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  • That "Il figlio di Spartacus" is one of the better sword'n'sandal flicks of the main period (1958-64) is basically due to two aspects: a fluent storyline and original sets in Egypt.

    Writers Adriano Bolzoni, Bruno Corbucci and Giovanni Grimaldi (plus perhaps director Sergio Corbucci) have scripted a plot that continues the story of Spartacus where Stanley Kubrick left off in 1960 in his Hollywood production with Kirk Douglas. While Kubrick certainly stuck to the historical facts, the follow-up is complete fiction. Tough daredevil Douglas is replaced by smart bodybuilder Steve Reeves as his son, although this was not the worst choice. Reeves, the original Hercules performer of 1958, does quite well in the rôle of Randus, a Roman centurio (this seems to be considered as the highest military rank in "peplums"!), who is confronted with the fact that he seems to be the son of the legendary slave leader, Spartacus, who had once been smashed and crucified by the Roman consul, Crassus. Reeves' good looks distinguish him from Douglas very remarkably, but there's his Germanic combatant Verus (Franco Balducci), who is styled like Douglas two years ealier.

    They needed to change history to a considerable extent (the story takes place in 48 B.C. when the real Crassus was already dead for five years) so that the fictive Randus could be 23 (Reeves was 36 by then) and Caesar could be involved. Note that the Sphinx has already lost its nose (which it did only 1850 years later) while serving as a likeable background to a talk between Caesar (Ivo Garrani), his adjutant Verulus (Renato Baldini, who has almost nothing to say), and Randus. Choosing the Egyptian landscape, including desert, oases and the pyramids of Gizeh, for the outdoor scenes adds greatly to the picture's atmosphere.

    Corbucci manages to handle the camera positions and angles very well, almost experimentally for a production like this. Director of photography was Enzo Barboni, the later standard director of the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer movies. There is a foreshadowing of the spaghetti westerns not only in the techniques, but also with a surprisingly high level of brutality as depicted by Corbucci.

    The story's main idea has Randus in the dilemma of being a Roman officer on the one hand and having the experience of being enslaved on the other. Only in this situation, he feels into the slaves' minds and puts himself at the head of the revolt against Crassus. The rest is a bit stealing from the "Zorro" idea, including the "S" (for Spartacus) mark. As Western European ideology would have it (we're at the climax of American-Russian confrontation) before a revolutionary attitude became fashionable in Italo westerns, Randus fights for freedom (from slavery), not for redistribution of capital.

    Gianna Maria Canale, leading actress of many a peplum since the earlier days (playing the title rôle in "Teodora", among others), is fine as Crassus' love interest. But Claudio Gora can give all he can as the terrible Crassus, right down to an exaggerated paranoid Nero-like figure.

    It's worth while, anyway.
  • "The Slave" (aka Son of Spartacus) is a an excellent action Reeves film with a good story line to borrow from (the original Spartacus). Reeves learns of his heritage after being captured by a band of slave drivers in the Egyptian desert - also tagging along is a beautiful slave girl who along with Reeves survives being dumped overboard by a ship which hits a barge in the River. Great scene,when Reeves doubtful that he is Spartacus's son walks slowly into a small catacomb and finds the helmet and sword of Spartacus and muses for several minutes about his heritage - linking a medallion he has worn since birth with the same emblem on the sword handle of Spartacus. Also great action scene when Reeves rescues a band of prisoners of Ceasar Crassus who are tied into a large moat with water rushing in to cause a drowning execution. Excellent sword and action with several bad guys being wiped out by Steve, looking like an adonis with a metal helmet on in a great swashbuckling scene.....Reeves as a tribune of Ceasar finally realizes as did his dad, Spartacus, that the Roman empire cannot survive as a slave empire.....reluctantly Ceasar realizes it also and gives Reeves and his slave followers their freedom. Good cloak and dagger role for Steve as he poses as a tribune working for Caesar and also as the Son of Spartacus - wearing an impressive full head helmet to complete his disguise.

