Pietro Francisci's Hercules

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Pietro Francisci's Hercules is a film which, although hearkening back to the original Greek myth of Heracles, does not faithfully relate any of the events presented in the the ancient version of the life of the fabled demi-god. Rather, it presents a light-hearted storyline filled with action and romance which incorporates very few elements of the myth while avoiding the darker, more violent aspects of the events, no doubt broadening its appeal to American movie-goers in the fifties. The plot begins with the arrival of Hercules to Jeloco, where he's been summoned to mentor Iphitus, the son of the reigning king Pelias, in preparation for his eventual ascendancy to the throne. Immediately upon his arrival, he meets Iole, the daughter of Pelias and, saving her from her mangled chariot, accompanies her home. During their time together, she tells him of Eurysteus, a prisoner who had killed a woman and pocketed her money, the suspicious death of her uncle, and the theft of the golden fleece. When Hercules intones that he had heard that the murder had been prompted by the king Pelias, she balks that the suggestion. There is a mild spark between them, and the foreshadowing of a deeper romance. When they reach the palace of the king, Hercules hears the oracle sharing her vision of the one-sandaled challenger to the throne who is sure to arrive. Later, we learn that Pelias and Eurysteus are allied, and Pelias had indeed hired the criminal to end the life of his brother and steal the

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