Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon

Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964) was originally entitled Ercole contro i tiranni di Babilonia in Italian.  It was directed by Domenico Paolella who also directed Hercules Against the Mongols.  It starred Rock Stevens (better-known as Peter Lupus from Mission: Impossible) as Hercules.  This is another of the Italian epics that was shot in 2.35 but only preserved in the cropped 4:3 version for American television.
Hercules has been traveling for three years and when he returns to Greece he finds that many of his people, including Queen Asparia, have been taken captive by the Babylonians as slaves.  Hercules travels to Babylon, which is ruled by three sibling sovereigns, in hopes of freeing his queen.
Meanwhile, the king of Assyria has learned about Queen Asparia's capture and, in hopes of capturing her himself, makes overtures of peace towards the Babylonians. However, he is drugged and reveals his secret plan.  The siblings then make their own efforts to locate Asparia. They attack the Assyrians who are rescued by Hercules.
What follows is a lot of complicated plotting and treachery between the three rulers of Babylon who are anything but united.  There are shifting allegiances, political intrigue and fratricide!  Finally, Hercules manages to locate Queen Asparia and free the Greek slaves.  Then, using a giant wheeled contraption beneath the city, he collapses most of Babylon in on itself.  He and Asparia lead the freed slaves back to Greece.
This is a pretty good film.  Rock Stevens makes a great Hercules.  He meets the physical requirements perfectly and he's also a decent actor.  Art Director, Pier Vittorio Marchi and his crew are to be commended.  I think they did a great job of recreating Babylon.  The sets are large and detailed.  The art is unmistakable as anything but Babylonian.
This film features an army of extras.  The dubbed voice cast is pretty solid and the film moves along at a good pace.  This is definitely one to check out!

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