Monday, April 12, 2010
The Mighty NIGEL GREEN!
In 1963 American producers tried their hand at a sword & sandal adventure with emphasis on fantasy. And what better technician than the master of fantasy filmmaking himself, Ray Harryhausen to undertake the task. Generously laced with monsters and fantastical elements, JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963) became one of the most enduring fantasy films of all time. Portions of this film had been the source for a number of Italian entries but here, instead of hydraulically controlled creations, Harryhausen relied on the then popular method of stop motion animation to bring his monsters to life.
All but the giant, Poseidon, were created using this process. One of the most famous characters from the Italian made features, Hercules, also has a role here. Nigel Green portrayed the Greek demi-God. However, Green was not a bodybuilder and although stout, he in no way resembled the standard muscleman inherent in the European mythological movies. Furthermore, this was the intention on the part of producer Charles H. Schneer and Harryhausen to avoid a musclebound performer in the role of Hercules for fear it may steer attention away from the main character of the film, Jason.
Green's performance as Hercules is an older and irresponsible interpretation. His penchant to cause havoc is the one conceit borrowed from the Hercules of mythology. The "real" Hercules was quite violent and displayed murderous tendencies. A fair number of the Italian epics featuring Hercules subtly touched upon the darker side of the mythical man