HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
   
 
Newest Articles
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
   
 
  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 2651 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: