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Probably one of the best parts of the film is the extended scene showing the crossing of the Alps. This was surely one of the great feats of ancient warfare and we get a decent look at how tortuous it must have been here. The Punic soldiers crying out in English somehow lacks something, but this was a 1960 Italian dubbed film! Some of the battle scenes with the elephants are not too bad, but the overall effect is on the poor side. The most vigorous battle shown, Cannae in 217 BC is a joke! There is some attempt to show how the Romans were destroyed here, but somehow it gets lost in the details.
I give the film some credit for staying somewhere near the history, but many details are wide off the mark, and almost purposely so. The romance with Mature and Rita Gam is required of course for this period of movie, but it seems half-hearted at best. Again, Mature's Hannibal seems to almost doze through the scenes! No doubt Hannibal did console himself with a few Roman women for the many years he was in Italy, but what we get here is standard hollywood filler for the time. This film might be fun to watch along with the Italian Propaganada epic, Scipio Africanus. Both have the same lame style, although the older facist film has the production value which this film really lacks. Still, both make for some light viewing in the classic sword and sandal style.
The screenplay is disjointed as it doesn't really convey the reasons why Hannibal hated Rome so much or why he led an army of almost 100,000 men to trample over the Italian countryside for 18 years. The battle reenactments are small, sparing, and second-rate. The acting stinks especially by Mature whose presence always appears as if he just came out of a cocktail lounge around 3:00 a.m. Victor Mature was barely competent as a back-up actor not to speak of a lead role in a historical epic. Even more shame on the Italians who contrived this silly film about their own history. The direction is purely conventional for the period and so unimaginative. The screenplay is terrible and focuses on a ridiculous love story instead of the historical events for dramatism. History here is simply the backdrop for the romance. The anachronisms of the film themselves would require modern anachronisms to interpret as this film is horribly out-of-date. Wayne's 'Genghis Kahn' is better than this film. At least you have The Duke instead of 'Manure' to watch in a bad film.
A vastly superior film on Hannibal is Carmine Gallone's 1939 'Scipio Africanus' that looks at the conflict from the character Scipio's point of view in which the climax comes with Hannibal's defeat at Zama. Unlike this film, 'Scipio' primarily emphasizes on the history for the drama as opposed to romance.Read more ›
In style "Hannibal" is like a really bad spaghetti western, only set it 200BC and produced by people generally clueless about just who was their target audience. On one hand the less your sophistication the less energy you will need to burn suspending disbelief. On the other hand the subject matter cries out for a more sophisticated audience interested in history. And finally the awkwardly inserted love story will go unappreciated by both sophisticated and unsophisticated viewers.
Hannibal was a brilliant military tactician from Carthage (now Tunisa) who gave imperial Rome a run for its money as the dominant world power two centuries before the birth of Christ. The film was promoted by Warner Brothers as "a fanciful adaptation of history" (make that an extremely condensed adaptation). Given all the omissions it is difficult to understand why they felt compelled to invent a love story. It might have made some sense if they had paid a box office draw actress to star as the title character's love interest; but Rita Gam was an aging bit player, pleasant in a wholesome Dorothy McGuire way but too detuned to add any sizzle to a production desperately in need of some sparks.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Low budget interpretation of the life of one of history's greatest and most tragic figures: Hannibal of Carthage. Read morePublished 3 months ago by T.T.
I read the book many years ago. It was'nt the same story. Production values were pretty cheap also.Published 3 months ago by Kevin Krizka
I am glad to say that today 30 October I finally received my order plus one other order of the same movie in a different shipment. I will be returning one of them. Read morePublished 3 months ago by hector
I liked it very much my tape messed up that's why I wanted it againPublished 6 months ago by Helen K Hall