Hercules in New York (1969)

Hercules in New York (1969)

Directed by: Arthur Allan Seidelman

Starring: Arnold Stang, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Deborah Loomis

This is Schwarzenegger’s first movie role (being billed as “Arnold Strong”, in comparison with Arnold Stang, you see), and he is… not an actor. He can barely speak English, even, but they got around that minor obstacle by just making him wrestle everybody all the time, whether it made sense or not.

Hercules defies his father, Zeus, when he decides to go back to Earth and fart around for a bit. He ends up in “modern” New York, where he befriends a strange little man and becomes a wrestling champion. Zeus wants to send him to Hades for 100 years in punishment, but Hera thinks it would be funnier if they just took away Herc’s godly strength for a little while, making him lose a weightlifting competition and humbling him. He repents for his audacity and returns to Olympus.

This is a very silly movie and it has no misconceptions about what it is. In that respect, it’s kinda charming and campy. On the other hand, it is actually just a dumb movie about a guy with really big muscles. It was obviously constructed backwards from “okay, how can we get this guy into a scene where he has to lift a barbell?” I think this is the movie that Barton Fink was trying to write.


About Reid

Born in a dumpster, died in a fire. View all posts by Reid

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