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Hercules Unchained
(Ercole e la regina di Lidia)

Original theatrical poster
Directed by Pietro Francisci
Produced by Bruno Vailati
Ferruccio De Martino
Written by Ennio De Concini
Pietro Francisci
Starring Steve Reeves
Sylva Koscina
Sylvia Lopez
Music by Enzo Masetti
Cinematography Mario Bava
Editing by Mario Serandrei
Distributed by Warner Bros. (USA)
Release date(s) 14 February 1959 (Italy)
13 July 1960 (USA)
Running time 105 min.
Country Italy
Language Italian
Preceded by Hercules
Followed by Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis

Hercules Unchained (Italian: Ercole e la regina di Lidia) is a 1959 Italian epic fantasy feature film starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina in a story about two warring brothers and Hercules' tribulations in the court of Queen Omphale. The film is the sequel to the Reeves vehicle Hercules (1958) and marks Reeves' last appearance as Hercules. The film's screenplay -- loosely based upon various Greek myths and dramas -- was written by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci with Francisci directing and Bruno Vailati and Ferruccio De Martino producing the film. Hercules Unchained has been broadcast on American television, and is available in both VHS and DVD formats. The film's Italian title means "Hercules and the Queen of Lydia". The film was also the subject of mockery in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Source material

The plot draws character names from a mishmash of various Greek legends and plays, notably The Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus and Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. The tale of Hercules and Queen Omphale is taken from myth. Hercules' line "I wove the threads [of my memory] together" is the film's sole reference to his task of spinning thread and weaving with Omphale's attendants in the myth. The film widely deviates from the source material, haphazardly mixing events and featuring characterizations varying from those depicted in the sources.

Plot and cast

While travelling, Hercules (Steve Reeves) is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, (Sergio Fantoni and Mimmo Palmara) over who should rule Thebes. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring, loses his memory and becomes the captive of Queen Omphale of Lydia (Sylvia Lopez). The queen keeps men until she tires of them, then has them made into statues. While young Ulysses (Gabriel Antonini) tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules' wife, Iole (Sylva Koscina), finds herself in danger from Eteocles, current ruler of Thebes, who plans on throwing her to the wild beasts in his entertainment arena. Hercules slays three tigers in succession and rescues his wife, then assists the Theban army in repelling mercenary attackers hired by Polynices. The two brothers ultimately fight one another for the throne and end up killing each other; the good high priest Creon is elected by acclaim. Cast includes Fulvio Carrara as Castor, Willi Colombini as Pollux, Primo Carnera as the giant Antaeus, Gino Mattera as Orpheus, Cesare Fantoni as King Oedipus, and Carlo D'Angelo as High Priest Creon.

See also


External links



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