  • This is one of Steve Reeve's best ever films and possibly the last one in which he was in a tribune or Roman centurion costume...... Italian director Sergio Corbucci conconted up an idea to continue the life of Spartacus with Reeves as his son gaining a large measure of revenge on corrupt Roman counsel Ceasar Crassus who is running an illegal corrupt empire right in the heart of roman territory....In fact Crassus is getting so powerful that Ceaser himself sends Reeves to investigate what Crassus's methods are and report back to Caeser. Along the way on his trip to see Crassus the ship that Reeves is in hits a river barge and dumps him and a lovely Italian slave named Saida into the river. Reeves survives and he and Saida walk through the roman desert unaware that slave drivers are rounding up all the slaves they can to be bought and sold. Reeves and his gal are captured and Reeves breaks loose from the pack and wreaks his revenge on slave leaders with some dazzling sword work, wiping out a flock of slave drivers. One of the members of the slave band recognize a medallion worn by Reeves as the symbol of Spartacus, since the slave member was a member of Spartacus's force twenty years earlier. Reeves initially is unconvinced that he is truly the son of Spartacus and muses in a catacomb about his true identity. He sees the sword handle of Spartacus and it is the same talisman as his medallion. Reeves recognizes his true heritage and goes to work on wiping out Crassus and his evil by raid Reeves and his band wipe out Crassus's gang all the while maintaining his identity as a roman centurion from the end Reeves is caught and given a death sentence by Crassus....his followers then free him and Caesar must make a decision as to whether or not Reeves followed his orders as a true centurion. Caesar gives Reeves a death sentence but Reeves followers come to his rescue and Caesar relents. Good love story and the beautiful Ombretta Colli is Reeves's love interest. After this film Reeves became "Sandokan" and made one western in 1966 before retiring for good. I just love this film and Reeves had that marvelous physique that made any man drool!!!!! The immortal Steve Reeves, what a face and a body......
  • By 1970 Son of Spartacus (now out on DVD) found itself relegated to Saturday morning matinées, which is hardly surprising since Steve Reeves here seems to be getting twice as much combat duty as in most of the other Italian epics. So much so, one could hardly miss the kiddies re-enacting his many sword fights on the way home. Grown-ups too had something to admire, especially the eye-catching Ombretta Colli who conveniently gets shipwrecked with Reeves on a beach with her costume cut to shreds. This might prove an embarrassment to Miss Colli in later years when she went into Italian politics, no doubt hoping her voters would not remember her cheesecake days.

