Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964)

The Queen of the Hellenes has been taken by the Babylonians as a slave. Troubles is, they don’t realise they have her but the Assyria n king does. He visits the three rulers – two brothers and a sister – and attempts to buy all their female slaves. Suspicions are soon aroused. Meanwhile, the mighty Hercules sets out to rescue the captured Queen.

In this instalment of Italian Hercules series, we have the added interest factor in having Peter Lupus in the main role. Going under the name Rock Stevens here, he would go onto significant television fame as Willy Armitage in Mission: Impossible and later as Norberg in Police Squad! But it was in these early peplums that he got an early break. They’re not the most demanding of movies for an actor and mainly require a ripped torso which Lupus most certainly possessed. In this one, he comically sports a silly over-sized club that was less Hercules and more Fred Flintstone.

As is often the case in Italian Hercules films there is an evil queen as well as a good girl who the hero must rescue. And also, as seemed to be mostly the way, it’s the evil queen who is the best character in the movie. In this entry it is the extremely alluring Helga Liné who takes up this particular mantle as Taneal the scheming sister in the Babylonian hierarchy. Aside from her, it’s more or less business as usual sword and sandal style, although the production values did seem a little better than normal. The story-line is pretty predictable though and nothing is really there to surprise us. When it’s announced half-way through that there is a large wheel in the catacombs of the city that, when turned by a hundred men, will bring the city cashing down, it’s not a giant stretch guessing what’s going to happen later on…