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Vittorio Cottafavi
Reg Park, Fay Spain, Ettore Manni
Writing Credits:
Vittorio Cottafavi, Sandro Continenza, Duccio Tessari

Strong yet sleepy Hercules discovers that the Queen of Atlantis is plotting to take over the world with superhuman warriors.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
English Dolby Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 4/13/2021

• Audio Commentary with Film Critic Tim Lucas
• Intro by MST3K Writer/Co-star Frank Conniff
MST3K Version
• “Hercules and the Conquest of Cinema” Featurette
• Booklet


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Hercules and the Captive Women [Blu-Ray] (1961)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 14, 2021)

When initially released in its native Italy, the 1961 film I’ll soon discuss came with the title Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide. Of course, that wouldn’t work for English-speaking audiences, so it got a change in name.

Or at least three changes in name. In various locations, the film ran as Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis, Hercules Conquers Atlantis, and – here in the US - Hercules and the Captive Women.

Replete with a cover that offers an artistic vision of a sexy babe – presumably one of those titular captured ladies – this package goes with Captive Women. I might recommend an alternate title: What A Load of Campy Nonsense.

King of Thebes Androcles (Ettore Manni) seeks to find the source of mysterious events that plague ancient Greece, and he attempts to recruit his hunky buddy Hercules (Reg Park) to assist. However, Hercules enjoys the domestic life with wife Deianira (Luciana Angiolillo) and son Hylas (Luciano Marin) so he demurs.

Hylas seeks adventure, so he helps Androcles dope his pop and kidnap him for the journey. This eventually leads all involved to the land of Atlantis, where Hercules contends with Queen Antinea (Fay Spain), a megalomaniac who plans to assemble an army of superhuman warriors.

All that leads to the impression Women might offer a rousing adventure. Unfortunately, little excitement ever materializes, as the end result seems as sleepy as our hero.

Rather than any of the various titles I mentioned earlier, Hercules Likes to Nap seems like the best choice. Comatose Sunny Von Bulow spent more time awake and alert than Hercules, as he embraces any chance to nod off.

When Herc manages to rouse himself, he encounters little that pounds the pulse. The film plods from one attempt at action to another, none of which hit the mark.

Instead, the whole thing seems ineffective and silly. Other than some questionable visual effects, Women does boast better production values than the average flick of its genre.

Sort of, as the material remains so fluffy and goofy that it doesn’t turn into an engaging affair. Women might satisfy fans of campy flicks, but otherwise, it’s a dud.

Footnote: for modern audiences, the English dub’s frequent mentions of “Uranus” offer unintended laughs. I didn’t want to pick on the film for that, as that term didn’t elicit the same reaction 60 years ago that it gets now. Still, it’s pretty funny now.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C-/ Bonus B-

Hercules and the Captive Women appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.20:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This 4K transfer seemed good but not great.

Sharpness became the major issue, as delineation could feel a little on the soft side at times. These instances didn’t seem terribly off, but the image tended to lack great precision.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws created only minor concerns, with a few vertical lines and specks. Most of the image remained clean, though.

Colors leaned toward an amber/yellow impression, with a few other colors at times. These tones felt somewhat lackluster and tended not to show much range.

Blacks were reasonably dark, while shadows showed appropriate delineation. I expected more from this image, but it still looked fairly good.

I felt less positive about the iffy DTS-HD MA monaural. The dubbed dialogue tended to seem canned and brittle, with lines that lacked natural impressions.

Music worked best but still came across as shrill, and effects seemed somewhat rough and distorted. Even by 1961 standards, this seemed like a flawed soundtrack.

A mix of extras appear here, and we can watch the film with an audio commentary from film critic Tim Lucas. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion of genre topics and related movies, cast and crew, sets and locations, music, effects, editing, alternate versions and connected subjects.

For the most part, Lucas makes this a pretty good chat. To be sure, he attempts to redeem the movie and lead us to believe it’s a well-made production.

This didn’t work – not for me, at least – but I admire Lucas’s efforts, and he does bring some useful notes. He can go MIA a little too often, but nonetheless he makes this a largely informative track.

One weird issue stems from production choices. Whereas 99 percent of commentaries present the movie’s audio underneath the speakers, for Women, we encounter silence whenever Lucas fails to speak.

Though a bit disconcerting, this wouldn’t turn into an issue if it didn’t seem clear that Lucas believed film audio would run beneath his remarks. Occasionally Lucas pauses so we can hear dialogue – dialogue that appears to us as complete silence.

Ultimately, this turns into a minor issue. Still, it creates an unnecessary distraction.

Next comes an Introduction from MST3K writer/co-star Frank Conniff. In this three-minute, two-second piece he discusses the show’s approach to the film. He doesn’t offer much substance.

We then get the 1992 MST3K version of Captive Women. This presentation runs one hour, 31 minutes, 59 seconds as the MST3K crew watch the movie and make fun of it.

This leads to mixed results. While some laughs occur, much of the material feels pretty banal, so don’t expect particularly witty barbs.

A new featurette called Hercules and the Conquest of Cinema spans 19 minutes, 28 seconds and brings narration from Larry Blamire.

“Conquest” looks at the Hercules legend in film, with an emphasis on the 1950s/60s projects. We find a fairly intriguing overview that delivers a nice take on the subject matter.

Finally, a booklet offers photos and an essay from film historian C. Courtney Joyner. This text offers some useful notes connected to the film and genre.

I can handle a campy film, but I can’t stomach a dull campy film. Alas, we get that from Hercules and the Captive Women, a painfully boring stab at action and adventure. The Blu-ray brings mostly good picture along with problematic audio and a generally appealing roster of bonus materials. Even fans of cinematic cheese shouldn’t find too much to like from this snoozer.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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