Two new releases from Warner Archive are available for the true fan of old school sword and sandal epics.
First up is Hercules, Samson and Ulysses. Sounds like an odd trio when you blend Greek mythology with some Old Testament Judeo-Christianity with a sprinkle of the dude from Homer's epic tale. Makes for an interesting mashup. For some reason, the Ulysses character comes across more as Howard Walowitz from Big Bang Theory than some sort of hero. He's kind of a wimp. The other two are your typical musclemen who first fight one another and then join forces to defeat the evil king of The Philistines.
An obvious low budget film, as evidenced by the sea monster they fight is nothing more than a seal that is never shown in frame with Hercules. When he throws a giant spear it changes to a tinier version when it strikes the seal.
Hercules also fights a bull and a lion with his bare hands. I laughed when he was more impressed with himself later in the film when he caught a chicken. I guess a chicken is the hardest of all the wild animals to kill.
The print is pretty good. The colors are nice, but could have been more vibrant and there is speckling and other things throughout the film they could have cleaned up.
One last thing. They might want to reconsider whoever it is they have writing the copy for the back of the DVD case. It was a groaner;
"Now this is a smackdown, ancient-myth style. No octagonal steel cage. No rules. No surrender. It's Hercules vs. Samson in a brawl to outdo them all, hurling spears, heaving chunks of pillars and, in the clinches, bending thick iron rods around each other. Hercules had set out to find Samson and deliver him to the Philistines in exchange for the imprisoned Ulysses and other Ithacans. Samson, of course, fights rather than submits. But in the course of the titanic Herc-Sam clash, something happens. The two rivals develop a mutual respect and decide to join forces against their common foes: the Philistines. From an enduring filmmaking tradition that unites monsters (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man), desperados (Return of the Badmen) and superheroes (The Avengers) comes a not-to-be-overlooked film that brings together Hercules, Samson and Ulysses. Strap up your sandals' calf-high leather laces and get ready to rumble."
I was impressed with the 17.95 price tag and Warner Archives is notorious for charging a lot for what is really a glorified DVD-R.
Any Hercules fan will want this for their collection.
Next up is Damon and Pythias.
Guy Williams did this one between Zorro and Lost in Space. I think he and co star, Don Burnett, were looking for something to make them movie stars. Yeah, this wasn't it.
This is the legendary tale of friendship between two legendary figures of history. Yeah, it looks good and I can see why it was regulated to the Warner Archives, but it is so damned dull! If you're a true fan of these epic sword and sandal pictures then you're going to want to get it, but the curiosity seeker might want to just get the Hercules flick instead. It's a lot more fun than this one. Although the text on the back of this DVD case isn't nearly as bad.