Hercules, Samson and Ulysses (1963)
Director: Pietro Francisci
Cast: Kirk Morris, Iloosh Khoshabe, Liana Orfei
Synopsis: Three strongmen hunt down a murderous sea monster.
Hercules, Samson and Ulysses is a reassuringly camp sword-and-sandals epic, clearly filmed on a shoestring budget and utilising the services of a mix of both domestic and no-name US actors. This means that some actors are (badly) dubbed, while others speak English — which is always a little disconcerting when viewing. Despite being dubbed, some of the actors shameless over-acting is obvious to all — perhaps due to the Italian’s propensity for gesticulation while talking.
The limited budget is most obvious in the action sequences. Hercules’ (Kirk Morris) fight with a lion is simply a short series of brief shots of him dodging the beast before he is seen with his arm around the clearly unconscious animal’s neck. Likewise, a superabundance of polystyrene ‘concrete’ blocks routinely bounce harmlessly off the actors like — well — polystyrene.
Having said that, such shortcomings contribute to the light tone of the film, and add to the viewer’s enjoyment. If, like me, you used to watch these movies as a kid — who, after all, are the target audience — this movie will effortlessly whisk you back to those great Saturday morning screenings.
(Reviewed 20th April 2002)