412. Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)

“BONANZA!”

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“AND IF THAT MAP BURNS, IT’LL BE A GREECE FIRE.”

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Bar Fight.

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Hercules and the Captive Women (1961). Full Movie.

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Is this the Herc movie with “I’m long” at the beginning? I get them all mixed up? But I like that riff because of how common smushing up widescreen was before HDTV.

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I think when this movie was edited to fit into the show’s time slot, some critical exposition must have been lost in the process. Because it’s not all that clear how the bulk of these scenes link together. Near as I can tell, Hercules goes to Atlantis for undisclosed reasons, at least in this cut. Of course, it’s ruled by an evil queen and they have the misfortune of having Uranus as their patron deity. Obviously, this would have been a non-issue in the original Italian but gets very unfortunate in English. Especially when the high priest starts talking about the blood of Uranus. Perhaps if the English dub actors had pronounced it with a short A. This also features a somewhat nebbish Hylas, who in mythology is a companion of Hercules but here is presented as his son.

So I’ve been going through the archives of It’s Just a Show. So far, it’s not bad. But one aspect that grates my cheese is their smug assertion that the SciFi era was a descent into senility for the series. Does anyone ever write in to tell them what a load of horse hoo that is (that they acknowledge anyway)? If not, I may have to send in a polite but firmly worded email detailing why their assertion is flawed.

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You’re confusing this with Hercules Unchained (1959). The opening titles of Unchained is where the “I’m Long” jokes are. They made laugh when I last watched it.

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REAL TALK: GPC had a solid riff in the theater with “Hey, get this, they’re steam cleaning the horses,” but she had a much better riff with “Oh, they found a fun friend!” as some guys pull the little person into the frame.

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She evolved as she sat those few minutes. Utter happiness and excitement chased by the novelty of chiming in on a movie and her inaugural riffs were obvious and “Oh, they found a fun friend!” nodded she was improving and Crow and Tom didn’t complain. She had become one of the gang. “Hey, get this, they’re steam cleaning the horses” is the peak of her riffing and her involvement in the movie and after that she loses interest and eventually leaves. “Fun friend” is the more relaxed riff and highly indicative of the show but I must profess a weakness for the “steam cleaning” line. It is so Gypsy. The fun friend could have been said by the others.

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I hadn’t actively considered this, but I love this interpretation of her time in the theater.

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Post “steam cleaning”, the prophesy scene lands and we see her taking it in but not responding. The badness of the movie sets in and she then says “Um, you guys, you know um, this movie’s really not good.” She suddenly has things to do and she’s gone. A five minute mini-arc within the riff of the movie.

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Season 4 rises to the top. So many strong episodes. The variability, the adversity, the finesse, Space Travelers (1969) to Monster a Go-Go (1965) to Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966). Mystery Science Theater hardened as an expression of culture and comedy into something that would last. And you really caught that during this season.

412 is both midpoint and a prime sample of playing with the form (Gypsy in the theater) and having it land. They were really coming into their own and the tell is how consistent every episode is. The movies were about to get worse and Joel and the Bots would be ready for them. In spades.

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