One of the aspects of the PEPLUM genre which irks me is the dismissive attitude of the success of HERCULES (1958). Many say that it became popular because of clever marketing by Joseph E. Levine. The marketing aspect for the U.S. release might be one of the reasons but not the only reason. This claim basically says the movie is worthless and that it didn’t have any redeeming qualities.
I’ll be writing about this for an article in the soon to be published magazine of BY THE GODS!.
What do you think made this movie such a success? The movie rivalled along much bigger Hollywood movies.
What is it just clever marketing? The movie is just darn good? The casting of Steve Reeves as Hercules?
Steve Reeves as Hercules and crew of the Argonaut.
When HERCULES, the Steve Reeves classic, was released in 1958 around the world, the name Joseph E. Levine wasn’t featured on any posters, lobby cards or even during the opening credits. Levine eventually purchased the rights for the movie for distribution in North America and he made a fortune since it became a success in the US. But the movie was also a hit around the world sans Levine’s help.
HERCULES was distributed in Britain (presumably the UK) by Archway Film Distributors. Below are some of the advertising and lobby cards of this release.
This looks like the cover of a press book, and if not then it’s the ad shown in print (newspapers, magazines, etc). It’s really cool since:
1 – Joseph E Levine’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on it.
2 – It states that the movie is making ‘record business’ on its premiere run
3 – It has, in very small print, the name of the original Italian film company
The photos for the lobby cards set are mostly different than the US one. Unfortunately, there are no dates on them.
Stuff from the UK is interesting in that titles released directly to TV in the US were actually released in theatres in the UK. And most often than not their titles differed from the (goofy) ones for the US. In this case though, the title for the US and UK distributions were the same.
What’s with Japanese poster art and design which makes things so cool and dramatic? Anyway, these vintage ads and article were taken from old magazines.
HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). Great montage which includes stuff from the first film.
I can’t read Japanese so don’t ask me what it’s saying. Haha!
Unbeknownst to me, there are (or were) some board games based on Hercules.
This one is called FEATS OF HERCULES and it’s from the 90s. Funny enough, it’s in Greek! Can’t find an English version of this.
Board game based on the animated movie from Disney. It’s a board game for kids.
I’m still trying to figure out what this game is. It’s called ‘THE LABOURS OF HERCULES: Taming the beast within’ puzzle game. There are 4 different packs.
This one looks the most interesting. The creators are Chinese but text is in English. According to a board games website, the game was never published but one set is available on eBay. There are videos on Youtube about it.