My Son, the Hero

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Arrivano i titani
My son hero poster.jpg
Directed by Duccio Tessari
Produced by Alexandre Mnouchkine
Screenplay by Ennio De Concini
Duccio Tessari
Starring Giuliano Gemma
Jacqueline Sassard
Pedro Armendáriz
Antonella Lualdi
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Edited by Renzo Lucidi
Release dates
1962
Running time
115 minutes
Country Italy, France
Language Italian

My Son, the Hero (Italian title: Arrivano i titani) is a 1962 Italian mythological sword-and-sandal comedy film directed by Duccio Tessari and starring Giuliano Gemma, Jacqueline Sassard, Pedro Armendáriz, Antonella Lualdi and Serge Nubret.

Synopsis[edit]

The king of Crete, Cadmos, has just murdered his wife in order to remain with his scheming lover Ermione. For this deed, a prophetess curses him in the name of the gods, foretelling him that the man his infant daughter Antiope would one day fall in love with will eventually be his doom. Furious at the gods' judgement and unable to kill Antiope on the spot (lest the curse would fulfill itself immediately), megalomanic Cadmos renounces the gods and proclaims himself one. To this end, he and Ermione undergo a treatment with mystical vapors which render their bodies invulnerable (save for one critical spot on Ermione's chest uncautiously left covered).

Once Antiope has reached the proper age, Cadmos plans to have her ordinated as a priestess in his service, to have her shut away from the world of men in a life of enforced chastity. Enraged by this intention, Zeus finally decides to send an agent to do his bidding. He turns to the Titans, still incarcerated in the pits of Tartarus, and offers them release if their youngest and weakest, but smartest of their number, Crios, agrees to cast Cadmos into the underworld.

Crios is happy to accept the assignment and is taken to the capitol of Crete, where he meets and befriends Aquiles, Cadmos' mute personal servant. Soon afterwards, he witnesses a slave named Rator being condemned for execution in a gladiatorial fight for the king's amusement. Instantly recognizing his opportunity, Crios begins to criticize the king loudly, starting a merry chase through the city streets before he allows himself to be captured. In the palace dungeon, which is located right beneath Cadmos' throne, he comes face-to-face with Antiope as she is being ordinated as a priestess, and instantly becomes smitten with her. When he and his fellow prisoners, including Rator, are made to fight to the death before Cadmos and Ermione, Crios bribes a guard into procuring some oil to rub onto his skin, making him ungrappable for Rator, who has defeated all the others before taking on Crios. As a result, Crios wins and becomes Cadmos' servant, but his uncautios demonstration of his wits and clandestine visits to Antiope eventually alert Ermione to his true intentions.

Finally, one day Cadmos decides to initiate a literal manhunt, with Rator as the prey. Crios, who accompanies him, manages to separate Cadmos from the rest of the hunting party and take him to the cliffs at the edge of the sea, where they catch up with Rator. However, as Crios prepares to take Cadmos with him, Ermione and the rest of the hunters interfere, and unable to kill Cadmos, Crios and Rator team up and jump off the cliffs into the sea. While hiding in a nearby ruined temple of Pluto, Crios uses the temple's secret connection to make a trip back to Tartarus and steal the helmet of Pluto, an artifact which renders its wearer completely invisible at night. But as he uses the helmet's power to try and rescue Antiope, he finds her spirited away by Cadmos and Ermione. Taking Aquiles with him, Crios learns that Antiope has been imprisoned on the Isle of the Gorgon. He proceeds there with the help of his friends, kills the gorgon in a surprise attack and reunites with Antiope, but upon the gorgon's demise a violent thunderstorm breaks out, alerting Cadmos. Immediately after the storm has settled, the tyrant sends out his troops to the isle to investigate.

Using the helmet, Crios tries to spook the arriving soldiers, but a panicked trooper inadvertently hits him with a spear, wounding him. In order to save his life, Antiope willingly surrenders to the soldiers, and Rator is caught as well. When things look at their bleakest for Crios, however, Zeus decides to release the rest of the Titans to Earth in order to have the task completed. With the most welcome assistance of his brothers, and some of Zeus' thunderbolts purchased from his cyclopedian weaponsmiths, Crios infiltrates the city, attacks its garrison of soldiers, and eventually stirs its oppressed people into rebellion against their tyrant ruler. With the liberated Rator in tow, they begin to penetrate the palace's inner sanctum. When Ermione mocks Cadmos for his failure as a "god", Cadmos kills her and sets out to take revenge on Crios.

In the lower caves of the palace, Crios and his brothers confront Cadmos' priests, who are rendered unkillable by the mystic vapors filling their temple. Crios uses one of the thunderbolts to breach an underwater reservoir, sweeping the vapors away and stripping the priests of their advantage, but the waters also begin to flood Antiope's cell, threatening to drown her. As Crios races to her rescue, Cadmos intercepts him. Knowing he couldn't harm his enemy directly, Crios instead casts the last of his thunderbolts at Cadmos' feet, sending him bodily to Hades. After Antiope is freed, the redeemed Titans make Crete their new home.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Guliano Gemma's love scenes with Jacqueline Sassard have been considered among the most convincing of this genre and the film as a whole has been called "a master piece of Italian cinema".[1]

Biography[edit]

  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hughes, p.18

External links[edit]