Hercules in New York (1970)
October 25, 2020 2:08 AM - Subscribe

Hercules is sent to Earth where he finds true love and starts a promising career in the bodybuilder business.

Hercules is sent from Mount Olympus to modern-day Manhattan, where he takes up professional wrestling before getting mixed up with a gang of mobsters. The actor billed as Arnold Strong is, in fact, a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, here making his film debut.

Tim Brayton: There are a handful of movies that, even having seen them and processed them and understood that they exist, you still can't quite believe it. In that august company, we now find Hercules in New York, variously described as being from either 1969 or 1970, but which really comes from the timeless space in the hearts of all children. Because what child, hearing the classic myths of the great Greek hero Heracles, didn't idly think in the moment between waking and sleeping, "fighting lions and boars is all wonderful, but what do you supposed he'd have done if he was on a date with a modern-day lady in Central Park? Maybe he'd fight a bear!" And the child would then drift off into dreams of Hercules punching a bear in the face while his mortal date sat watching, cooing with staged nervousness like Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons. Only it wasn't a bear, but a kind of bear-man; like, it looked like a bear, but it moved like a man trying to feign being a bear. For in the boundless world of a child's dreams, all manner of things are possible.

Anticipating this, the makers of Hercules in New York really did include a scene where Hercules punches a bear in Central Park, and that bear looks exactly like a man in a bear suit doing his best, but it's not very good; and many more delightful things besides. It's a remarkably fucking bizarre movie altogether, to begin with springing from a question that nobody in history probably ever asked, viz. "What would happen if Hercules arrived in New York? Not for any reason, but just to sight-see?" And the form the answer took functions exactly like a star vehicle, except the the people involved were not remotely the kind of stars you'd build a movie around. They being Arnold Stang, the platonic ideal of the diminutive, neurotic New York comic, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, then the reigning Mr. Universe, an Austrian bodybuilder with no previous acting skill and an impenetrable accent that had to be overdubbed in order to make any of his dialogue remotely intelligible.
posted by Carillon (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Man it's really bad. My friend and I realized we'd seen most Arnold films so decided to do a little movie marathon to complete the ones we haven't seen, and wow, this really isn't good. I will encourage anywhere to read the review above though, definitely better than the film AND it doesn't requrie 93 minutes of your life.
posted by Carillon at 2:10 AM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

We've seen this in MST Club! Yeah, it's bad, but it does have Arnold Stang in it too.
posted by JHarris at 6:59 AM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait, I may be thinking of Hercules Goes Bananas.
posted by JHarris at 6:59 AM on October 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

Wait, it IS this movie. Maybe it's Hercules Goes Bananas under an alternate title?
posted by JHarris at 7:00 AM on October 25, 2020

At least one version of it is available with Schwarzenegger's voice left in. Well worth it.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:43 AM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I recall seeing it once, a long time ago. Maybe in college?

Yeah, terribad. But, it was also made in 1970. Weren't all movies made then, kinda pretty bad?
posted by porpoise at 12:07 PM on October 25, 2020

This has Arnold Stang in it for sure. I think it might be an alternate title?
posted by Carillon at 4:43 PM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think I unironically love this movie. The Arnold Stang / Arnold "Strong" juxtaposition (did he film anything else under that alias?), the dubbing, random folks showing up that aren't even Greek (Mercury? Samson!?) -- it's not a good film but damn if it isn't trying its hardest to entertain you. It is a clumsy, lumpy puppy of a movie. I have seen the undubbed version at some point in the past (maybe on Hulu?) - wish I'd thought to save a copy.
posted by jordemort at 10:15 PM on October 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

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