Hercules and the captive women AKA: Hercules conquers Atlantis

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1961 although I’ve seen 1963 listed as well.

Who’ s in this?

Reg Park as Hercules (Ercole). British born bodybuilder who eventually got into briefly doing acting which lead to five sword and sandal films, this is his first film. He was a three time Mr. Olympia and competed in bodybuilding competitions up until his mid 40’s. He was a friend and influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger. For a time Arnold lived and trained with Reg and his family in South Africa in the late 1960’s. Had the nickname Reg the Leg for his huge legs and was known really working his leg muscles as Arnold confirmed that as well. Park also insisted he trained clean and never used steroids. Passed away in 2007 at 79.

Fay Spain as Queen Antinea of Atlantis. American born actress who was in a number of tv shows between the mid 50’s and 70’s. She died of the all tooo young age of 49 in 1983.

Ettore Manni as Androclo. Italian born actor who was in a number of sword and sandal films and spaghettis westerns. In 1979 he died at 52 from what was ruled then as an accidental gun shot to the groin (he was a gun collector). Over the years some have wondered if it was suicide because he was known to have had depression problems his last few years due to the death of his girlfriend.

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Allow me to try out my new muscle dentistry on you.

What’s this about? Herc is just hanging out at home with his wife saying he doesn’t want to go on adventures anymore, want a bore. One of his “friends” Androcles drugs him and takes on a ship for a dangerous mission. So dangerous that besides him and Herc there’s a little guy, a skinny dork and a couple of other goofs that are not even worth showing their faces to the camera too. At one point the main hero saves the boat from being stolen. The would be toga clad thieves try to row away yet old Herc gets the anchor chain and pulls the boat back by the chain-wowee! Then Herc takes a nap and lets his “friends” do the rest of the work. Maybe Hercules should have been named Lazyasstis instead for that move. A storm hits or buckets of water are thrown on the actors and Herc finds his friend Androcles has vanished. Soon big Herc goes ashore and sees a woman trapped in stone. Poof a wig and phony beard clad magic doing type named Proteus shows up and turns himself into various lame animals as Herc battles him in hopes of freeing the girl. Eventually we have all had enough of this sorry excuse for muscle dude vs. beast wrestling junk and Herc twists a horn out of this rubber froggy guy and plop he flops over and the girl is free from the rock. Then she leads Herc to Atlantis which is nearby (isn’t it always in these films?). Of course her mom is  a nasty untrusting sort as Herc says he’s only looking for his vanished friend. Antinea tells her phony wigged helpers that her daughter must be sacrificed to save the city or they will die now that Proteus is gone because his magic helped protect them. Way to screw everything up, Herc the jerk. Anyways Herc thinks he spotted Androcles in these caves but his friend vanished before Herc could get to him. He does find his friend only his memory is gone and he’s a creep now. Oh and there’s stuff about kids and people being held prisoner or something. Eventually there’s some running and smashing of thin sets as Herc decides the movie has gone on long enough and lets the prisoners out and they take over the meanie guards. The queen tries to sway Hercules as now she has super soldiers and they all wear white poofy wigs, but Herc eludes them and their spooky eyes (read as he slips away and deprives the films of some possible action). Then there’s a horse riding chase and ol’ Herc sets up a fire as apparently one out of every two white haired loony warrior panics when he rides into fire. He eventually makes it to the surface, swims to his ship and the good people survive and watch Atlantis explode and get destroyed. Roll the credits.

The negatives-It’s like they had their cast, their sets, their costumes, their locations and film in the camera yet they no idea how to make this film interesting. It goes along like the director was just making it all up on the spur of the moment and maybe he was. The results are a slow moving, confused effort that had me checking the time as it felt three times longer than it really was . Some of the wigs and beards in this film are hilarious, maybe that’s actually a positive. For an action film the title character gets very little action time.

The positives-The locations (what they show) are very nice. The sets are acceptable too and some of the caverns set are actually good for the time. Unlike some other 60’s Herc films the makers had some sense of camera angles. Reg Park looks like Hercules, it’s just a shame he doesn’t get enough to do.

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Ah, smell the stench of this rotten film.