5.5/10
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The Bacchantes (1961)

Le baccanti (original title)
The god Dionysus decides to pay a visit to the city of Thebes.

Director:

Giorgio Ferroni

Writers:

Giorgio Stegani (story), Giorgio Ferroni (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Taina Elg ... Dirce
Pierre Brice ... Dionysus
Alberto Lupo Alberto Lupo ... Pentheus
Alessandra Panaro ... Manto
Raf Mattioli Raf Mattioli ... Lacdamos
Nerio Bernardi ... High Priest
Erno Crisa ... Atteon
Gérard Landry Gérard Landry ... Shepherd Poet
Miranda Campa Miranda Campa ... Queen Agave
Akim Tamiroff ... Teiresias
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Storyline

The god Dionysus decides to pay a visit to the city of Thebes.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | Fantasy

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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bondage Gladiator Sexy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lyre Films, Vic Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apart from one Asian catalog, there is no evidence that this film was ever released as " Bondage Gladiator Sexy". Indeed, the story line contains no bondage and no gladiators. Medallion Pictures released it in the US in 1963 as "The Bacchantes", and while there was no British theatrical release, it did receive a British television premiere on 3 January 1992 (again as "The Bacchantes") as part of Channel 4's Sword and Sandal season. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Bacchae (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't cross Dionysus!
4 April 2008 | by steven-222See all my reviews

The god Dionysus comes to Thebes, home of his late mortal mother, Semele. To ward off a terrible drought, young king Pentheus is willing to sacrifice the virgin Manto to Demeter. Dionysus demands to be worshiped instead. Pentheus spurns him, but Dionysus wins over the populace with gifts of magical wine and ecstatic celebration. He also wins the devotion of the beautiful Dirce. Will Pentheus get his comeuppance? Will Dionysus remain in Thebes with Dirce? As the playwright Euripides concluded, "The end anticipated has not been consummated. But god has found a way for what no man expected. So ends the play."

Michel Eloy at his peplums.info site calls it (I translate from the French) "certainly the most astonishing of the mythological peplums of the Sixties, including whole recitations from the sacred tragedy of Euripides along with other myths of the Theban Cycle (the death of Actaeon, Manto the daughter of Tiresias, Athamas and the drought), all integrated into the requisite motifs of the genre: palace intrigue, thwarted young lovers, a popular uprising..."

There is a gorgeous widescreen DVD of this movie (in Spanish only) from the Cine Epico series in Spain. For curiosity value alone, it rates a 7 on my scale; it's both startlingly intellectual and outrageously campy (especially the choreography by Herbert Ross, who went on to direct THE TURNING POINT, FOOTLOOSE, etc.); that this movie was ever made is such a miracle that I'll overlook its obvious limitations. This is, after all, the sword and sandal version of one of the most challenging Greek tragedies, and as such it subverts its original source material even as it celebrates it. (Instead of Euripides' hair-raising finale, we get a sword fight, alas.)


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