The Conqueror of Corinth (1962)

a.k.a. - The Centurion (USA), Il Conquistatore di Corinto (ITA)

Jacques Sernas and John Drew Barrymore star in this solid but unremarkable Historical Peplum. Filmax Spanish R2 DVD.

The Film

In the year 146, the formerly strong Greek Empire is under Roman rule but an association of Greek States look to break away from this and take back their independence, lead by Corinth. A Roman Ambassador visits the city to request that the Corinthians step down, but he is attacked by a group of seperatist Greek soldiers and killed, leading the Romans to send forces against the city. Meanwhile, a Roman soldier (Jacques Sernas) who was with the ambassador has survived and is looked after by a Roman sympathiser. He tries to leave the city to tell the Romans that the majority of Corinth are against a war and to stop them attacking, but the scheming Diaeus (John Drew Barrymore) has him captured and tortured...

The storyline here is much better written than most Historical Pepla - it is more drama than adventure, building on political maneuvering and a plausible romance with a good array of characters who are surprisingly well defined - no mere black hearted villains here. The strong characterisation means that the battle scenes and dramatic sequences towards the film climax have more interest than many similar productions and the film builds to an effective conclusion. The history behind the story is decent, although the opening titles mistakenly read AD instead of BC.

Direction is nothing special but the sets look good with a nice selection of costumes despite the film's low budget. Like in many of the later Pepla, the epic scenes of men marching and the big battle scene are lifted almost entirely from Hannibal (1960) and The Wooden Horse of Troy (1961) with a few tight close-ups of fighting Greeks - this does make these scenes very hard to follow and pretty much non-sensical, in particular the sight of Carthiginian soldiers and the complete lack of Greeks in the long shots (the battle scenes in Hannibal are rather poorly helmed to start with). However the city battle scenes are mostly new footage and look pretty good. There is a rather typical genre soundtrack that suits the film fine.

John Drew Barrymore is incredibly good as the slimy and snakelike Diaeus, fellow American Gordon Mitchell gets rather less to do as General Metellus but does walk around shirtless a few times (one for the ladies no doubt) and certainly looks for all the world like a Roman Soldier should. The dashingly blonde Jacques Sernas plays the captured Roman, Caius Vinicius with a strong performance.

Conqueror of Corinth benefits from a decent storyline and effective characterisation with a strong performance from John Drew Barrymore, although it is rather let down by the poorly helmed key battle scene. Certainly not among the top rung of Historical Pepla, it is worth seeking out for fans of the genre.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? John Drew Barrymore - American actor who worked on several Peplum films including The Trojan Horse
Gordon Mitchell - incredibly musclebound American import and star of L'Ira di Achille (1962)
Jacques Sernas - dashing Lithuanian who appeared in a few Pepla, including Goliath and the Vampires
Directed by anyone interesting? Mario Costa - a lesser known Italian director who worked on a few interesting projects, including Gordon, il pirata nero (1961) starring Vincent Price and a series of Pepla and Spaghetti Westerns starring Gordon Scott.
Any gore or violence ? Some blood
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? Peplum fans should enjoy this but it is far from the best genre entry.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
Print quality is generally good, with decent detail (although some scenes are rather softer in particular the stock shots) and not too many speckles, although colours are rather faded throughout.
Audio English and Spanish mono
English soundtrack is fine, although a few scenes are poorly dubbed.
Subtitles Spanish (based on the Spanish audio)
Extras None
Availability Spanish release. DVD Title: La Destrucción de Corinto
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? Also available on DVD in Germany - non-anamorphic print with German audio only - same length print. As Der Eroberer von Korinth.
Cuts? Cut status unknown - the short runtime (73 minutes) suggests that there might be some scenes removed, but none are evident. The print used is English language.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 2nd March 2008.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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