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on September 28, 2003
Ah, yes! Those were the days! Disregard the dubbed-in dialogue and hokey plot lines. The orginal 1957 "Hercules" is a treasure of fantasy and fun. To those Americans who possess a sense of the past (what used to be known fondly as "nostalgia" prior to the MTV generation and its contemptuous stance toward anything that occurred prior to the maturation of Jennifer Lopez's big, fat posterior), Johnny Weismuller was Tarzen. Bela Lugosi was Dracula. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. And Steve Reeves was Hercules. Long before Arnold there was Steve Reeves, the prototype body builder who in the 1940s and 50s surpassed what Charles Atlas initiated a generation earlier. A scrawny, unathletic kid who was teased unmercifully, Reeves decided to do something about his predicament. He made body building and fitness a way of life. Between 1945 and 1950, Reeves won every body building competition and award in the universe, and he did so without the use of steroids or any other drugs. It didn't take long for Hollywood to come calling. After being considered and then turned down for the role of Samson (for being "too muscular") in the 1949 MGM production of "Samson and Delilah" opposite Heddy Lamarr, Reeves spent a few years playing mostly forgetable parts in a number of films before achieving celluloid stardom in his adopted home, Italy. In 1957 Reeves portrayed the legendary Greek hero Hercules in the film of the same name, and repeated the role in its sequel, "Hercules Unchained," two years later. Reeves was extraordinarily handsome with black wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. With his beard and spectacular physique, Reeves looked exactly like the image of the Greek demigod as it had been depicted for thousands of years. So ingrained became his image in the minds of movie fans, that the names "Steve Reeves" and "Hercules" became synonomous. For a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s he was the highest-paid movie star in the world. To kids growing up in an innocent age of malt shops, high school dances, science-fiction comics, and "Father Knows Best," Reeves was the epitome of wholesome manliness. He became the idol and inspiration for a whole new generation of weightlifters and body builders, including Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Reg Park, and old Arnold himself. He enchanted young and old alike as Hercules and as a number of other legendary Greco-Roman characters. In the late 1960s while still fit as a fiddle, very popular, and only in his early 40s, Reeves was asked by Sergio Leonne to star in a series of Spaghetti Westerns. But Reeves decided to leave the acting business. His place was taken by Clint Eastwood, and the rest is history (there's that anachronistic word again). Reeves continued living in Italy where he could be spotted daily "power-walking" (rapidly walking while carrying light weights in his arms) around all the famous sites in Rome. By the 1990s he and his wife returned to America where they raised horses and lived quietly on a beautiful ranch in Southern California. Reeves still looked great into his seventies and remained a steadfast advocate of drug-free athletics. Which is why it was so shocking to hear of his sudden death from cancer in 2000. Supposedly, Reeves visited his physician and was diagnosed with an accutely malignant form of cancer. In two weeks, he was dead. Upon hearing the news, I couldn't accept the fact of his passing. "Steve Reeves dead? Can't be." He always seemed so invincible. How time marches on. But the image of Reeves as the prototype celluloid demigod will endure. In the hearts and memories of many a young boy in the 1950s and 60s, there was no more popular person in the world than Steve Reeves. In many ways, Reeves may well have been the last great role model of an America that used to be. Malt shops are gone. Early sci-fi classic films with thoughtful plots like Howard Hawks' "The Thing From Another World" and Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" are now considered archaic by a generation whose attention span is measureable in nanoseconds. High school dances long ago devolved into loud, coarse, uncivil environments known as "clubs." There are no TV shows even remotely resembling the quaint idealism of "Father Knows Best." Yet certain images from yesteryear remain transfixed eternally in the minds of those still thoughtful enough to remember. Steve Reeves will always be the one and only "Hercules." So long, pal.
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on January 25, 2003
Finally, Steve Reeves on DVD! The version sent to me was by Gemstone Entertainment; but appears to be the same version as United American Video. A few years back I was on Steve's web site and commented that I was disappointed that there were none of his films on DVD, and the reply that I got back was, "Only on VHS now; but just wait a bit longer...." I remember the first time I saw this movie as a kid, I was totally hooked on Steve Reeves and his name was forever connected with Hercules, which is kind of funny considering that he only made two Hercules movies. Though watching Italian movies can take a little getting used to, mainly due to the editing practices, in addition to dubbing the sound in after the movie had been completed, this movie holds the test of time very well, considering that it's almost 45 years old. My only real complaints are that it's not presented in a natural widescreen format and that the copy of the print was not in pristene condition; but don't let the TV format, soft focus and colors in some spots, and a few scratches and specks during the movie deter you from getting this classic. Some day I'm hoping to see a higher grade edition, in widescreen, with the film digitally restored and maybe a few extras; but until then, this will more than suffice.
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on June 9, 2001
This is a review of the DVD by Gemstone Entertainment - ISBN 0-7694-1100-2, UPC 84296-40174. Judging by the price, the one listed here on Amazon.com is likely to be similar.
I would rate the movie itself as one of my all time favorite fantasy adventures, although many would view it as "campy" I view Steve Reeves as the best Hercules ever.
I was rather disappointed that the DVD was a formatted-for-TV version of the movie, apparently made from a rather faded print of the film. The sound was generally out of sink with the actors lips. (Stopping and restarting my SONY player did not fix the problem.)
I'm glad I have some version of this movie in my library. Hopefully a restored, letterboxed version will be done someday.
