29 April 2011 | Bunuel1976
FURY OF ACHILLES (Marino Girolami, 1962) **1/2
This is one of the earliest films I recall watching on Italian TV along with a couple of Maciste efforts; all have not turned up since then, so I was glad to catch ACHILLES again even if in an English-dubbed version (and a rather muddy print at that)! Incidentally, the copy I acquired ran for a hefty 115 minutes (some missing-frames issues probably explaining the 118-minute duration listed on IMDb) – yet, on the "Film.It.Tv" website, its length is given as just 92?!
Interestingly, the film makes for a variation on/companion piece to the superior THE Trojan HORSE from the previous year (though that one actually had an official sequel, albeit emerging a much-inferior product, in THE LAST GLORY OF TROY, also from 1962!). Although Achilles also appeared in the first of those titles, he was given his own 'vehicle' here; curiously enough, since this was helmed by Girolami, it is worth mentioning that his more famous director son – Enzo G. Castellari – would make his own modern-day rendition of The Trojan War with the entertaining HECTOR THE MIGHTY (1972)!
Anyway, muscle-man Gordon Mitchell is Achilles (demonstrating his essential lack of education by bursting into "Hi-yah!" yells when commanding his troops into battle rather than the more formal "Forward!" uttered by his peers Patrocles, Ulysses – played by "Euro-Cult" stalwart Piero Lulli and depicted as a greedy fellow – and Aegamemnon!). The titular rage, then, is certainly present in the hero's characteristics given his frequent outbursts but, obviously, it is a specific reference to the legendary 'unbeatable' warrior's revenge over buddy Patrocles' death when he surreptitiously dons Achilles' armor to face the enemy champion Hector; ironically, though much is made of the protagonist's own death occurring soon after that of Hector's, the film cuts abruptly following the latter's demise!
The film is certainly above-average for the genre but, as I said, still some way behind THE Trojan HORSE (for the record, this had starred Mitchell's rival in the field Steve Reeves) which, by largely eschewing the essentially low-brow nature of this one, had proved among the more literate peplums out there...