Wednesday, August 30, 2006

XVI. PERSEO L'INVINCIBILE (MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES) 1963




Perseo Linvincible (Medusa Vs.The Son of Hercules)
Year; 1963

Director & Writer; Alberto De Martino
Country; Italy & Spain.
Duration; 82 mins [Spain] 90 mins [Italy]
Original Ratio; (2:35:1)
Available; DVD Region 1 Trimark DVD release.
Colour * Pan and Scanned Fullscreen*English Dub*

Alternative;
Medusa Against the Son of Hercules - US television title /Persée l'invincible - French title/Perseo e Medusa/Perseus - Der Unbesiegbare - West German title/Perseus Against the Monsters - UK title/El valle de los hombres de piedra - Spanish title

The Players; Richard Harrison [Perseus]Anna Ranalli [Andromeda] Elisa Cegani [Danae] Ángel Jordán [Medusa] Enrique Navarro [Stheno]Ángela Pla [Euryale] with; Leo Anchóriz/Frank Braña/Roberto Camardiel/José Luis Ferreiro/Miguel González/Rufino Inglés/ Arturo Dominici




‘Perseo L’invincible’ is the only other film apart from 'Clash of the Titans' that covers the Perseus legend, of sorts. Due to budget though this version is missing the sheen of it’s’ blockbuster counterpart but seems equal or surpasses the action status of its 1981 contemporary.

The film is just as enjoyable and is as likeable as anything else in this maligned genre of movie making. With a few conversations of the scheming nature, the film rolls ahead like a steamroller combining powerful visuals and near-constant action. There is a fast pace that keeps the action moving along nicely and even in the monster attacks, the creatures seem livelier and vicious than normal.

Richard Harrison plays the titular hero and is one of the most handsome actors to be cast in such a role. Harrison brings spontaneity, energy and vigour to the part which is an interesting ‘package’ of entertainment to view.

All the elements of what makes peplum so enjoyable is captured in Alberto de Martino’s interpretation of a legend. The Medusa itself is an o.k. monster that resembles more of a tree Cyclops than the snake headed she-demon she had previously been portrayed throughout time and contemporary icon.


She contorts and extends in her movement, lunging forward towards her prey and turning them to statues with her hypnotic eye.

The mist enshrouded rocky landscapes are the perfect climate for such a fiend-ess and is quite eerily captured via the lens. Alberto de Martino later went on to direct the goat bum licking Exorcist rip off ‘The Antichrist’ for those interested and Amando de Ossorio worked on the visual effects - explaining some of the style behind quite eerie dream-like visuals.

There are some pleasant surprises, usually in a b-movie of this kind; quality usually fell by the wayside as time was rushed to churn out such a gamut of cash-ins.

The adventure starts with Perseus having frequent meetings with a beautiful woman where he tries to improve her archery skills. The woman never reveals her identity and leaves Perseus hurriedly and in a vexed state. Perseus has fallen in love with her.

She is in fact the daughter of the King of Seriphos. The kingdom is on the verge of starvation caught between the slings and arrows of Argus and a swamp land fire breathing monster.

In the barren wastelands there is also the evil Medusa. Several of Seriphos’ bravest men have challenged the pitfalls of the trade route but have all failed abysmally.

Perseus shows up at court and is pitted against varied athletic tasks which, being the son of Jupiter, he achieves successfully.

Perseus is given the eventual responsibility of leading the king’s army into battle against the foes of Seriphos and he ultimately faces the Medusa whilst stumbling upon a healthy smattering of regal skulduggery along the way.

Perseus and his escapades makes for great viewing from the daft but catchy theme tune right through to the end title card.

I was fortunate to see a version under the title ‘Medusa vs. The Son of Hercules’, the print was watchable but is panned and scanned and after seeing the DVD release of Hercules in the Haunted World you do wish deep down they were all of such calibre.

The film was part of a box set that is available on this link and is well worth the price tag, but snap ‘em up as they are becoming increasingly rare . This version is currently available in Region 1 only and is unavailable on a region 2 format in the United Kingdom.



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