    However, it is film music fans who have most to cheer, with a score derived from no less than three of the top Italian film composers. While Son of Spartacus was being filmed in Egypt during March and April of 1962, veteran maestro Carlo Innocenzi sadly died (on March 24). His stirring main title can still be heard in the M-G-M release, and it's an impressive full orchestral version of the slow execution march for Princess Elea in Goliath Against the Giants (1961). For the opening scenes M-G-M simply recycle Innocenzi's battle music from Goliath Against the Giants, but the opening narration is accompanied by the lovely "Glauco e Antonino" track from Lavagnino's Last Days of Pompeii (1959). For the rest of the score we get a mixture of new music by Piero Piccioni (a haunting desert tune and a rousing finale march when Reeves ultimately triumphs), plus some prior Piccioni material from Duel of the Titans (1961). The Italian language version (also available on DVD) is scored by Piccioni throughout, with a different main title adapted from "Amulio" in Duel of the Titans. Piccioni's entire score, including some unused cues, can be enjoyed on a CD thanks to those dedicated vault raiders at Digitmovies
  • Steve Reeves plays a high-ranking Roman centurion who finds out he's the son of the infamous rebel slave leader and spearheads a revolt, of course, in one of the better "sword & sandal" entries. Mixing the backstory of Moses (instead of a swaddling cloth, an amulet gives him away) with the exploits of a comic book superhero (Reeves sneaks off every now and then to shuck his tunic for dad's face-covering armor), director Corbucci took the tale and ran with it, producing some impressive mise-en-scène amidst his unexpectedly inventive camera-work. Gianna Maria Canale as Crassus' cougar wife does little more than lounge around on divans and ogle our hero but no matter, it's always a pleasure to see her in peplum like this.
  • I will never forget this film it was brilliant, ok, just another Cowboy and Indian style film, but it worked, and maybe it was terrible after Kubrick's version of Spartacus, but hey, this was a completely different film, and it was aimed at kids of my age, you can't say that of Spartacus. No, the masked man was great, 40 years on, I still think about it, all I wish is I could see it again, never been able to get a copy.
  • One of the better Sword and Sandal movies from the golden era of the genre (the 1960's). Awesome to see Steve Reeves in his prime. If this movie had been made in the 1980's, no doubt Schwarzenegger would have been the lead. Beautifully shot on location in Egypt, the setting really does seem to improve the movie. Lot's of action, plenty of sword fights and cool set pieces. I think what stood out to me the most about this movie was the similarities to the "Zorro" story. Reeve's character is a bit like a super hero, darting off out of view to change in to a costume (son of Spartacus) that hides his true identity. Zorro would leave his mark, a "Z" carved with his sword. Son of Spartacus leaves an "S" carved or painted in to shields and walls to terrorize the abusive governor. It really did strike me as "Zorro" set in Roman times and happening in Egypt. Check out the size of the mole on the neck of the guy that played Caesar. Holy crap, he should have had that thing surgically removed. It was like a vestigial twin living on his shoulder/neck. Grotesque!

    Overall, a good sword and sandal movie that I would have loved when I was 8 - 12 years old. Somehow I only just saw this movie for the first time now that I am 45 years old, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Copyright 31 December 1962 by Titanus-Arta Cinematografica. Released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. New York opening at neighborhood cinemas on a double bill with "It Happened at the World's Fair": 29 May 1963. U.S. release: 29 May 1963. U.K. release: 29 December 1963. Australian release: 22 August 1963. 9,180 feet. 102 minutes. Original Italian title: Il FIGLIO DI SPARTACUS. U.S. release title: The SLAVE.

    SYNOPSIS: In 48 B.C., Julius Caesar sends a young centurion named Randus to investigate the rule of the corrupt Grassus in the province of Lydia. En route by sea, Randus' ship runs aground and he is captured by a band of slave drivers. But he leads a revolt and the slaves defeat and destroy their captors. By means of an amulet he wears, Randus is then identified as the son of Spartacus, the gladiator-slave who was crucified twenty years earlier for warring against Rome. Arriving in Lydia, Randus is met by Grassus, his wily mistress Clodia, and her warrior brother Vezio. Outwardly pretending friendship, Randus secretly carries on his father's work by leading the enslaved Lydians in a revolt.

    NOTES: Released in Italy in 1962 in a 110-minute version. The version released by M-G-M in America, England and Australia was of course English-dubbed.

    COMMENT: Most of the sword-and-sandal epics released in such profusion in the 1960s were instantly forgettable exploitation, drive-in fare. "The Son of Spartacus", though obviously designed to cash in on the success of the Kirk Douglas hit, was a surprising exception which unexpectedly offered audiences really outstanding entertainment. A large part of "Spartacus" it will be remembered was taken up with gladiatorial combat. Unlike "Barabbas", "Son of Spartacus" does not make the mistake of showing audiences these scenes all over again. Instead, Andriano Bolzoni's astonishingly literate script concentrates on Caesar's campaign against Grassus. These two are superbly brought to life by Ivo Garrani and Claudio Gora, respectively. As Grassus's lieutenant, Jacques Sernas acquits himself well, as does Gianna Maria Canale (as his sister), Ombretta Colli (the slave girl) and even Steve Reeves in the title role (a very pleasingly accented English voice is used for Mr. Reeves instead of the strident American tones employed for him in previous epics).

