HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Assassins
Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, The
Synchronic
Capote Tapes, The
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jupiter's Darling The Elephant In The Atrium
Year: 1955
Director: George Sidney
Stars: Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion, George Sanders, Richard Haydn, William Demarest, Norma Varden, Douglass Dumbrille, Henry Corden, Michael Ansara, Martha Wentworth, John Olszewski, Morris Ankrum, Bruno VeSota
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Hannibal of Carthage (Howard Keel) is advancing on Rome after taking an entire army along with a herd of elephants across the Alps, defeating all who stand before him. The leader of the Romans is Fabius Maximus (George Sanders), a dictator renowned for his stirring speeches but his personal life is somewhat lacking as he is dominated by his mother Fabia (Norma Varden) and his fiancée Amytis (Esther Williams) is more interested in charging around the countryside on her chariot than she is in actually getting hitched to Fabius. Nevertheless, thoughts of romance must be put on hold as the threat of invasion takes precedent; meanwhile, Amytis goes shopping with her maidservant Meta (Marge Champion) and they spot a hunky slave, Varius (Gower Champion)...

Not exactly Asterix, is it? In fact, Jupiter's Darling was one of those expensive flops which put paid to MGM's musicals, though whether it was because of changing tastes in the audiences or because works such as this sent them fleeing the cinemas thanks to how absolutely absurd they were was a matter up for debate. Perhaps inevitably, something this camp and misguided was sure to pick up a following of sorts, and so it is today the film is recognised by bad movie buffs as a minor treasure with its ludicrous take on history and artificial Hollywood gloss to a subject that nobody in their right minds should have considered would make a decent, never mind classic, musical.

It takes a good portion of the film for Hannibal to be introduced, so in the meantime there was some music, specifically a dance number about how terrific slavery is (really) performed by the Champions, a then-married couple who made a name for themselves as a team before they split up and went their separate ways into choreography: "Hooray for slavery!" sings Gower as you begin to wonder if they'd taken leave of their senses. Then there was the sequence fans of underwater celebrity Esther Williams wanted to see where she indulged in a spot of synchronised swimming with some chiselled, living statues, incidentally demonstrating she could hold her breath for at least ten minutes at a time. It's true this part is the best, probably thanks to the star allowed to show off her speciality.

Yet once that's over, the film was extremely reluctant to let Williams back in the water for a repeat performance; she does get a scene where she teaches her captor Hannibal how to swim, like you do, and a later chase through the sea to escape his henchmen (after diving off a high cliff on horseback!), but she was just that bit too dry here for it to be a hit. Co-star Howard Keel was employed to boom out the melodies of songwriters Burton Lane and Harold Adamson, but not one was up to par, most of them making Keel look foolish for attempting such rhymes. Not helping was the distracting way Hannibal in repose would lean his elbow on one knee, which in light of how short his skirt was appeared as if Esther was getting quite an eyeful - you had to assume Hannibal was wearing Carthagian underpants. Well, you'd hope.

It's the love affair between the fictional Amytis and the very real Hannibal which detains us here as an explanation, entirely invented, as to why the general didn't entirely succeed in his mission of European domination, and that boils down to the man of war tamed by her affections. Once they have met after his men capture her and Meta who wanted to see the elephants, not having ever seen the creatures before, Hannibal is fighting both the war and his attraction to this new arrival in his life, though he eventually adopts a "Treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen" approach to relationships which doesn't play too sympathetically, not even when Amytis is pulling him across a river by his chin with good humour. In the meantime, Meta and Varius offer up the other musical number this is best known for, where they prance (and they genuinely do prance) around with the pachyderms, apparently due to the producers reasoning they'd paid for the huge beasts so they might as well do something with them. Other than that, an interesting cast is game, but powerless to look anything but rather silly.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2793 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: