks. What was the point of all this?
Hercules find Antaius in the
tunnel. There's a great fight scene, and Hercules whoops his
a**! Of the original footage shot for this movie, this is the
best part. Hercules kills the fake Hercules. This probably
doesn't do much in making Gia any less angry with him, but this is
where it's left off. Hercules returns home and everyone is
reunited and happy. The end.
Giovanni Cianfriglia gives a great
the fake Hercules. He's just so d*** evil! He has
absolutely no scruples, and kills women as easily as men. How
come movie villains seemed so much more wicked back in the 1960s?
Villains since that time seem more human.
So much happens in this movie that
explained. This re-editing job is not the best I've ever seen,
not even close. Because of this, the movie becomes incoherent and
hard to follow at parts. Many people who enjoyed the earlier Reg
Park Hercules movies hate this one and, at the time it was released,
many fans felt betrayed. The first two were great and
all-original. Audiences really wanted an all-new Hercules
adventure with Reg Park, and didn't get it.
I still like this movie, but it
doesn't compare to
the previous two films except for the new footage with Antaius.
It's worth seeing if you're a fan of Hercules movies.
Reg Park as Hercules [Ercole, in the Italian version]
Gia Sandri as Queen Lita of Syracuse
Giovanni Cianfriglia as Antaius, the imposter Hercules
? as Dejanira, Hercules' wife
? as Zanthos, son of Hercules
? as Thessus, Hercules aged confidant
? as Gia, Goddess of the Earth
? as Anticle, priestess of Zeus (Jove)
For This Film:
- La sfida dei giganti [Italy; actual title]
- This was the last of Reg Park's Hercules
films. He played Hercules in two previous films, "Hercules &
the Captive Women" (aka "Hercules Conquers Atlantis") and "Hercules in
the Haunted World", both from 1961. An odd bit of trivia, he
played a similar
character called Ursus in a film that was released in the U.S. as
"Hercules, Prisoner of Evil" (1964), but the character was simply
called Hercules in dubbing. He also played the Hercules-inspired
character of Maciste in the film "Maciste in King Solomon's Mines"
(1964), also titled/redubbed in some versions as "Samson in King
Solomon's Mines". On the whole scale of things, Reg Park did not
do much in acting, but he played great Hercules characters in a handful
of respectable films.
- This film is mostly stock footage from the two
"Hercules & the Captive Women" and "Hercules in the Haunted World".
- We never see Hercules and Queen Lita in the same
scene together. What's more strange is that Reg Park and Gia
Sandri shared top billing.
- Zeus and Jove are the same god, and the two names
are used interchangably throughout the film.
The second of two Steve Reeves' Hercules movies. This movie can
truly be called a sequel, because it's picking up the adventures of
Hercules exactly where he left off from the last film. Hercules
with new bride Ioles and his young sidekick Ulysses go to Thebes, where
they are to continue Ulysses' training. But some bad things are
going on in the once wonderful city of Thebes, and Hercules has to get
down to the bottom of it. To further Hercules' problems, he
drinks "the waters of forgetfulness" and loses his memory.
Suffering from amnesia, Hercules (Ulysses, too) are taken to the palace
of an evil enchantress. Lydia the enchantress has Hercules
convinced he is her king, and Ulysses tries to tell the legendary
demi-god his true identity.
Unlike the previous film, Hercules IS the main star
of this film.
Everything centers around him as it really should. In "Hercules"
from 1958, he pretty much shares the film with Jason of the
Argonauts. There is no Jason in this film. From beginning
to finish, Hercules is in charge of all the major heroics.
I'd enjoy hearing from anyone who worked in this
film. Please CONTACT ME.
Steve Reeves as Hercules
Sylva Koscina as Princess Iole, Daughter of Pelias and Bride of Hercules
Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses
Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness
(1964 Film): This IS an actual "Hercules" movie.
When it was aired on American TV in the 1960s it was lumped into the Sons of Hercules package of
sword-and-sandal films. To make it seem like the character was a
son of Hercules, the character was renamed Argolese in the English
It's not my favorite Hercules movie, but it isn't
the worst. The film moves fast and has plenty of action.