    Corbucci's direction is quite interesting (I like his profile studies of Caesar and Clodia), while Franco Giraldi's 2nd unit work in the shadow of the Pyramids themselves is vigorously staged and most effective.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Top-notch production values highlight this expensive-looking peplum yarn, starring genre titan Steve Reeves in one of his typically muscular and macho leading roles. The film is crisp and colourful throughout, making use of some spectacular desert locations and even a location shot at the Sphinx, which, if faked, has to be one of the best pieces of back projection work ever. We get towering cliffs, open seas, an ancient tomb, arid deserts, and plenty more interesting landscapes over which the action plays out. On top of this there's a stirring score with one of the best themes I've heard in a peplum film which really adds to the tons of action we have displayed on screen.

    The plot is literate and interesting, not to mention unusual, as it depicts the son of Spartacus continuing his father's fight to free the slaves of Roman whilst at the same time masquerading as a loyal Roman soldier. There are lots of battles, hand-to-hand combat, and heroic acts, as Reeves frees men being crucified in a pool from drowning, causing huge lumps of rock to crash down on attacking soldiers. Men are chucked in acid baths and left to burn, slaves are whipped and tortured by their cruel captors, and all manner of incident and court intrigue highlight what is a superior movie for the genre.

    Steve Reeves puts in what is one of his best performances as the stern, heroic lead, not over the top muscular here but still looking like a Greek God when he runs around in his shiny silver helmet and rights wrongs against the oppressed in some well-handled and usually exciting scenes of battle and action. The supporting cast, which includes genre regular Gianna Maria Canale, is a good mix with some Italian beauties thrown in for love interest like an attractive slave girl and lots of varied characters to keep things alive. SON OF SPARTACUS is a good example of the peplum genre at its most mainstream and intelligent, occasionally melancholic and moving but always well-paced, and an enjoyable experience to boot.
  • This film, made at the twilight of Mr. Reeves film career, is certainly one of his best. The location work in Egypt and a rather big budget look add a great amount of, shall I say it?, realism to an essentially escapist, fantastical genre- the Italian sword and sandal flicks of the 1958-64 period. This picture also features some extremely diabolical villainy on the part of Crassus. Sir Laurence Olivier wasn't nearly this outrageously evil playing the same character in SPARTACUS! Steve's dilemma is pretty heavy in this one, doing a complete 180 from up and coming Roman centurions to advocate warrior of the freedom movement for the slaves of Rome. The action scenes stand up pretty well after 40 plus years.
  • Chiseled, muscular Steve Reeves made a career out of playing Hercules, roman warriors, and downtrodden commoners. in this italian production, he turns out to be the son of Spartacus, and must prove his glory and worth, just as his father did before him. sandals. swords. sword fights. silly outfits. grand battles. it's the traditional palace intrigue, building alliances which may or may not hold. more sword fights. Directed by italian Sergio Corbucci, wrote, co-wrote and directed many a film. it's EXACTLY what you think its going to be. no big dealio.
  • From Sergio Corbucci, director of the classic spaghetti westerns "The Great Silence" and "Django," comes a routine, but serviceable Italian sword-and-sandal epic staring Steve Reeves, best know for his many Hercules films. This was Reeves final on-screen appearance in this particular genre, later moving onto pirate and western films. "The Slave" has Reeves cast a Roman soldier who discovers he's actually the son of Spartacus, a slave turned gladiator turned rebel leader against the Roman Empire. Like his father, Reeves ends up leading a slave revolt. Unlike the Stanley Kubrick version of Spartacus, this film is minus interesting characters, dialogue, and narrative. However, Corbucci does bring strong visuals to the film and the production values of "The Slave" is better than most Italian sword-and-sandal pictures, which makes this film worth checking out for fans of these admittedly silly films.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Probably due to the fact that it got backing from a major Hollywood studio, the Italian sword and sandal movie "The Slave" is one of the best looking examples of the genre that reigned in theaters in the 1960s. The shot in Egypt backdrop looks haunting and spectacular, the sets look gigantic and authentic, and the costumes are also first rate. It's a pity then, however, that the feel of the movie is less of a grabber (and much less fun) than many other sword and sandal movies that were churned out on much lower budgets. The story is kind of slow and talky, and the action not only often takes a long time to come, its choreography and direction is strictly routine at best. Another big problem with the movie is the depiction of the main character. There is somewhat less focus on the protagonist than you might think, and as a result he doesn't feel up front and center. It's also hard to figure out what exactly pushes him to embrace his heritage. As the protagonist, Steve Reeves somehow has less charisma and screen presence than he had in other movies of this kind. I wouldn't say this movie is terrible, but it wastes a lot of potential, and I would only recommend it to people who are really into the sword and sandal genre.
  • Minus the beard and the voice that came from the large intestine., Steve Reeves is cast in this film as a Roman centurion and highly regarded aide to Julius Caesar. Yet because of an amulet he wears he's discovered to be the son of the legendary Spartacus.

