Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)

Known in the US as Hercules and the Captive Women, this film was released in the UK as Hercules Conquers Atlantis. This latter title is more accurate both to the original Italian name for the film, and to the plot. There's only one captive woman (though she does get captured three times) and she's pretty ancillary to Herc's plot (the 2nd and 3rd times she is captured, it isn't even Herc who rescues her, but his son, Hylas). Apparently it was renamed in the US to avoid confusion with another Atlantis-based film. One that wikipedia assures me was much worse than this.

I submit that the film should have been retitled Hercules and the Atomic Nazis because

  1. who doesn't want to see that movie? and
  2. it's actually an accurate title.
You see, the plot of the film has the Greek gods send omens of a terrible threat to Greece. Herc is a reluctant member of the team sent to investigate the threat, and he discovers it lies in Atlantis, where the evil queen (because there is always an evil queen who must lust after him) exposes her soldiers to a glowing rock. This exposure either transforms them into black-clad, blond, blue-eyed supermen, or leaves them with lesions, blistering, and other signs of radiation poisoning. Naturally Herc overcomes these adversaries, with the help of his son and their dwarf companion (who for much of the film seems to be the only one with a brain).

This is the last of the four consecutive Hercules films in my SciFi Classics Boxed Set. It would probably be my favorite just from relief of being through the quartet, but it definitely cemented this position on its own merits. I mean, seriously, it has atomic nazis.

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