Platform: DVD MOVIE Publisher: ALPHA VIDEO Packaging: DVD STYLE BOX A Persian horde is poised on the plains of Marathon set to massacre the population of Athens. Led by the bloodthirsty dictator Darius the invading army... more » outnumbers the defenders six to one. Despite these insurmountable odds Athenian champion Philippides refuses to abandon hope. Embarking on an arduous journey to Sparta the hero tries to enlist the help of the neighboring army before taking to the battlefield to defend his people. Betrayal cunning and bloodshed mark the final epic clash as the armies rage across the battlefield to the seas and underwater. The Giant of Marathon (released in Europe as La Battaglia De Maratona) stars Steve Reeves a pillar of the sword and sandal genre as the hero Philippides. Director Jacques Tourneur's long-spanning career included such genre classics as Cat People I Walked With a Zombie and Curse of the Demon. Italian horror legend Mario Bava is responsible for the stunning cinematography which propels the gruesome battle scenes. Starring: Steve ReevesCinematography by: Mario BavaDirected by: Jacques TourneurScreenplay by: Bruno Vailati Ennio De Concini & Agusto Frassinetti DVD Details: Run Time: 85 minutesNumber of Discs: 1Originally Released in 1959ColorNo region encoding; For global distribution.« less
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 02/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"UPDATE AGAIN: RetroMedias release looks fantastic! It's called The Steeve Reeves Collection, and it is a double-feature release with Giant of Marathon and War of the Trojans. Check out my review on the newer release. UPDATE: Retromedia is planning a new dvd release of this movie (release date TBA), using the original 35 mm widescreen print! It will be anamorphic, and should by all accounts be a very nice release. Check out Retromedia's website for more details!
This is an exceptional sword and sandle Italian production, with Jacques Tourneur (Night of the Demon) directing, and Mario Bava as second unit director (as well as mop-up director). This is my first outing with a Steve Reeves movie, and I see why he became such a hit during his reign in Italian fantasy films. He had a masculine charisma that lent itself perfectly to the role of bigger-than-life hero.
Reeves plays Philippedes, a Greek warrior and hero that must stand against traitors to Greece, political intrigue, self-serving politicians, and eventually an invading Persian Army. The film must have been spectacular on the big screen, when the film was still young and bold with color. Even on this somewhat faded, and damaged reproduction, the film is exciting to watch. And here is where I commend Alpha Video.
This small company is well known for producing public domain films that are, by and large, better quality than your likely to get from say, Madacy Entertainment or Front Row Entertainment. The price of their DVDs is so low, that you never feel jilted by taking a chance on some old horror or sci-fi film you may never have seen before. Generally speaking, the Alpha Video DVDs that I've purchased have all been full-frame. But this little gem is presented in Letterbox, and for that I am extremely thankful to these people.
The quality of the print, as I mentioned earlier, is not of the caliber you'd ever accept from a high-priced DVD release. The colors have faded, and the clarity of this print has become soft with age. It would take major work to clean this up, which I hope we'll see someday. There are some definate video dropouts and jumps in the soundtrack. And the aspect ratio, though letterbox, is not quite correct. The film is definately wider than what is presented on this DVD, as can be seen during the beginning credits, when the first and last letters of the director's name are cut off on both ends. However, this all aside, it is for the low price, a rare jem for a Steve Reeves sword and sandle picture. I don't have either of the Hercules DVDs starring Mr. Reeves, but I've read enough reviews to realize they have suffored far worse transfers to DVD than this picture.
So if you like sun-drenched landscapes, with absolutely gorgeous women, full of action and adventure, an heroic leading man who himself was heroic in proportion, then you can do a lot worse than this DVD.
One more word on the subject: If ever a DVD studio would take the time to find the best print of this film (including a five to seven minutes of missing film) and clean it up, remaster it, and release it in its original bold colors and widescreen aspect ration, I and many others like myself who have a soft spot for Italian sword and sandle epics, would stand in line with my hard-earned cash to buy it. It would be well worth the price."
Entertaining Italian epic with great battle scenes.
Dennis Hawley | Asheville, NC | 01/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a kid growing up in the late 50's/early 60s, I enjoyed Italian sword-and-sandle epics almost as much as sci-fi and horror flicks. Steve Reeves' 'Hercules' and 'Hercules Unchained' were his most popular films, but some of his subsequent work were superior productions. 'The Giant of Marathon', along with 'The Last Days of Pompeii' were such films. In 'Marathon', Reeves (sans his Hercules beard) plays Philippides, an Athenian who became a champion of his adopted city/state of Sparta, and who single-handedly manages to forge an alliance between the two enemy states to thwart an invasion by the dastardly Persians. Palace intrigue, deception and duplicity abound in this colorful production. And, like many of these types of films, a gorgeous (and quite voluptuous) female lead offers additional visual appeal. While initially a bit slow moving, things get cranking about midway through, with some of the most realistic (and gory) battle scenes ever put to film. The scenes where Philippides and his men attack the Persian's boats from underwater (and the Persian's counterattacks) are especially realistic. Italian horror meister Mario Bava handled the cinematography on this film, and the results were outstanding. A great Saturday afternoon romp. Alpha Video is to be commended for releasing older, more obscure titles at affordable prices, although often (such as this release), their source material leaves something to be desired. Still, for the price, this is well worth having if you're a fan of the old Italian epics."
Mr. P. T. Bale | London England | 08/04/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have long waited to start a collection of Steve Reeves movies on dvd. So important to me as a kid, I'd rush to see every new one that came out. Some were actually rather good! This DVD has I imagine been issued simply to make some money. Advertised as WideScreen it is NOT the cinematic ratio of 2.35:1 (Cinemascope/Panavision) so the sides are chopped off. It is also a really dirty and badly graded OLD print. All in all it is something I ended up skimming through before putting on the shelf to be replaced one day by hopefully a properly graded really wide screen version with some good extras. This is a very cheap dvd thank goodness, else I would be really upset!"
Nice Movie but AWFUL TRANSFER!
A. Urribarri | Panama | 03/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The transfer for the DVD is HORRRRIBLE!! DAMN!,for such a nice sword & sandal epic movie with the talented Mario Bava it does'n make any justice, thumbs down for Alpha Vids. This dvd should be out of print 'till it gets with better quality transfer."
Buyer Beware-Terrible Quality
M. G Hall | Burlington, Ontario Canada | 06/02/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
""The Giant Of Marathon" is an excellent film in the spear and sandle genre, but if you can't release an excellent copy, wait until you can. This Alpha Video presentation looks like it was taken from a third generation video tape. This is no way to watch any film, especially a decent one. If this is an example of Alpha Video's quality they should be run out of town. I will not buy another DVD with their name on it. Those of you who accept this kind of quality only encourage it.
P.S. The One Star is for a decent front and back cover."