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on July 20, 2002
I remember seeing this movie as a child and interestingly enough, now that it is on dvd, my son has bought this for his family.There are no great special effects. And don't look for any great acting, but Hercules is a fun movie and Reeves is the perfect Hercules with a sculpted physique, handsome and charismatic. I hope more Reeves movies become available on dvd. He was the original action hero.
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on December 18, 2006
Wish the Steve Reeves Hercules films were just a little more robust than they are: Reeves is magnificent to look at, and the women are beautiful. But somehow, these Hercules films don't create the same feeling in people that they get from Harryhausen's "Jason and the Argonauts", and the more elaborate spectacles like "Ben Hur". Fans of Reeves, and the genre, may object most to the pan-and-scan versions of these movies presented here. Bad prints, too, and this is a shame, because the color photography and widescreen were a huge part of the appeal of these amiably modest spectacles. If you've been waiting for "Hercules" to come out on a restored DVD, this isn't it, sadly. Reeves and his fans deserved better.
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on October 26, 2003
This is without doubt the worst film transfer to DVD I have ever seen. I saw the film recently on TV and it was 10 times the quality of this DVD. Dont waste your money on this DVD.
It is an insult to modern technology and frankly a rip-off. Amazon should be ashamed of selling this product.
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on February 27, 2001
I can relate to the individual who said that Steve Reeves was his boyhood idol. He was mine as well. I can remember as a 8 year old watching Steve Reeves battle Barbarians in "Goliath and the Barbarians", my first Reeves movie. I sat mesmerized by Reeves. Many years later, I started weight training and eventually got into powerlifting competition winning the YMCA Nationals and AAU North American Championships and then went on to bodybuilding promotions like the AAU Atlantic States (a title I created), the first IFBB Teenage Mr America and the WABBA/NABBA USA vs Europe Challenge match, IFBB Jr. Mr. America and IFBB Mr. North America.Reeves planted the seed in me at age 8, he was the Arnold of his time. Food for thought: If it wasn't for Reeves, what would Arnold be doing these days? Reeves opened the door for many bodybulders who followed.On to the movie. Obviously this movie would not win any academy awards, but it helped win for Reeves the #1 box office champion of his time. It starts off with a runaway chariot and suddenly we hear the sounds and see a tree being uprooted. It's our Hercules saving the lady in distress and his future bride.Hercules is a fun movie. It is badly dubbed. But so what. Reeves looks good. The Amazon girls look really great. There aren't any great specia effects, but this was the fifties and the movie was made over 43 years ago. The plot is simple; kill the Lion, kill the Cretan Bull, renounce your immortality, save the people and help Jason and Argonauts and instill in Ulysses that his destiny will be determined by a bow and arrow! Oh, and marry the beautiful Jole and lets not forget how he pulls the Temple down ala SAMSON but lives.Seriously, Hercules is still a fun movie and deservedly a classic. The entire bodybuilding world owes a great debt to Reeves, the Italian producer and Joe Levine. One only has to watch the Hercules, Maciste, Goliath movies that followed this in the 60's or the Lou Ferrigno version of Hercules in 1980 to appreciate this one.Reeves was, is the one and only Hercules. This was the first and best Hercules movie.
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on June 28, 2004
I just watched the Italian film Hercules staring Steve Reeves in the title role. First of all it was a pleasure to see Hercules call on his father Jupiter (and not Zeus as so many would have it).
Hercules travels to Jialco where he finds himself first welcomed by the Throne and then despised. After defeating the Cretan Bull, Hercules finds Jason, lost heir to the throne of Jialco. To prove Jason is who he says he is, Hercules, Jason, Argos and others set out to find the lost Golden Fleece.
Originally shot in Italian, this film does suffer from bad dubbing. This film, and particularly its sequel, Hercules Unchained, are some of the best interpretations of the Hercules legend.
Steve Reeves is wonderful as the hero and looks like he could defeat Kevin Sorbo without even trying. Reeves spends most of the film sans shirt showing off one of the finest builds ever filmed. For those who prefer looking at bodies with more curves, there are plenty of women in short Grecian robes.
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on July 25, 2002
Don't look for any great story plots, any great acting in Hercules and Hercules Unchained. But then do any of thes movies have a great story? Hercules is my favorite of the two. Hercules Unchained has better quality cinematogrophy and even has Reeves in a love scene (as love scenes were allowed back in those days). Reeves appears stiff, but how man people know that in real life, Reeves was shy and timid? When he became a film star, he was nicknamed "Hollywoods quiet man." Reeves was one of two men to inspire Arnold (Ahhnold) (the other being Reg Park a 3 time Mr. Universe who made a few silly herc films in the 60's) to take up weight training and become an actor. Sylvestor Stallone also credits Reeves as an early inspiration and still has Reeves pictures in his gym.Hercules and Hercules Unchained are good, clean movies. Fun and well produced for the times. Remember these movies were made over 40 years ago. I recomend White Warrior not only for Reeves fans, but also because it is a good movie. Hopefully amazon will get Morgan the Pirate and Pirates of the 7 Seas starring Reeves and his picture, Long Road to Hell which is a Clint Eastwood type western.
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on May 5, 2000
no,this isnt the greatest movie in the world, the voices are dubbed, the movie has no really good special effects like jason and the argonauts, but it does have the one and only hercules-steve reeves.as a boy growing up in the sixties, he was a child hood idle. who didnt want to be like hercules. he was as big as any baseball player, football star, or any other athlete in are time. no he wasnt a great actor, but he will always have a big impact in my life and im sure other people in that era. i just recently learned about steve reeves passing away.i just wanted to thank him for being a boy hood super star and the one and only hercules.
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