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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ercole E La Regina Di Lidia (aka Hercules Unchained) (1959)

Hercules (Steve Reeves) is asked to intervene between two warring brothers who are each supposed to rule Thebes in turn every other year. When one (Sergio Fantoni) refuses to accede to his brother (Mimmo Palmara) when the year is up, a civil war threatens. But Hercules' mission is impeded when he is seduced by an enchantress (Sylvia Lopez) after losing his memory. This is the sequel to the 1958 HERCULES which unexpectedly became a huge hit and opened the floodgates to dubbed sword and sandal peplum (mostly from Italy) for release in the U.S. and made a star of bodybuilder Reeves, a former Mr. America. For fans of peplum, it doesn't get any better than this. Directed by Pietro Francisci with future director Mario Bava as cinematographer, the film is cobbled together from Greek myths as well as taking some bits from plays by Sophocles and Aeschylus. The film benefits from its two leading ladies: Sylva Koscina returning as Reeves' love interest and now wife and the extremely sexy Lopez who unfortunately died the year the movie came out at the age of 26 from leukemia. With Primo Carnera and Gabriele Antonini.

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