Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Warriors 50 Movie Pack Collection|
Actors: Gordon Scott, Steve Reeves
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
WARRIORS 50 MOVIE MEGAPACK
Similarly Requested DVDs
Time for another look at this forgotten genre
C. M. Briggs | Lincoln, MO | 12/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You've already got the big picture: 50 movies indiscriminately plucked from the public domain in variable quality for a low, low price. If you're looking for good special effects, consistent story telling or even a stab at digital remastering, this isn't the place.
This package is unique, however, because it gives us a pretty good overview of a mostly forgotten genre of film-making. Maybe the very best sword and sandal movies are missing: the original Steve Reeves "Hercules," "Hercules in the Underworld," and "The Colossus of Rhodes" but with 50 titles, you get A LOT.
Let's take care of a couple of pre-conceptions first: Maybe I'm an incurable innocent, but I could never understand why the Italian muscle man film became a gay icon for so many years. As for myself and most of my friends, we were too busy ogling Sylvia Koscina to care much about Steve Reeve's biceps -- other than, you know, thinking that maybe we ought to go to the gym and work out a little.
Perhaps Jacques Tournier's "Giant of Marathon" had something to do with the stigma. In this one, a smiling, clean-shaven Steve Reeves is lovingly photographed surrounded by full frontal nudity, male statues. Mix in some sweaty close ups of guy on guy wrestling and more white diapers than you're likely to see in a hospital maternity ward and you start seeing how people could perceive the genre as gay. But that's just ONE movie!
No, mostly these are just basic, good-natured if formulaic adventure movies injected with a strong dose of fantasy. If you don't mind the variable quality of the prints and the even more variable quality of the dubbing (sometimes one actor sounds like he's been dubbed by several different people,) these are pleasant -- if perfectly brainless -- popcorn munchers. They reflect a much simpler time, not necessarily ancient Greece, but the early 1960s when we thought the problems of the world and their solution were obvious. Just call in the strongest guy you know and have him beat up the bad guys. Of course, as we got mired in Viet Nam, society and its entertainmnent grew more sophisticated. The heros became more complex, or even anti-heros, and society's problems were portrayed as something more ambiguous.
Hmm. "Maciste Against The Taliban" or "Hercules vrs The Drug Cartels" -- there's a couple of movies I'd like to see.
The second preconception was that all of these body builders were basically talentless, male bimbos. It turns out that some of these guys are actually quite good on camera. Steve Reeves physicalizes beautifully. (I'm not talking about him posing with his shirt off. I mean his emotional reaction and involvement in the scene.) Dubbed or not, he's always in character and aware of what's going on around him. (Compare him to say, Kirk Morris, who can be pretty clueless and you see the difference.) Gordon Scott, Reg Park, Alan Steele, and Don Vadis all turn in good work. Even Mark Forrest - who for most of this package is stuck in a sludge of Maciste movies where he's only required to flex his muscles, smile and then disappear into the background -- gets to show his versatility. The dour, short-tempered hero he creates for "Goliath and the Dragon" is completely different from the smiling, gregarious Maciste.
My advice: Turn off your inner, negative critic and meet these movies on their own terms. They can be fun. (And don't forget the popcorn.)
Of the "classic" muscle man epics contained, I think the following are best:
Gladiators of Rome (Gordon Scott); Hercules and the Captive Women (Reg Park): Hercules Unchained (Steve Reeves, the second movie of the series) and my favorite of the package, an honest to goodness, unexpected gem: "Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules"
"Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules," was marketed under the "Mighty Sons of Hercules" banner and so officially is not a Hercules movie. You have to remember that these movies were made in Italy and then re-tooled for the American market. I guess because they pronounced the name "Her-a-cles" (some reviewers are saying "Pericles" but trusty IMDB lists the character as "Ercole," which is Italian for Hercules,) the American distributor was thoroughly confused. Anyway, here "Heracles" becomes the "SON of Hercules " -- which means that ANYTHING is possible if you're a god.
