21 January 2009 | OldAle1
Silly Sword and Sandals entry is stupid fun with one solid acting job
The Italian title is "Saffo, venere di Lesbo" which I guess is something like "Sappho, Venus of Lesbos" but anybody who can read Italian go ahead and correct me (Babelfish was no help). Doesn't matter, you get the idea - this is a peplum, Italian sword-and-sandals cheapie, and Sappho (Tina Louise) happens to be the main character. Of course this bears little or no resemblance to the historic poetess, and anybody thinking that "sappho" and "lesbos" means there's going to be some girl-girl action here had best be disabused of that right away. "The Warrior Empress" is probably as good a title as any for this cheesy romp, when it comes down to it.
Sappho is one of the heirs of Melanchrus, a slovenly and sybaritic king who keeps taxing the people beyond their means and ultimately inciting a revolt. Kerwin Matthews is Phaon the double-agent in the king's guard who leads the revolt and, of course, falls for Sappho who is however promised to Hyperbius (Italian actor Riccardo Garrone in the sole good performance in the film). Fighting and declaiming over freedom, and a really badly staged and laughable sea battle between two triremes follow.
The sets are as cardboard and pathetic as anything out of the original "Star Trek" and Matthews' and Louise' acting is of a par. Still, laughable fun and I look forward to exploring more of this genre someday.