Romolo e Remo

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Romolo e Remo
Romolo e Remo.jpg
Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Starring Steve Reeves
Gordon Scott
Virna Lisi
Music by Piero Piccioni
Cinematography Enzo Barboni
Dario Di Palma
Distributed by Titan Films
Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 1961
Running time 108 m. (Italy)
89 m. (USA)
Country Italy
France
Language Italian
Box office $1,450,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Romolo e Remo (AKA: Duel of the Titans and Romulus and Remus) is a 1961 film directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, and Virna Lisi.

Tagline: "The Legendary Conflict of Mankind's Mightiest Mortals!"

Summary[edit]

Twin brothers revolt against tyranny in pre-Roman Italy and then come to a parting of the ways as they lead their people toward the founding of a new city, known as Rome. This is based on the legend of Romulus and Remus. Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War.

The story[edit]

The story of Romulus and Remus, twins raised by a wolf; the brothers went on to establish what became known as Rome. Steve Reeves (Hercules) is teamed with Gordon Scott (Tarzan). Romulus learns from his dying mother that he and his twin were fathered by a god, Romulus and Remus takes it upon themselves to lead their people away from the oppression of the barbarians living around them, leading their people toward the founding of a new city.

Born of a God and a mortal, two babies are abandoned to a river. Nurtured by a wolf, they are later recovered by a shepherd. They grow up to lead a band of thieves in an effort to eliminate two cruel Kings—Amulias and Nemulias, the King of the Sabines. After 20 years, the two twins are briefly reunited with their mother. Before she dies, she tells her sons that they are destined to be the founders of a great city.

Later after having fallen in love with the daughter of Nemulias, Romulus is unaware of his brother’s ambitions as Remus steadily succumbs to the temptations of power and greed. King Tasius pursues the brothers and their followers both to retrieve his daughter as well as avenge the destruction of his city of Alba Longa. Soon, a rift develops between the two siblings leading to a death duel between both sons of the Gods to determine the true founder of Rome.

Reviews[edit]

Steve Reeves puts in possibly his best acting gig as the gentle and kind hearted Romulus. He chooses to think his way out of a fight and save those around him as opposed to his brother, who cares only for his own personal gain and glory. Reeves doesn't do any superhuman feats but flexes his acting muscle as does Gordon Scott as the supercilious Remus.

Corbucci carefully builds these two characters to the breaking point till avarice and sovereignty totally consumes Remus. Even at this point, Romulus doesn't want to fight his brother only when it is obvious that the two must duel does he take up arms against him. In death, Remus realizes his mistake but finds content in the notion that it was destined from the beginning.

Destiny and fate play an important role in this movie. After Remus defies the Gods by crossing the shorter route to the prophesied city of glory, he and his followers must traverse an unstable volcano. Inevitably, the volcano erupts splitting the mountain in two sending everyone to their doom save for a badly injured Remus and Tarpea, the woman who loves him. As she prays for the Gods to save him, the Sabines arrive with the intentions of killing both of them. Tarpea gives the information to Tasius as to the location of his daughter.

He gives his word to spare them should she speak where Romulus and the others are. When she does, the easily riled Cursias adamantly disapproves of letting them go free. King Tasius responds, "That man has his destiny...as have all of us." The Sabines are, surprisingly, not the real villains here, but Remus, who eventually becomes overpowered by his ambitions to rule a city; a city by which he is willing to sacrifice all for his own gain. At the end, the Sabines join forces with Romulus and it is here that Remus appears and attempts to kill his brother to rule what is to become Rome.

A fine directorial effort by spaghetti western master filmmaker Sergio Corbucci. A great number of Italian technicians worked on this picture including Sergio Leone. Both Sergio's careers parallel each other (in Italy anyway). Both Sergio's worked as AD's on The Last Days of Pompeii which led to Leone directing Il Colosso di Rodi and Corbucci handling Romolo e Remo. Corbucci also had a hand in Maciste Against the Vampires (1961; aka Goliath and the Vampires co-directed with Giacomo Gentilomo.

Frequent Spaghetti Western villain Piero Lulli plays a rare good guy role and gets more screen time than another heroic peplum role in The Triumph of Hercules (1964). Steve Reeves' stunt double, Giovanni Cianfriglia also plays a small role in the film attempting to have his way with the beautiful Julia until Romulus intervenes and lets his fist explain that the lady isn't interested.

In what is essentially a chase movie in a Roman setting, Corbucci keeps the action moving at a smooth pace perfectly balancing the plot, characterization and the action sequences never allowing the film time to become tiresome. It would be interesting to learn if there were any conflicts on set between both Reeves and Scott but they work well together and both play vastly more interesting personalities than their usual brawny types. The character of Remus being the more interesting and complex of the two, Reeves (of course) gets top billing as the kinder, more cautious Romulus. However, both get equal screen time. Gordon Scott was a better actor than Reeves and would appear to have been more agile in his action scenes.

With such an awesome pedigree both behind and in front of the camera, Corbucci's famous entry in the Sword and Sandal sweepstakes is one of the greatest the genre has to offer. I'd definitely rate this as one of Corbucci's best films and worthy of a wider audience. Fans familiar with his more well known Italian westerns should seek out this film to see what Sergio Corbucci was capable of outside of the habitual western setting he was most commonly associated with.

After his stint as Tarzan ended, Gordon Scott began expanding his range, doing sword and sandal films, spaghetti westerns (such as The Tramplers), and Eurospy thrillers (such as Danger!! Death Ray), made mostly in Italy and Spain. Scott became very popular in Europe and made a number of popular features there, such as Duel of the Titans (1961, with Steve Reeves), Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World (1962), Goliath and the Vampires (1963), and Danger!! Death Ray (1965), which Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanatics will recall as episode #620.

Conclusions[edit]

When Steve Reeves agreed to star in Duel of the Titans, the producer wanted him to play both Romulus and Remus. Reeves objected, saying that the film would be more effective with another actor in the role of Remus. He recommended Gordon Scott, whom Reeves had known for years. The producers agreed with Reeves, and Scott was given the highest salary he had earned thus far for taking the role. Reeves had already garnered fame as Hercules, and Scott was a veteran of some of the best post-Johnny Weismuller Tarzan films; it was a perfect pairing for this tale of the legendary rival siblings who lead their people out of bondage to a more enlightened future. Evidently Scott and Weintraub didn't get along, and Scott was subsequently replaced in the Tarzan role by the leaner, almost-ten-years-older Jock Mahoney. Scott's friend Steve Reeves arranged for Scott to star opposite him in the Sergio Leone-penned saga of Romulus and Remus, released here in the States as DUEL OF THE TITANS. Only the sentimental could seriously argue that Johnny Weissmuller was a superior Tarzan to Gordon Scott, who—in addition to being 6' 3", handsome, with a massive build—was also the superior actor to both Weissmuller and Reeve. The two strongmen played Remus (Scott) to Romulus (Reeves) in Duel of the Titans (1961) and so far is the only movie made about the two bothers of Roman Mythology, about the founding of Rome.

Cast[edit]

Steve Reeves (Romulus)
Gordon Scott (Remus)
Franco Volpi (Amulias)
Virna Lisi (Julia)
Andrea Bosic (Faustalus)
Laura Solari (Rea Silvia)
Massimo Girroti (Tasius Nemulias)
Jacques Sernas (Cursias)
Ornella Vanoni (Tarpea)
Piero Lulli (Sulpicius)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.

External links[edit]