Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


THE MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (aka Perseo L'invincible/Perseus Against the Monsters/1963). Director: Alberto De Martino.

Perseus (Richard Harrison), an "honorary" son of Hercules, becomes embroiled in a war between two kingdoms, Seriglos and Argos. The ranks of the soldiers from the former kingdom, where Princess Andromeda (Anna Ranalli) holds court, have been depleted by a man-eating dragon that emerges from a lake, and many more have fallen victim to a Medusa in a valley whose gaze turns men into stone statues. Perseus must first manage to conquer the dragon, then decides to free all of the soldiers turned to stone by taking on the nearly impossible task of killing the hideous gorgon. Apparently there were a number of Italian mythological flicks made that, at least in their American versions, featured assorted "Sons of Hercules" and this is one of them. Carlo Rambaldi worked on the monsters: a mechanical dragon with limited movement which nevertheless doesn't look too terrible; and the Medusa, who resembles a tree with one yellow glowing eye and many hair-like stalks. Richard Harrison was an American muscle man hired to star in many Italian epics of this nature; he is still working in films at seventy-nine. The settings and music are effective and the film is modestly entertaining, although not in the league of the original Clash of the Titans, which also features Perseus and Medusa. De Martino also directed Kirk Douglas in The Chosen.

Verdict: Fun Italian spectacle. **1/2.

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