Hercules and the Queen of Lydia, known in the U.S. as Hercules Unchained (1959) (Ercole e la regina di Lidia) is the sequel to Hercules (1958) that helped inspire the popularity of the 1960s sword and sandal craze. Steve Reeves returns as Hercules and Sylva Koscina plays his wife Iole.
Plot Summary Edit
While travelling, Hercules is asked to intervene in a quarrel between two brothers over who should rule Thebes, Greece. Before he can complete this task, Hercules drinks from a magic spring and loses his memory. He spends most of the movie in Queen Omphale of Lydia's pleasure gardens. While young Ulysses tries to help him regain his memory, Hercules' wife, Iole, finds herself in danger from the ruler of Thebes.
The plot draws names from a mishmash of various Greek legends and plays, notably The Seven Against Thebes for the dispute between the two brothers Eteocles and Polynices in Thebes, and the tale of Hercules' indenture to Omphale which he underwent as a penance for murder. (His line "I wove the threads [of my memory] together" is the film's sole reference to his task in the legend, of spinning thread and weaving with Omphale's attendants.) The movie widely deviates from the source material, though, haphazardly mixing times and featuring characterizations different than those portrayed in the myths.
- Hercules Unchained was featured in the fourth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- This movie features the final film appearance of boxer Primo Carnera, who appears in the opening as the giant Antaeus, who dares to fight Hercules for Iole.
- Hercules Unchained was also seen on Steve Smith's Playhouse under the name "Hercules Unchanged," with Steve Smith taking over the dialogue of Hercules.
- The film has received numerous 'bargain bin' releases'.
- The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the 'Collection, Volume 7' box set.