Monday, March 03, 2014


Here come the storylines: 1) In ancient Crete, young women (mostly lovely and virginal) are regularly sacrificed to the Minotaur, a legendary half-man, half-bull beast that lives in a labyrinth. When the Queen becomes deathly ill, King Minos steps up the sacrifices. 2) Years ago, when the king's daughter Phaedra was born, a twin sister, Ariadne, was also delivered, and because twins were to be sent to the Minotaur, she was spirited away to the village of Attica. Phaedra finds out about her existence and sends Chryone off to Attica to kill her before she can threaten her own ascendency to the throne. 3) Great hero Theseus of Athens and his sidekick Demetrius of Crete are on their respective ways home from grand journeys when they hear about the pillage of Attica. They manage to save Ariadne but this is just the beginning of their adventures which climax with Theseus going into the Minotaur's maze to save Ariadne.

This is another peplum film based loosely on mythology, mostly played fast and loose (see also HERCULES, HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN, well, pretty much any Herc movie), though the basics are here—most famously, Ariadne's thread which she spins out so she and Theseus can find their way out. There are a number of well-done battle scenes here, and the sets and costumes are effective. Unfortunately, Olympic champ Bob Mathias as Theseus is lightweight in acting skill and in physical presence; his sidekick (Rick Battaglia, pictured to the right of Mathias) is only slightly better. Rosanna Schiaffino is good in the dual role of the sisters and Alberto Lupo as Chryone (pictured above left) makes for a nicely slimy villain. The action stops at least three times for dancing girl scenes. There's a interesting segment in which the sea goddess Amphitrite is dragged in to deliver exposition and, in her magical way, allow many years to pass in just a few minutes. The minotaur itself is quite disappointing, looking nothing (to me at least) like a man/bull, but more like a miniature King Kong. The print I saw was not widescreen, much to the film's detriment. [Netflix streaming]

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