Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis

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Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis
Hercatcwpos.jpg
Original US film poster
Directed by Vittorio Cottafavi
Produced by Achille Piazzi
Written by Pierre Benoît
Vittorio Cottafavi
Sandro Continenza
Duccio Tessari
Archibald Zounds Jr. (Nicolò Ferrari)
Starring Reg Park
Fay Spain
Ettore Manni
Luciano Marin
Laura Efrikian
Narrated by Leon Selznick (U.S. Version)
Music by Gino Marinuzzi Jr.
Armando Trovajoli
Cinematography Carlo Carlini
Edited by Maurizio Lucidi
Distributed by Woolner Brothers Pictures Inc.
Release dates
  • 19 August 1961 (1961-08-19)
Running time 101 minutes
Country Italy / France
Language Italian

Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (English Translation: Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis) is a 1961 Italian / French international co-production film directed by Vittorio Cottafavi and starring Reg Park in his film debut as Ercole/Hercules. It was originally released in Super Technirama 70.

The film is also known as Hercules Conquers Atlantis in the United Kingdom, and Hercules and the Captive Women in the USA where the film was not only retitled but edited, rescored and given a title design by Filmation.[1] As Hercules and the Captive Women, it was featured on a fourth season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Plot[edit]

When strange atmospheric events occur in the disunited city states of Ancient Greece, a forum debates what action to take. As there is no agreement, Androcles King of Thebes seeks the assistance of his friend, the legendary Hercules. Hercules, now married to Deianira with a son named Hylas does not wish to leave the comfort of his family, though Hylas is keen for adventure.

Androcles takes matters in his own hands by drugging and kidnapping Hercules and placing him aboard a ship manned by a disreputable collection of former slaves and criminals. The only members of the expedition Androcles can trust are his sidekick, Timoteo the dwarf and Hylas who has to hide below deck from Hercules lest he face his wrath for leaving home. Rather than being angry Hercules merely lazes away on deck without offering any assistance.

When the supply of fresh water is sabotaged, the ship lands on an island to replenish their supply. The crew mutinies by attacking Androcles but Hercules turns the tide. The crew is left stranded on the island, however Hercules discovers Hylas on board.

Continuing their voyage, a storm wrecks the ship with all of them separated. Hercules sees a vision of Androcles begging for his help. Coming ashore on a mist shrouded island he sees a woman held captive not only chained to a cliff, but gradually becoming a part of the rock formation. When he rescues her he has to fight Proteus a god able to change form into various creatures. Defeating Proteus, Hercules discovers the woman he rescued is Princess Ismene, daughter of Antinea, the Queen of Atlantis that is where Hercules has landed. Hercules soon discovers his son Hylas and Timoteo and bring the rescued Princess to Antinea.

Though welcomed at first, Ismene discovers that she has been selected for sacrifice as a prophesy foretells that if she is not killed Atlantis and its population will be destroyed. The death of Proteus has already stripped Atlantis of its protective fog that keeps it unseen by the outside world. Ismene is recaptured and taken for execution. Antinea denies all knowledge of Androcles, however Androcles memory has been taken away and he is hidden from his friends. During a celebration Hercules discovers that children are selected and taken away from their parents for an unknown reason.

Things fall into place when Hercules and his companions not only rescue Ismene but a large group of prisoners in a pit. The rescued prisoners explain that children are taken to a special stone that either transforms them either into blonde supermen or disfigures the weak ones who are placed in the pit. A priest explains that the stone is from the blood of Uranus. The power of Uranus’s stone has created Antinea an invicible army of black uniformed blonde supermen that she plans to conquer the world with.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

An imaginative entry in the sword and sandal genre, Cottafavi called it "Neo-Mythology".[2] The film was made at the same time of George Pal's Atlantis, the Lost Continent with the American release of the film dropping all reference to Atlantis in the film's title.

Christopher Frayling noted the film's slapstick violence at the beginning as a link to the spaghetti western;[3] Frank Burke in an essay in the book Popular Italian Cinema noted the film's depiction of Nazi Germany and the atomic age[4] and Park's depiction of the Italian quality of "sprezzatura" in his portrayal of Hercules.

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. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hughes, p.7f
  2. ^ p.14 M. Winkler, Martin Troy: from Homer's Iliad to Hollywood Epic Wiley-Blackwell, 2007
  3. ^ p. 93 Frayling, Christopher Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone I.B.Tauris, 2006
  4. ^ pp.39-42 Burke, Frank "The Italian Sword and Sandal Film from Fabiola to Hercules and the Captive Women" in Popular Italian Cinema: Culture and Politics in a Postwar Society, Brizio-Skov, Flavia, Editor, I.B.Tauris, 22/11/2011

External links[edit]