    It helps to understand the film if you've seen the Kirk Douglas classic Spartacus. If you remember the end the widow of Spartacus Jean Simmons is rushed out of Rome and out of the reach of Crassus. Presumably the kid had a good Roman upbringing and now has a career in the Roman Legion. He's come to the attention of Julius Caesar in a good way.

    Which is why he's sent on a mission to Crassus who's guarding the Empire out in the East and getting richer and richer on plunder. This is where Steve Reeves discovers his real roots, kind of like the Charlton Heston as Moses discovered his roots in The Ten Commandments.

    Reeves is all in sympathy with the people rebelling against Crassus and like in The Desert Song the Roman Centurion and establishment figure becomes a Red Shadow like leader. Good he could be ridding Julius Caesar of a rival figure in his quest for power, bad he is rebelling against Rome. What's a dictator to do?

    Although The Slave blends elements of far better films in it, it's an all right piece of peplum product. Reeves has a decent speaking voice on his own for this film. And those pecs and abs are still outstanding.
  • After the international success of HERCULES, the Steve Reeves Swords-and-Sandals vehicle THE SLAVE clearly had some money spent on its production values -- good costumes and some nice sets to accent good camera lighting abound. The plot, typical of peplum movies, is a mishmosh of themes intended to take advantage of recent hits.

    Reeves is a Roman centurion working for the noble Julius Caesar in Rome. He is captured by leopard-skin wearing desert barbarians working for the evil Crassus, escapes, gets captured again, is enslaved, identified as Spartacus' son (hence the movie's Italian title) and leads a slave rebellion.

    Director Sergio Corbucci does his usual highly competent job, abetted by the handsome production values that Cinecitta was capable of; kudos especially to director of Photography Enzo Baroni, whose lighting suggests illustrations on parchment. Although the writing never rises above the level of silliness that such cheap epics aspired to, fans of the genre will find plenty to enjoy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A thing should be what it is, and "The Slave" fulfills all the requirements of a sword and sandal movie. There are, of course, plenty of fighting and beautiful girls in settings worthy of the big screen. You couldn't want more lavish costumes (or more revealing of female--and male--pulchritude). So, a lot of fun!

    When you remember what was going on in America in 1962, however, the film goes from gladiator movie to political allegory. A story about the son of the slave Spartacus trying to free slaves from an empire divided between the honorable military man Caesar and the "crass" and Greedy Crassus, who cares about nothing but gold, is a version of America. If the great Julius Caesar can show mercy to freed slaves, then so can the American Caesar. And as the son of Spartacus returns his sword to its spot at the grave of his crucified father, we are told it lies there only to be taken up to fight slavery anywhere. There is your heroic lesson, America!

    Of course, you might argue that this is rather simplistic, and it is, but allegory is often simplistic because it has to be to get its message across. And when you consider its original audience (I first saw it in 1962 when I was 9), simplicity is a pretty good strategy.

    So, The Slave deserves credit for working on two levels--escapist fantasy and political commentary. It was rather progressive for its time, I'd say. 55 years later, we could use another such movie in this summer of Trump. Until we get it, I suggest you check out The Slave.