11 December 2006 | mhrabovsky1-1
The movie that launched the career of muscle man Steve Reeves.... In the late 1950s Italian director Pietro Franicisi wanted to do a film about the exploits of the famous muscleman, "Hercules"...he had scoured actors all over Europe looking for a handsome, musclebound actor who could complement the role...soon his daughter who had seen Reeves in a couple of B films recommended Reeves to her father....the rest was history. Reeves was an out of work muscleman actor who reportedly took the role for about $40,000 US cash - quite a sum at the time for an unemployed actor. The rest as they say is history. When first released it was panned by the major US studios until a film producer named Joseph E. Levine took a big chance and bought all the rights to the film's USA release. After a major US advertising campaign on television and in the newspapers the film confounded the experts and for some strange reason became an international hit. The timing was right for some unknown reason for this cheaply made muscle man movie to become a hit. At the time fantasy films, such as the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and others were big at the box office. Reeves incredible physique and handsome face were big attractions to the young boys and ladies who went to see the film. Levine hit the jackpot again when Francisi made "Hercules Unchained" a few months later after the release of "Hercules". "Hercules Unchained " made even more money, in fact an astounding amount in 1960 and became one of the year's biggest grossing films. Soon, Italian directors jumped on the bandwagon and starting churning out these muscleman epics by the dozens.....Gordon Scott, Mark Forrest,Reg Lewis, and Kirk Morris all tried to duplicate Reeves in these "epics".....and the public loved them. Reeves went on to make several more muscleman epics in the late 50s and early 60s playing Morgan the Pirate, The Thief of Bagdad, Goliath, The White Warrior, The Son of Spartacus and other muscleman epics. An odd twist to Reeves career was the fact that he reportedly turned down two roles that became international sensations: He was offered the role of James Bond by producer Cubby Broccoli and "The Man with No name" made popular by Clint Eastwood and made by Sergio Leone....for whatever reason Reeves turned the roles down....hard to understand. Reeves retired to ranching, his first love in the late 60s and raised cattle and horses until his death in 2001. The greatest physique ever seen on a man....probably the most admired bodybuilder of all time.