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Hercules and the conquest of Atlantis

Reg did five peplum films, also known as word and sandal, a genere very popular in the end of the 50s and the half of the 60s. The first of theses films was Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (English Translation: Hercules at the Conquest of Atlantis) filmed in 1961, An Italian-French international co-production. Directed by Vittorio Cottafavi. The film is also known as Hercules Conquers Atlantis in the United Kingdom, and Hercules and the Captive Women in the USA. As Hercules and the Captive Women, it was featured on a fourth season episode of the Comedy Central series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Plot

When strange atmospheric events occur in the disunited city states of Ancient Greece, a forum debates what action to take. As there is no agreement, Androcles King of Thebes seeks the assistance of his friend, the legendary Hercules. Hercules, now married to Deianira with a son named Hylas, does not wish to leave the comfort of his family, though Hylas is keen for adventure. Androcles takes matters in his own hands by drugging and kidnapping Hercules and placing him aboard a ship manned by a disreputable collection of former slaves and criminals. The only members of the expedition Androcles can trust are his sidekick, Timoteo the dwarf and Hylas who has to hide below deck from Hercules lest he face his wrath for leaving home. Rather than being angry Hercules merely lazes away on deck without offering any assistance. Continuing their voyage, a storm wrecks the ship with all of them separated. Hercules sees a vision of Androcles begging for his help. Coming ashore on a mist shrouded island he sees a woman held captive not only chained to a cliff, but gradually becoming a part of the rock formation. When he rescues her he has to fight Proteus a god able to change form into various creatures. Defeating Proteus, Hercules discovers the woman he rescued is Princess Ismene, daughter of Antinea, the Queen of Atlantis that is where Hercules has landed. Hercules soon discovers his son Hylas and Timoteo and bring the rescued Princess to Antinea.

Though welcomed at first, Ismene discovers that she has been selected for sacrifice as a prophecy foretells that if she is not killed Atlantis and its population will be destroyed. The death of Proteus has already stripped Atlantis of its protective fog that keeps it unseen by the outside world. Ismene is recaptured and taken for execution. Antinea denies all knowledge of Androcles, however Androcles memory has been taken away and he is hidden from his friends. During a celebration Hercules discovers that children are selected and taken away from their parents for an unknown reason. Things fall into place when Hercules and his companions not only rescue Ismene but a large group of prisoners in a pit. The rescued prisoners explain that children are taken to a special stone that either transforms them either into blonde supermen or disfigures the weak ones who are placed in the pit. A priest explains that the stone is from the blood of Uranus. The power of Uranus’s stone has created Antinea an invicible army of black uniformed blonde supermen that she plans to conquer the world with.

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