Saturday, September 09, 2006


Ercole contro i figli del sole (Hercules vs.The Sons of the Sun)

Year; 1964

Director & Writer; Osvaldo Civirani / Franco Tannozzini
Country; Italy & Spain.
Duration; 84 mins
Original Ratio; (2:35:1)
Available; DVD Region 1 Trimark DVD release.
DVD Aspects; Colour * Fullscreen *English Dub*

Hércules contra los hijos del Sol (Spain) Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun (USA) Hercules Vs.The Sons of the Son (USA DVD)

The Players; Mark Forest (Hercules), Giuliano Gemma (Mytha), Anna Maria Pace (Princess Hamara), Giulio Donnini (King Atahualpa), Franco Fantasia, Angela Rhu, German Grechi and Carlo Latimer.

A true oddball entry, this film kicks off in Peru. The rationale for the time/geographical jump is daft as it is slightly audacious, but this is a pure slice of high camp fantasy that really is down to individual preference whether you love it or you hate it.

Mark Forest appears as the more ‘clean shaven’ of the Hercules incarnations and does a standard job.

The movie is routine in formula but is, at times, high in visual impact. There are some vividly extravagant rite dances and director Civiriani’s swap from toga and tassel to feather and jewels works well and provides the viewer with just as much dayglo ‘spectacle’ as it’s Greco-roman stylized predecessors.

The kitschiest of the recent batch of Hercules films I have seen, it does try it’s best to achieve lavish exotica in the Peruvian interior shots and on the whole this does save the film from sinking to z-grade status.

The costume details are quite intricate (probably pinched from another up-market production?) and the camerawork seemingly ignites the turquoise hues and scarlet depths, highlighting such beauty evermore.

Another episode of decent sequencing, are the dance routines. Some, despite the borderline cheese, are most visually striking. Dancers gyrate and jump through the air; their garish plumage reminiscent of courting birds of paradise or carnival finery at Notting Hill. The sequences are executed just as well in respect of raw energy and expressive celebration.

On the whole Hercules vs. the Sons of the Son is not a must have but a pleasant stumble upon, never the less. It’s so interesting to note how far the Hercules legend could be stretched in this instance making him some sort of time lord with muscles.

Not all these ‘time travel’ escapades are that great as I found out recently with ‘The Witch’s Curse’- more on that later.

I believe this to be one of the better romps, don’t anticipate any monsters or ‘torture dungeon’ sequences with this film, it is much more 'lighter' than anything I have seen before of its ilk.

Tijuanaca, 16th Century Peru, Hercules ends up in this time period and place, shipwrecked after being blown over land and time.

Due to a negative piece of etiquette by one of Hercules' crew, causing major offence to the gods, it seems Neptune not only has taught the adventurers a lesson but killed all in the process- bar Hercules.

He teams up with Mytha, an Incan prince after he saves Hercule’s life from all the kings’ xenophobic men.

Hercules learns that Mytha’s father has been imprisoned and his throne taken over by his evil brother Atahualpa.

It transpires that Mytha’s sister has been kidnapped by the evil king where she is being held captive until she is ready for sacrifice to one of the Inca deities.

Hercules and Mytha manage to break up the frenzied sacrifice and saves Princess Harmara from the flaming arrows from a golden masked archer.

So ostentatious are the visuals in this scene, even the altar holding the tethered sacrifice is apparently made from what seems is bright candy pink stone!

As legions are formed Hercules leads the populace into battle against the tyranny of the King and to restore things back to their harmonious state.

This film is part of the Adventures of Hercules Tri-Star box set which can be procured on this link.

Despite the standard 4:3 full screen, once again I really can see how this ratio interferes with the visual action scene and character dynamics, the print quality is decent if not a tad blurry and due to its rarity is pleasantly surprising. Region 1 only.


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