Review: ‘Hercules Returns’

Hercules Returns follows in the footsteps of Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily? by completely revamping and revoicing a bad old foreign film.

Hercules Returns follows in the footsteps of Woody Allen’s What’s Up Tiger Lily? by completely revamping and revoicing a bad old foreign film.

Melbourne-based comics Des Mangan and Sally Patience have adapted their live show, ‘Double Take Meets Hercules,’ with assistance from first-time director David Parker, who’s better known as a screenwriter and cinematographer working in partnership with his wife, Nadia Tass. Parker has directed about 18 minutes of framing footage, but most of Hercules Returns consists of the revoiced film.

The framing material features film buff Brad McBain (David Argue), who refurbishes a rundown picture palace to show his favorite movies. But his manic projectionist, Sprocket (Bruce Spence), discovers at the last moment that the print has arrived in its Italo-language version, sans subtitles. McBain, Sprocket and publicist Lisa (Mary Coustas) frantically improvise a voiceover translation for the black-tie audience, and it’s a hit.

The improvisation turns the original clinker [Giorgio Capitani’s 1965 Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus: gli invincibili] into a hilarious romp, with Hercules now a frustrated singer sent by Zeus to perform at the Pink Parthenon nightclub where he’s offered the hand of the lovely Labia, daughter of the club’s owners. She, however, prefers Testiculi and rejects Hercules.

Film has an endearing, slapdash feel to it.

Hercules Returns

Australia

Production

Philm. Dir David Parker; Producer Philip Jaroslow; Screenplay Des Mangan; Camera David Connell; Editor Peter Carrodus; Music Philip Judd Art Dir Jon Dowding

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

David Argue Bruce Spence Mary Coustas Michael Carman Brendon Suhr
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