Dan Vadis makes a good Hercules. Spela Rozin as Telca is pretty
darn fine. It's hard to critique a foreign movie when you're only
seeing the edited English language version. Sometimes the
Americanized version of a film can be lousy as compared to the original
cut. All I know is at least in the American version things are
put together very choppy and sometimes to the point where it's
Argolese saves the lovely, redheaded Princess Telca
from a vicious lion. King Tedaeo, Telca's father, promises
Argolese his daughter's hand in marriage if he first slays a ruthless
dragon who has been laying waste to the land. While Argolese is
on this mission, Tedaeo's kingdom is overthrown by the forces of evil
Queen Ella. Some of the people in Tedaeo's kingdom are killed,
while others are taken prisoner. Tedaeo and Telca are two such
prisoners. For some reason, a fat goofy subject named Babar is
the only one who wasn't killed or captured. Meanwhile, Argolese
meets the creepy Oracle and gets a magic spear to kill the
dragon. Our hero promptly kills the dragon before returning to
Tedaeo's village. Once there, Babar tells Argolese all about the
invasion. Argolese then recruits a most reluctant Babar as his
The two heroes track down Ella's forces to her
secret volcano kingdom. Argolese is captured. Babar, on the
other hand, avoids capture and does what he can to save the day.
Queen Ella orders Argolese to be torn apart by four elephants.
Argolese survives and his studliness endears him to the wicked
queen. Just when Ella is about to get Argolese into her room, she
is murdered by Melissia, who has secretly aspired to be queen.
Melissia puts the blame on Telca and the lovely princess is set to be
sacrificed. Argolese, with Babar's help, comes to the rescue of
Telca and fights the new queen's evil forces. In the meantime,
lava floods the secret kingdom and an impending volcanic eruption
threatens to send everyone to their maker.
King Tedaeo is killed while trying to rescue his
daughter. The good guys win and the bad guys get dead. The
whole evil kingdom is blown to smithereens. Argolese and Telca
walk hand-in-hand to an applauding crowd.
The bear was real lame. If you can't do a
special effect even close to right, don't do it at all. The man
in the bear suit was pretty bogus, and the film would switch from fake
bear to real bear footage. In addition, the dragon scene was
pretty non-thrilling. There was nothing to it! Some cheesy
stop-motion animation, then a spear through the head. I guess a
more interesting fight would be in order. The fight between
Argolese and the lion at the beginning was the best done of these three
animal battles, but even that was hokey. The "dead lion" was
clearly not dead at all or even sleeping for that matter. Not
when he's licking his chops!
There were a number of things about this movie that
didn't fit or make much sense. A lot of stupid stuff.
It would almost seem that Queen
Ella has a lesbian attraction to Telca when she first makes the girl
her slave. However, Ella still fancies Argolese after he survives
the elephants. We see Telca's brother only briefly before he dies
and never with his father or sister. There was no reason to show
him! I couldn't pinpoint the exact significance of the dragon
tooth/amulet. It's powers are never defined. We're told
it's only supposed to work once. I never saw it work. I'm
not sure what the Oracle was all about or why she had to be seen.
So many things about this movie just don't tie together.
I do think this movie has some clever parts.
The bowl of knockout gas used on Argolese was a cool idea. I also
didn't see Melissia's murder of Queen Ella coming. That was a
neat plot twist. I also like how Argolese whooped up on the bad
guys. The part where he had the guy by the legs and was swinging
him around to beat up the others was really neat. I liked how
Argolese sent so many of the soldiers into the lava. The
destruction of the rock bridge was also an impressive visual.
On the whole, I think this movie is worth seeing at
least once, but all you're really getting is flash. There isn't a
lot of substance.
Dan Vadis as Argolese [actually Hercules
or "Ercole" as he is known in Italy]
Spela Rozin as Princess Telca
John Simons as Babar, Argolese's fat, goofy sidekick
Ugo Sasso as King Tedaeo, Telca's father [credited as Hugo Arden]
Carla Calo as Ella, Queen of the Demulus [credited as Carol Brown]
Olga Solbelli as The Oracle [credited as Sand Beauty]
Maria Fiore as Melissia [credited as Joan Simons]
Ken Clark as Kabol, Captain of the Guards and Melissia's father
[credited as Ken Klark]
Howard Ross as Telca's Brother [credited as Red Ross]
For This Film:
- Ercole l'invincible [Italy; original title]
- Hercule l'invincible [France]
- Hercules Against the Elephants' Empire [U.S.;
- Hercules the Invincible [U.S.; English
translation of actual title]
- Land of Darkness Part 1 [U.S.; original subtitled
- This movie is the only film credit of any kind
for John Simons.
- The original dragon footage in this movie was
taken out and replaced with dragon footage from the classic "Hercules"
(1958) film starring Steve Reeves. Joseph E. Levine's Embassy
Pictures company distributed both of these Italian-made films in
- Dan Vadis died of a drug overdose on June 11,
1987 at the age of 49.
- Spela Rozin is a beauty from Slovenia.
- The original movie was 85 minutes. The
American version is 81 minutes.
Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules (1961):
movie that was dubbed in English for American
and UK audiences. What's funny is that, in its native Italy, this
is SUPPOSED to be a Hercules movie. The actual title is "Ulisse
contro Ercole", which means "Ulysses Versus Hercules". In the UK,
this movie goes by "Ulysses Versus Hercules". But in America, it
was titled "Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules". Why was this
done? If anyone knows, please CONTACT ME.
This is a fun movie, but it takes a while for it to
start getting good. As a matter of fact, this movie doesn't even
start being really good until Heracles and Ulysses are captured by
Regina, the beautiful blonde Queen of the Bird Men. Dominique
Boschero, who plays Regina, looks really outstanding and elegant in her
feathery lingerie outfits. But she's only in the movie for a
short while! This movie really could have used a bigger part for
Boschero, as she brought much beauty and intrigue to the film and its
The movie opens with Heracles, one of the sons of
Hercules, being approached by Mercury, god of speed and messenger of
the gods. Heracles is ordered by king of the gods, Jupiter, to
catch heroic Ulysses and bring him to Mount Olympus. Ulysses'
crime? He has offended the gods by killing water god Neptune's
son. Ulysses killed the evil monster because it killed so many of
his men, but Heracles questioned not the will of the gods. When
Ulysses arrived at Mount Olympus, he was to be made a slave of the evil
Heracles, with all the strength of his legendary
father, caught Ulysses fairly easy...twice. But upon Ulysses
second capture, both men are trapped by a ruthless tribe of Bird
Men. It is there they are met by the beautiful, buxom Regina,
Queen of the Bird Men. Both men escape the misguided bird
worshippers, but Ulysses escapes Heracles (again) shortly
thereafter. For most of the movie, Heracles and Ulysses are
apart, and Heracles plots to catch Ulysses again. Eventually,
Heracles catches Ulysses and, regrettably, begins taking him to Mount
Olympus. However, on the way, Ulysses saves the life of Heracles'
love Helen from a spiteful, would-be husband. It is then Heracles
pleads to king god Jupiter for Ulysses release. Heracles' wish is
granted, and Ulysses leaves for home on pleasant terms with the mighty
There is so much that happens throughout the movie
that you really have to see it to get the full idea.
Surprisingly, Ulysses is a much more interesting character than
Heracles. Why? Ulysses does not have super-strength, but he
does more heroic things, and has a much greater sense of right and
wrong than Heracles. Heracles is almost like an antagonist in
this film. He's super strong, but his singular goal is to catch
Ulysses. He cares little about anything else except wedding Helen
(but that's another conflict in the story).
Ulysses is a bit older than Heracles. He is
the son of King Laertes, and called "Conquerer of Troy". He is an
expert archer and an incredible intellect. His heroic exploits
are legend. He has a mate named Penelope who we do not see in
this movie, but hear about on a few occasions. What he lacks in
super-strength he makes up for in mental capacity and bravery.
Georges Marchal played a really interesting character with
Ulysses. It would have been nice to see his Ulysses in a series
of adventure films. For instance, what happens when he gets back
home to Penelope? Where does he go from there?
Heracles (who is SUPPOSED to be Hercules) is a
physically-imposing, mighty man-giant. Unlike most Hercules
actors of the day, Mike Lane is clean-shaven. But like ALL good
Hercules portrayals, Lane's Hercules is big, muscular, tough, and not
overly bright, but not incredibly stupid. He's a good
Hercules. Excuse me..."Heracles". Actually, Heracles is the
name for this character in Greek mythology. Roman mythology gave
us the name Hercules, by which he is better known. And, in
Italian language, he is called Ercole (which is this character's name
in the Italian version of this film). Mike Lane did Hercules
well, and his Hercules should have been in more films.
The dialogue to this film is bad. Real
bad. Who wrote it? Was something more eloquent lost in
the English translation? In any case, speaking was not their
strong suits, but their physical acting, and the whole premise of the
story, is quite entertaining. I recommend it for fun, casual
viewing. Kids would also like it. And let's not forget the
Mike Lane as Heracles, son of Hercules [called
Ercole in the Italian
Georges Marchal as Ulysses [called Ulisse in the Italian version]
Alessandra Panaro as Helen, Heracles' girlfriend [called Elena in the
Dominique Boschero as Regina, Queen of the Bird Men
"Dominique Boschero" Main Page
- Ulisse contro Ercole [Italy; actual title]
- Ulysses Against Hercules [UK]
- Heracles is actually the Greek name for Hercules
in mythology; they're one and the same!
CHECK THE PBDEN CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE FOR THIS AND OTHER