governor of California's first movie wasn't Conan
the Barbarian (1982) or The Terminator
(1984). It wasn't even the 1976 documentary Pumping Iron as the
more trivia-minded amongst you might think.
Schwarzenegger's first screen appearance was in fact in
this 1970 movie -
Hercules in New York. (Also known as Hercules Goes Bonkers
or Hercules - the Movie.)
any sleep over never having heard of it before.
It is the type of movie that even someone with a career as chequered as
Arnie's (Conan the Destroyer,
Batman & Robin, anyone?) would prefer
scratched from his CV.
technically it wasn't Arnie's first movie since he is credited in this
movie as Arnold Strong. I suppose the Hollywood producers decided that
Schwarzenegger was too much of a mouthful for American audiences. (And
they probably have a point: I cut and paste his surname in this review
instead of writing it out each time!)
Also, the producers
decided that Arnie's trademark Germanic accent would be too much for U.S.
audiences too. And here, I've got to admit they might also have a point: a
lot of the time Arnie's dialogue - spoken in that Gestapo officer about to
shove the Jewish ghetto victim into the waiting truck
accent - was plain unintelligible. Most of the time one can't make
of what he is saying!
suffered the same indignity as Mel Gibson's Aussie drawl did when
Mad Max was originally released in the
States: he was dubbed with an American voice . . .
As you have
gathered, Arnie's original spoken dialogue track was restored to this DVD
release. Unfortunately this DVD doesn't feature the old dubbed soundtrack
since I sincerely wanted to hear with what voice they dubbed Arnie's.
(Apparently the Region 1 DVD boasts this audio track.)
in New York is, well, just that. Hercules
(Schwarzenegger) grows bored with the thousands of years he had spent on
Mount Olympus and wants to visit Earth for a change.
Can't say I blame
him since the ambient noise in the ancient home of the gods is terrible
city traffic sounds can be heard
in the background the
whole time! So, in spite of Zeus's wishes,
Hercules goes down to Earth where (a.) despite his Teutonic accent,
everybody in the movie mistakes him for being Greek (b) he meets a wimpy
sidekick whose glasses doesn't appear have any lenses and (c) he battles a
guy in bear suit, I mean, a ferocious grizzly bear.
This is region-free DVD (as opposed to the Region 1 restricted disc,
limited to only the States & Canada), so it'll play in any DVD player.
Unfortunately it has only one audio track.
You'll hear Arnie
say his dialogue for the first time, but I really wanted to hear the
dubbed voices. The image is surprisingly good for a cheaply made and older
movie like this. The sound is also clear, but you'll still struggle to
figure out just what the heck Arnie is saying.
The movie is
presented full screen and not in its original aspect ratio. However,
unlike many pan ?n? scan efforts out there, it wasn't too obvious and bad.
The disc has a
menu, scene access and a trailer (in the correct aspect ratio).
How to judge a movie like Hercules in
New York? I haven't laughed as much as during the fight scene with the
grizzly bear since . . . I dunno . . . Monty Python and the Holy Grail,
perhaps. However, none of
the humour is intentional, rather stemming from the film-maker's sheer
ineptitude. Hercules in New York
is pure DIY MST3K.
Connoisseurs of bad movies will love Hercules in
New York, but anyone else should stay away. It remains a bad bad bad