11 April 2009 | Bunuel1976
THE MIGHTY URSUS (Carlo Campogalliani, 1961) **
This is one of 4 films I will be watching during this Easter Epic marathon revolving around the titular muscle-bound hero (inspired by a character in QUO VADIS ). In the long run, this proved to be a tolerable outing (with a script co-written by Sergio Sollima) – though it nearly shot itself in the foot immediately, with the silly quasi-Alpine chanting accompanying the opening credits (especially unwarranted in the wake of a massacre which had just occurred in the prologue moments before!). Ed Fury is a serviceable lead as these films go; also in the cast is a very young Soledad Miranda (though nearly 10 more years would have to pass before she rose to minor stardom in a handful of Jess Franco movies, which eventually developed into a cult following her tragic death soon after). The plot sees the hero returning from war only to discover that his intended (Moira Orfei) has been abducted; so, he sets out in search of her with a devoted but blind slave/shepherdess in tow (who, amazingly, regains her sight when she gets hit in the head by a bull in the arena!). Incidentally, the latter animal – whom Ursus also fought in the aforementioned Hollywood epic milestone – unaccountably beats Fury (or, more precisely, his stand-in) to a pulp before the latter can muster enough strength (or is that anger?) to overpower it! As it happens, Orfei is revealed to have turned cruel and evil in the interim, getting her just desserts in the end
which, of course, leaves the hero free rein with the gushing shepherdess.