Even though it's saddled with some pseudo-Shakespearian prose, the dubbing isn't bad. The actors seem to be really TRYING to match some committed screen performances. Michael Lane plays Hercules as the enforcer of the Gods sent to Earth to punish Ulysses for blinding the Cyclops. Even though he doesn't have Steve Reeve's well-defined physic, Mike Lane is a BIG man and proves wonderful in the part. Not only does he manage to be sincere and even touching in some pretty badly written love scenes, but overall his characterization reminds you of a weary, New York City beat cop who has grown sick of his job. (It works -- beautifully.) Wirey French star George Marchal convincingly portrays Ulysses as an aging and gristled war vet with saltwater in his veins and quicksilver behind his eyes. From the surprising opening in which Ulysses is captured by pirates, the movie quickly turns into a rather good, buddy, road pic with Hercules trying to get his charge back to Olympus so he can stand trial. (It's been mentioned that the plot is like Robert DeNiro's "Midnight Run." Well, "Midnight Run" is like several movies which came before it -- at least a dozen westerns I can think of. Anybody remember John Wayne in "Stagecoach?!" I was surprised to see the plot turn up in one of these crazy, sword and sandal epics though.)
There are some cool things along the way. Scenes of Ulysses matching wits with a deranged "King Lago" are VERY well acted, in fact, flat out terrific. The scene in which Ulysses and Hercules flatter their way out of captivity with the Queen of the Bird People also comes off well. (It's genuinely funny. Check out Mike Lane's reaction when Ulysses starts his spiel.) So, in spite of some cheesy special effects and wacky plot turns, "Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules" turns out to be a pretty darn good movie with an unexpected but entirely logical denouement.
It just goes to show ya. It's not the genre you're working in that's important; it's what you DO with it.
Many of the other Hercules/Son of Hercules and Maciste flicks, although not outstanding in anyway, prove eminently entertaining. "Colossus Against The Amazon Women" features Rod Taylor supplying comic relief for Ed Fury and LOTS of beautiful women. "Giants of Rome" is a decent, sword and sandal version of "The Guns of Navarone," and there are a couple of very likeable Ali Baba/Arabian Nights flicks thrown in as well.
Not all of these are action movies. Some are historical epics. I think a real stand out is Terrence Young's "Duel of the Champions" starring an ailing Alan Ladd. (And even though he's past his prime, Alan Ladd has enough charisma and acting chops to raise the level of the movie. He's quite good.) Cameron Mitchell, a sadly under-rated actor is splendid in "Last of the Vikings" and as a blonde haired Julius Caesar in "Caesar the Conqueror." Gordon Mitchell, with his battered, craggy features got to play both heroes and villains. I particularly liked him in "Fury of Achilles," which is a goofy, Old Hollywood-esque whitewashing of the Trojan War legend. "The White Warrior " is one of Steve Reeves better pictures. (Sorry gals, but he keeps his shirt on for most of it.) "Cleopatra's Daughter (Debora Paget)" has a silly plot - but it's one of the few, watchable movies I've seen set in Egyptian times. "Damon and Pythius," I liked because - well, Guy Williams is in it. (The little kid in me will ALWAYS be a Guy Williams fan.)
So, to concur with the other reviewers: You're getting 50 movies for chump change. There is much to delight, much to annoy, and much that is simply mediocre, but it's a pleasant way to kill time - LOTS of time.
Magnus Rage | Toronto, Ontario CANADA | 06/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warriors 50 Movie Pack Collection
This is an AWESOME Collection of some of the best Sword & Sandals Flicks ever made! It includes some really hard to find movies in it, most of good/average quality, but all watchable, and very enjoyable!
1.If your looking for HD Quality, Newsflash, this isn't it! These movies were made back in the day of reel to reel film. So you will almost NEVER be able to find most of these flims in better condition than this.
2.For those reviewing and crying about Quality. This was a very small and citchy genre. Like Spagetti Westerns, and B-Movie Horror flicks. Most of the original footage for these was tossed out in the trash. So to find a collection of this many flicks of this genre, in any kind of watchable condition is pretty amazing.
3. Like B-movie Horrors, these are fun and cheesy. They are over-acted, badly dubbed, special effects(if any) are laughable, and the stories are see through. We know this, they knew it when they made the movies. If you truly have a problem with this then you probably aren't a real fan of the genre. Don't buy this and complain, go watch your Harry Potter movies instead.
But if you are a fan of this genre, Buy this collection. Make a bucket of Popcorn, Sit back and enjoy, you'll be glad you did!"