Hercules Unchained (1959)
Hercules Unchained follows Sword and sandals hero who is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, over who should rule Thebes. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and is hypnotized by a harem girl who dances the “Dance of Shiva”, loses his memory and becomes the captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia. The Queen keeps men until she tires of them, then has them made into statues. While young Ulysses tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules’ wife, Iole, finds herself in danger from Eteocles, current ruler of Thebes, who plans on throwing her to the wild beasts in his entertainment arena. Hercules slays three tigers in succession and rescues his wife, then assists the Theban army in repelling mercenary attackers hired by Polynices. The two brothers ultimately fight one another for the throne and end up killing each other; the good high priest Creon is elected by acclaim.
Hercules Unchained (1959) Review:
This is the second Hercules flick featuring Steve Reeves as the man of muscle. The legendary Reeves melds with the god/man Hercules and turns what could have been a cheesefest into an action/adventure spectacle as tightly woven as Hercules’ toga. Competing with Reeves for biggest chest is his umptuous co-star Sylvia Lopez as the evil Queen Omphale who makes living statues out of her conquests. Hercules’ pals include Gabriele Antonini as Ulysses who gives the man of muscle a mighty rubdown and competes for Herc’s attentions with his sexy wife Iole, played with sweet sassiness by beautiful Sylvia Koscina. With Hercules shirtless (and occasionally oiled) for most of the flick and his mini-toga riding up his thick manly thighs there’s something for everybody to enjoy. Of special note is the dance of Queen Omphale’s slave girls and Herc’s wrestling match with real life Italian pro-wrestler, Primo Carnera. Keep an eye out for plentiful low camera angles.
Cast and Crew:
Directed by Pietro Francisci
Starring Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Sylvia Lopez