Pyhric Hannibal at Best
Roger Kennedy | 11/24/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone expecting a really good view of the Punic Wars in Italy will certainly not find it here. That being said, there are a number of interesting and amusing scenes that make it half-way worthwhile. Victor Mature sleeps his way through the role of the great Carthegenian general. Mature seems never to have taken his own acting skills that seriously, and that is evident here with his lethargic style.
Probably one of the best parts of the film is the extended scene showing the crossing of the Alps. This was surely one of the great feats of ancient warfare and we get a decent look at how tortuous it must have been here. The Punic soldiers crying out in English somehow lacks something, but this was a 1960 Italian dubbed film! Some of the battle scenes with the elephants are not too bad, but the overall effect is on the poor side. The most vigorous battle shown, Cannae in 217 BC is a joke! There is some attempt to show how the Romans were destroyed here, but somehow it gets lost in the details.
I give the film some credit for staying somewhere near the history, but many details are wide off the mark, and almost purposely so. The romance with Mature and Rita Gam is required of course for this period of movie, but it seems half-hearted at best. Again, Mature's Hannibal seems to almost doze through the scenes! No doubt Hannibal did console himself with a few Roman women for the many years he was in Italy, but what we get here is standard hollywood filler for the time. This film might be fun to watch along with the Italian Propaganada epic, Scipio Africanus. Both have the same lame style, although the older facist film has the production value which this film really lacks. Still, both make for some light viewing in the classic sword and sandal style."
Hannibal After Too Many Cocktails
Octavius | United States | 06/17/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A very contrived rendition of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome in the 3rd century B.C. The fact that Victor Mature plays the lead role is enough to discourage anyone from buying this shallow film. This film is also outmatched in every respect except color by another production and so not really worth one's time or money unless you're a die-hard Mature fanor accept only the color medium for a film.
The screenplay is disjointed as it doesn't really convey the reasons why Hannibal hated Rome so much or why he led an army of almost 100,000 men to trample over the Italian countryside for 18 years. The battle reenactments are small, sparing, and second-rate. The acting stinks especially by Mature whose presence always appears as if he just came out of a cocktail lounge around 3:00 a.m. Victor Mature was barely competent as a back-up actor not to speak of a lead role in a historical epic. Even more shame on the Italians who contrived this silly film about their own history. The direction is purely conventional for the period and so unimaginative. The screenplay is terrible and focuses on a ridiculous love story instead of the historical events for dramatism. History here is simply the backdrop for the romance. The anachronisms of the film themselves would require modern anachronisms to interpret as this film is horribly out-of-date. Wayne's 'Genghis Kahn' is better than this film. At least you have The Duke instead of 'Manure' to watch in a bad film.
A vastly superior film on Hannibal is Carmine Gallone's 1939 'Scipio Africanus' that looks at the conflict from the character Scipio's point of view in which the climax comes with Hannibal's defeat at Zama. Unlike this film, 'Scipio' primarily emphasizes on the history for the drama as opposed to romance. Although the few romantic scenes in 'Scipio' are truly arch-melodrama as one reviewer has commented, they are fortunately fewer than in this film. The character of Hannibal is treated as a tragic hero and honorable foe who, like his Roman antagonist and unlike Mature's character, doesn't waste much time on trivial romance when the life or death of his nation is at stake. Although not in color, at least 'Scipio' was done on an epic scale with 50 elephants, over a thousand horses, and 30,0000 extras under the direction of a competent Gallone. The battle scene for Zama was more a replication rather than a re-enactment and so exceptionally brutal even by some of today's standards. I guarantee you that few professional stuntmen of today would be doing what ordinary guys did in that reenactment. So lavish are the sets and battles that they remained unmatched in film until no sooner than Kubrick's 'Spartacus' or Mankiewick's 'Cleopatra' 25 years later. Despite the film's occasional overdrama, believe me, you will get a lot more accuracy, lavishness, and a breathtaking battle scene from that film on Hannibal. This one with Mature isn't even worth seeing free as it is just a waste of time."
John R. Mcdonald | Merritt Island, FL | 05/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Watch it and make you own option. I think this would have been a great movie for the drive-in back in the day."
A Wonderfull Classic
Brian A. Minnett | Hornsby Heights, NSW Australia | 02/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Over the years and up until now there have been good films made but you cannot go past the old classics as this one 'Hannibal' I watched it when it first came out and I am glade I can watch it again."