Retromedia yes, Alpha no
Remus | 03/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of this cult masterpiece of the bizarre, buy the Retromedia DVD, not the Alpha DVD. While the Retromedia copy is far from the quality this movie deserves, it's widescreen and has marginally better color and a considerably crisper image. It also has a bonus interview with the star, Gordon Mitchell."
"Your mind is still as far as ever from reality."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Absurd plots, miniscule budgets, wooden acting, asinine plots, badly synced dialog, beefcake up the ying yang, and busty maidens...in case you're not familiar, these are all cinematic indicators you've stepped into what's commonly known as a `Sword and Sandals' picture, a European (mainly Italian) genre made popular in the late 1950s (with the 1958 release of Hercules, featuring muscle man Steve Reeves) that ran through the mid to late 1960s. Among the brawny bodybuilders to follow Reeves to the `Promised Land' were Reg Park (Hercules and the Captive Women), Gordon Scott (Goliath and the Vampires), and Charles Allen Pendleton, better known as Gordon Mitchell, who appears in this film, titled Il Gigante di Metropolis also known as The Giant of Metropolis, originally released in 1961 and ported to American shores sometime in 1963. Co-written and directed by Umberto Scarpelli (David and Goliath, Fury of the Pagans), with the English dub directed by Richard McNamara (Mill of the Stone Women, Goliath Against the Giants), the film features, as I've mentioned, Gordon Mitchell (Atlas Against the Cyclops, The Centurion), who flourished in the Italian cinema even after the genre had come and gone, appearing in a slew of spaghetti westerns and horror films, among others...also appearing is Bella Cortez (Vulcan, Son of Jupiter), Roldano Lupi (Women of Devil's Island), Liana Orfei (Hercules in the Valley of Woe), Furio Meniconi (Goliath and the Barbarians), and Marietto (Till the End of the World) as Elmos, spindly son of the evil King Yotar.
The film starts out with some scrolling text stating the year is 20,000 B.C., and we're somewhere on the continent of Atlantis...it appears a highly scientifically advanced city named Metropolis is swathed in its own hubris to the point where it begins meddling with forces man was never meant to dabble in (cheating death), and Obro (Mitchell), a man of `gigantie strength and courage', along with his father and brothers, have made a great trek to warn King Yotar (Lupi) of the disaster soon to be wrought for their arrogance (as we all know from those old Chiffon Margarine commercials, "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature"). After some rather odd events, Obro ends up alone, captured, and brought before King Yotar amidst his fabulous modern city. Obro issues his warning, to which he's pitted against a hairy giant (giant meaning the guy was about a foot taller than Mitchell), a slew of bitey pygmies (pygmies meaning they were all about a foot shorter than Mitchell), and subjected to any number of bizarre tortures, including (but not limited to) scalding, freeze, and brain scrambling rays. Seems King Yotar latest quest involves granting immortal life to his son, Elmos, along with instilling Yotar's father's mind into the boy (a lot of this didn't make sense), despite protests from the bountiful Queen Texen (Orfei) and Yotar's daughter from his first marriage, the babalicious Princess Mecede (Cortez)...homina homina...anyway, Obro manages to escape his prison, assisted by those in Metropolis who think Yotar has gone too far, and wage a battle against the king and his minions in an effort to save Metropolis from itself (seems cosmic forces have aligned in such a way as to induce an impending volcanic eruption, or some such nonsense).
Can you say convoluted? Seriously, as far as what I've related it's only the tip of the iceberg, as there seems to be plots from like three or four different films here. Subsequently, the film drags terribly during its 92 minute running time. I could have weathered this movie much better had the pacing been a bit more consistent, but it is what it is...funny thing is while Mitchell is supposed to be the star, you'd hardly know it from watching the first 40 minutes as we become so involved with King Yothar, his machinations, along with his extended family, including his wife, son, daughter, father, and so on...I have to say, both his wife and daughter were extremely easy on the eyes....hotchie mamas! As far as Mitchell goes, the guy's got a face akin to a well-worn piece of leather, but he did sport quite a sinewy, manly physique. There are a number of prerequisite action scenes, some shot well, some not (my favorite is when the hero is swarmed by a number of attackers, only to throw them off in one, massive heave), along with some really shoddy special effects. One aspect that I did find quite impressive was the interior sets for the city of Metropolis. Someone obviously put a lot of work into this, and it showed. And then there are the costumes, specifically those worn by the scientists and such within the city of Metropolis. These looked almost exactly like those worn by the mutated humans living underground in the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)...flowing, futuristic robes made from the finest crushed cotton upholstery found normally in upscale automobiles. I did like the musical score, but given the same bit of music was used 856 times, it did tend to wear on my ears. I soon found something to distract me from this aspect in that about three quarters the way into the film, the dubbing goes quite a bit out of sync. I don't know what happened here, but it was kinda funny. All in all this ain't a bad entry into the genre (I've seen better), just a bit overly long and a tad too convoluted from what I'd normally expect from my Sword and Sandal flicks (to be fair, they all pretty much feature outrageous plots, this one just seemed to have more than was necessary).
