Il colosso di Rodi (1961)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Sword-and-Sandal, Costume Adventure  |   Run Time - 128 min.  |   Countries - Spain, France, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Richard Gilliam

Director Sergio Leone shouldn't be blamed for the bad dubbing in the U.S. release version of The Colossus of Rhodes but he well deserves credit for the film's grand visual style. Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of a screenplay to go along with it, and Rory Calhoun's muscle-showing lead performance is the epitome of hammy, bad overacting. By the time he took the director's chair, Leone had served an impressive apprenticeship working with filmmakers as diverse as Vittorio De Sica, William Wyler, and Robert Wise. Parts of The Colossus of Rhodes have the operatic tenor that, in later motion pictures, became Leone's signature style. What's missing is the compelling narrative flow and dynamic character development found in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in America. Even with around ten minutes of its running time trimmed from the European version, The Colossus of Rhodes lags frequently. The best scenes are the ones of the Colossus, particularly the nighttime dropping of fire on the approaching boat. There's also a memorable scene involving a bell and several well-staged fight sequences. Despite the cinematic proficiency of Leone and the occasional evoking of the despotic decadence of its setting, overall The Colossus of Rhodes is only a slightly better than routine peplum.