Thursday, April 15, 2010
THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961) -
The only true peplum (or '50s-'60s Italian sword and sandal film) on my list of loincloth epics to watch is also likely to be the dullest. With spaghetti western maestro Sergio Leone at the helm and on his home turf in his first credited film, I hoped there might be a few interesting stylistic touches, a little bit of the widescreen Leone magic in its embryonic stages. What I got was a lackluster hero who looks like Dean Martin in a toga, lots of talk about evil Phoenicians and lots of fretting about a giant, immobile statue (Colossus) that ain't got nuthin' on Talos from Argonauts.
Not that I wanted or expected wailing harmonicas or extreme close-ups in 280 B.C. But, Sergio, give me something to rest my weary eyes on other than Super TotalScope (the Italian Cinemascope!) shots of dudes in color-coordinated Rhodesian spring outerwear. I know this was probably just a foot-in-the-door film for Sergio, and he probably didn't want to ruffle too many genre feathers. Luckily for film buffs, he found surer footing later in a distinctly American genre -- the western.