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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Sword & Sandals > Damon & Pythias (1962)/Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1964/Warner Archive DVDs)

Damon & Pythias (1962)/Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1964/Warner Archive DVDs)

 

Picture: C/C+†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: D/C-†††† Films: C+

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: These DVD releases are only available from Warner Bros. in their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

 

 

Warner Archive is issuing a set of Sword & Sandals action B-movies and we have two of them to look at from the MGM portion of their catalog.Until the late 1970s, these films and so many others like them were in heavy syndicated rotation on TV, so odds are older audiences have seen them before.We believe younger audiences might be very amused too, even after all these years.

 

Both are made in Italy and Curtis Bernardtís Damon & Pythias (1962) has Guy Williams (an enduring Zorro (for Disney on TV) as well as the original father on Lost In Space) carrying the role of Damon well, an up to no good hood who intends to take from and take on Pythias (Don Burnett) until they have to team up against the tyranny and terror of Dionysius (Arnolds Fok) in a very amusing romp that has fake sets, bad acting, wacky costume design, cheap locations and fight scenes youíll never see on TapOut.For what is essentially a B-movie, Williams and company attack it with gusto and the screenplay is surprisingly more competent than most genre releases we have suffered through of late.

 

That says something about even mildly competent writing.The makers knew what they were making and never tired to make it anything more, which is why this is still entertaining in its own way and worth looking at 50 years later.Williamsí fans will want to go out of their way to see it and it has a few interesting moments.There are no extras.

 

 

Pietro Francisciís Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1964) brings together three even more well-known names, played by actors we have not seen much before or since.As in the other film, Hercules (Kirk Morris) seems to be at odds with Samson (Iloosh Khoshabe) until they discover there is a plot against them and join with Ulysses (Enzo Cerusico) to battle a sea monster (one we can hardly see when it shows up) in the process.

Even more than the previous film, you can see how fake the sets are and also how this became its own cycle of hero films forerunning the superhero genre about to form on its own and also where these films were going (think decline) after the cycle (including Biblical Epics, of which Christianity (or Judaism for that matter) is barely noted here if at all in any of these films) since the genre peaked in 1960 with Kubrickís Spartacus.This has more action (think Sinbad) and also has a more coherent script than you might imagine.It has been decades since I saw either of these films, but they are still fun and after being inundated with cheap, phony digital video effects for so many years now, these films seem somehow less fake, have their own atmosphere and impress in that anyone would even go so out of their way to make these films to begin with.

 

Warner has done a great service to film fans by digging into their archives and issuing films like this that are worth seeing at least once and on the larger sense of the genre at this point, these are two of the better films.A trailer is the only extra.

 

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image on Damon is a little softer than I would have liked while the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 on Hercules is a little sharper and clearer, both prints have their print damage and detail issues.Color is sometimes surprisingly good, but Damon was actually issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints at least in Italy, where they only got EastmanColor prints in the U.S. from MGM, who processed both films in MetroColor out of their own labs.

 

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on both films is a little lower and weaker in fidelity and dynamic range than I expected.They have been cleaned up, but be careful of volume switching and youíll be fine.

 

 

 

To order these and other Warner Archive titles, go to this link:

 

http://www.wbshop.com

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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