9 December 2009 | steven-222
I'm an American collector of Ancient World movies, so I was delighted to find this movie on German DVD. I do wish it had English subtitles...but between my knowledge of the plot (based on the play by Plautus) and the addable German subtitles, I had no difficulty following this wonderful romp set in ancient Thebes, as the god Jupiter (assisted by Mercury) descends to earth to woo the lovely Alcmeme by taking the guise of her absent husband, Amphrityon. When the real Amphitryon returns triumphant from the wars, the comic plot thickens. (But unlike the Plautus original, here the interrupted affair between Alcmene and Jupiter does NOT result in the birth of Hercules; how then was the demigod born?)
The music is delightful, the comic confusions are rendered with a light touch, and the elegant sets, costumes, and special effects are pure eye-candy.
A bonus on the German DVD is a half-hour doc giving some background to the story, as well as production stills and footage. Curiously, director Reinhold Schünzel shot a simultaneous version of Amphityron in French with different actors, and some clips show how the two versions look and sound side by side.
Amphitryon is not well known outside Germany but is nonetheless a world cinematic treasure.