Tuesday, May 25, 2021

 Hercules and the Captive Women – Film Detective (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1961
Director: Vittorio Cottafavi
Writers: Vittorio Cottafavi, Sandro Continenza, Duccio Tessari, Pierre Benoît, Nicolò Ferrari
Cast: Reg Park, Fay Spain, Ettore Manni, Luciano Marin, Laura Efrikian, Mario Valdemarin, Mimmo Palma, Salvatore Furnari, Raf Baldassarre

Release Date: April 13th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 95 Minutes 9 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95

"Follow the chronicles of Hercules with Reg Park in his Hercules film debut! Action packed from the beginning, Hercules encounters Ismene (Laura Altan) when he must save her from a shape-shifting creature -- and that's just the beginning! Ismene then brings Hercules to Atlantis where they come face to face with the evil Queen Antinea (Fay Spain), Ismene's mother, and try to prevent her dreams of world conquest. Will Hercules prevail?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "4K Restoration from the original 35mm camera negative".

Hercules and the Captive Women comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.8 GB

Feature: 19.1 GB

The source used for this transfer looks clean and source related debris is minimal, colors fare well, black levels leave plenty of room for improvement and though there are moments where the image looks sharp, there are just as many moments where the image looks soft.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The DTS-HD mono mix in English is in very good shape, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and any background hiss is minimal. Included with this release are removable English and Spanish subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an introduction by MST3K writer and co-star Frank Conniff (3 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English), a featurette about Italian Sword and Sandal cinema titled Hercules and The Conquest of Cinema (19 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English), bonus feature film Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K): Hercules and the Captive Women (91 minutes 59 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English), an audio commentary with author/film historian Tim Lucas and a twelve-page booklet with an essay titled The Duel of the Titans: Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, and Reg Park Become Heroes written by C. Courtney Joyner.

Summary:

Italian sword and sandal cinema is a text-book example of a by-the-numbers genre cinema. Though the two Hercules films starring Steve Reeves have a lot of merit, most of the Italian sword and sandal films that followed are not much more than Hercules clones. That said, Steve Reeves' portrayal of Hercules cast a long shadow over all actors who followed him in the role of Hercules. And though Reg Park does a good job in Hercules and the Captive Women. Ultimately his next Hercules film Hercules in the Haunted World would be his best work as an actor.

Italian sword and sandal cinema has not been well represented on home video. With most releases either being pan and scanned versions that severely cropped the scope widescreen frame and transfers from inferior sources. That said, Film Detective’s Hercules and the Captive Women is a strong release that fans of Italian sword and sandal should add to their collection.










Written by Michael Den Boer

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