Prior to the film actually starting, Retromedia includes a disclaimer stating something along the lines that the material on this DVD was mastered from the best available surviving elements, which essentially means it picture quality is going to be rough...and it is...the film is presented in widescreen (1.85:1) format, but it appears it may not have been centered properly, as the edge of the film is present on the right side of the screen. I'm certainly no expert in DVD coding, so this may be something other than what I think it is...the picture itself is full of blemishes and such, and there are a few frames missing. Given the rarity of the film, perhaps this is the best that was available, and I doubt Retromedia would drop extensive coin for a full-blown restoration, but I've seen other companies release rare finds with much better quality (how is it Something Weird Video always seems to find high quality elements for their transfers?). As far as the audio, it's decent enough, slightly better than the picture, if you don't mind the occasional drop out. There are a number of extras included like a still gallery, a short sample of the Italian language version of the film, a Gordon Mitchell interview (6:06), a bit featuring Mitchell titled Goliath and the Cheerleaders from the Fred Olen Ray film Bikini Drive-In (1995), along with a number of trailers including one for this film, along with ones for Goliath and the Vampires (1961), Goliath and the Dragon (1960), Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963), Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World (1961), and The Witch's Curse (1962).
Atlantis' rare movie
Angel G. Garcia | Madrid, SPAIN | 04/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At the city of Metropolis from Atlantis, the mad King Yotar (Roldano Lupi) is perpetrating some sinister and weird experiments to dominate the secrets of nature, among them is the brain transplant from his wise old father Egon (Furio Meniconi) to the poor boy Elmos (Marietto), the Yotar's son, in order to get Elmos' inmortality. The he-man Obro (Gordon Mitchell) arrives in Metropolis to prevent and save the city from destruction, but from the very beginning is captured by the magnetic rays trap, so our hero is tortured and clashed with a wild giant, a bunch of fearsome dwarves, etc. But Yotar's family does not approve of the insane experiments and a servant of the Queen (Liana Orfei) helps Obro to get free and takes him to the secret cave of the giant, because a movable foot of Atlas' big statue opens the entrance of the cave. After Princess Mercede (Bella Cortez) the Yotar's daughter, will fall in love with Obro and...
Though the copy of the film is not good, I must stress the original fantastic scenenery, with some South American Icons in the Palace and a characteristic short tune that helps to create a rare atmosphere in the story."
"A world that I know nothing of. And a city that I have nev
R. J Westafer | Aventura, FL United States | 02/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't miss this one if you are a peplum/sword and sandal fan. Don't miss this one if you are a sci-fi fan. The Giant Of Metropolis is a lost classic which is finally receiving its overdue recognition. An incredibly unique and atmospheric experience, which deftly mixes the 60's Italian peplum format with a "future-city-in-the-past" sci-fi format. This singular combination is probably why this movie has remained so obscure--peplum fans didn't get it; sci-fi fans never heard of it.
Coming late in his career, The Giant Of Metropolis was perhaps director Umberto Scarpelli's greatest achievement. The uninformed could easily mistake his work here for a Mario Bava Creation. Brooding, epic set design, dynamic camera angles, and eccentric costumes are a tribute to his style. This is a film which reveals new secrets on repeat viewings. Watch for the anatomical artwork in the background, the anesthetized people in the alcoves, and the gigantic, nude Atlas in the plaza. The sets are so huge, in fact, they must have consumed several sound stages. That, and several excellent matte paintings, reflect the generous budget available. On-location shots are integrated well.
Special effects, though not exactly "Irwin Allen" are intense, particularly the finale.
The plot operates on several levels: Love, ugenics, sadism, science vs. nature, beefcake, immortality, spiritualism, and sexuality.
Rich characters abound. Gordon Mitchell, as Obro, is at his physical peak: handsome and defined. His acting has also improved since Atlas In The Land Of The Cyclops. Yotar (played by Roldano Lupi) is intimidating as the megalomaniac king/scientist. Elmous (played by "Marietto") is charming and sweet. His plaintive weeping when his father, Yotar, leaves him isolated in a stark area of the palace is heartbreaking. Mercedai, Yotar's daughter, and Egan, who Yotar returns to life, are also worth mentioning. However, my personal favorite is Queen Texen, played by Llana Orfei. Her scenes are tense and riveting. Don't miss her backing down the steps from Yotar. The voice artist who dubbed the English seems to have captured the emotion of the actress perfectly.
The Retromedia DVD is very good, presented in widescreen and has plenty of extras. Unlike other reviewers, my copy has no defect on either side. If you like this movie as much as I do, get the Incredibly Strange Filmworks VHS version too. (Yes, VHS.) It's not widescreen, and the color is weak, but, unlike the DVD, the dubbing is IN SYNCH throughout the movie. The image is very clean also.
By the way, some sources have tried to portray this film as some kind of sequel to Fritz Lang's 1927 silent classic, Metropolis. The two films are in no way related.
One more note: The music score by Armando Trovaioli is hauntingly melancholy and original. Although used over and over, it only adds to the stand-alone quality of this unique film.
"I love you." "I loathe you." "I want you.""