Gordon Mitchell’s sword-and-sandal debut is a pretty by the numbers affair. Mysterious hero finds baby, determines that it is the rightful king to an oppressed people, evil queen falls in love with him, evil queen is betrayed, 11th hour rescue, hero rides off into the sunset. There is some vague throughline about the baby being the descendant of Odysseus and the ghost of Circe wanting revenge on him, thus necessitating the baby being fed to a cyclops, but it barely pops up, save for the villains to occasionally cite it in an offhanded “oh yeah, motivation” sort of way, and for the big final scene featuring our hero (Maciste, not Atlas, because of course the hero’s name and the name of the movie are different) fighting a man made up to look like a cyclops. It’s a weird moment of ambition in a film that has been defined by how unremarkable it otherwise is. Further complaints are hard to make, as this is one of the notoriously worst dubbed sandal films around, which goes a long way towards explaining Mitchell’s complete lack of charisma and the overly long story for how little actually occurs.

We do have another film that seems to know its audience, though, keeping Mitchell in short skirts the entire time, and giving us frequent close-ups of him flexing or lying languidly on benches or the ground. There’s a minor camp villain as well, and although the obligatory evil queen falls for Maciste, he doesn’t seem particularly interested in return. It never rises to a winking level, giving it a semi-naive feel.

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