Lion of Thebes (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lion of Thebes (1964)





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This is an interesting entry in the Italian muscleman genre of the early '60s. Set in the wake of the destruction of Troy, Lion of Thebes tells of Helen's flight from the vengeance of the Greeks, in the company of her loyal protector Arion (Mark Forest). She falls into the hands of the pharaoh Ramses, who sits on the throne of Thebes and is opposed by the aging pharaoh Menophis. Ramses plans to marry Helen, but he is murdered by his jealous councilor. Arion must save her life when she is accused of the murder and sentenced to death. The plot intricacies intersect with elements of Land of the Pharaohs, with its court intrigue and treachery, but the presence of Forest adds an element of excitement to go with the exoticism of the settings and story, with his taciturn demeanor and always-at-the-ready muscleman heroics. Also interesting is Yvonne Furneaux's portrayal of Helen as a woman who genuinely regrets her beauty and the mistakes to which it has driven men, as well as King Menelaus as a man torn by vengeful passion and greed.
Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Helen, Queen of Sparta and the lust-object by just about every male character to ever be mentioned in the Illiad and the Odyssey (Forneaux), escapes the fall of Troy with her faithful bodyguard Aryan (Forest) to safety in the Egyptian city of Thebes. But succor is not to be found, as Pharaoh Rameses (Cressoy) is dazzled by her great beauty and wants to make her [i]his[/i] queen. "Lion of Thebes" is one of the better examples of the "epic" boom of the Italian film industry in the 1960s. With excellent costumes, great sets, attractive cast, and a better-than-average script, it's a film that should be on the "must-see" list for anyone who likes low-fantasy movies. The scenes with Menelaus (Alberto Lupo), Helen's one-time husband, are priceless, by the way. His "what trouble is that skank causing now?" respoonse to Aryan when he seeks him out for help are among the best moments of the film. The biggest weaknesses of the film is that its a bit slow in getting in going, the director and/or cinematographer had no clue how to shoot the obligatory goofy dance performance at the obligatory feast of honor--most of the time, we're treated the backs of the audiences' heads, as if a proud parent with no clue how to run a camcorder was filming their daughter's dance recital--and that once again we have a movie where a supporting actress is actually more beautiful than the one playing the legendary Helen of Troy. (Not that I wouldn't mind sharing a bed with 1960s-era Yvonne Furneaux, but I wouldn't have kicked Rosalba Neri out of it for her.) Lion of Thebes Starring: Yvonne Furneaux, Mark Forest, Rosalba Neri, Massimo Serato, Pierre Cressoy, and Alberto Lupo Director: Giorgio Ferroni

Steve Miller
Steve Miller

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