In Ancient Greece an unusual fog descending on the country sends Hercules (Reg Park) and the rulers of Greece to seek guidance from a prophet (Mino Doro). The prophet tells them that a peril is about to descend on the land from somewhere in the west. The rulers from the various states meet to decide what to do. Androcles (Ettore Manni), the ruler of Thebes, wants to attack them first but the other rulers don’t agree. Androcles decides to go himself and wants Hercules to go with him.
Hercules has become content to stay in Greece with his wife, Deianira (Luciana Angiolillo), and son, Hylas (Luciano Marin). Hylas is ready for some adventure so he dopes Hercules’ wine. When Hercules wakes up he is on a ship headed for the open sea. Unknown by Hercules, Hylas has stowed away aboard the ship.
The ship is manned by a motley crew of criminals and slaves. When they try to take over the ship, Hercules leaves them stranded on a small island. The only ones remaining on the ship are Hercules, Androcles, a dwarf named Timoteo (Salvatore Furnari), and Hylas, who is still hidden below deck. When a violent storm comes up Androcles is swept overboard. The ship is torn apart and Hercules ends up on the shores of a small fog laden island. He is separated from Timoteo and Hylas who end up on Atlantis.
On the island Hercules finds a young woman who is being slowly absorbed by a rock formation. The god Proteus (Maurizio Coffarelli) controls the rock and uses the sacrifices to nourish himself. In return he shrouds Atlantis with fog to keep it from the outside world. Hercules defeats Proteus and saves the girl. The young woman turns out to be the Princess Ismene (Laura Efrikian), the daughter of Antinea (Fay Spain), the Queen of Atlantis. Antinea is determined to sacrifice her daughter since the prophecy says that if she does not die Atlantis is doomed. Ismene is rescued once again, this time by Hylas and Timoteo.
Antinea is creating an army of super humans so she can conquer the world. Antinea’s plans are in danger when Hercules finds out what he must do to stop her. In the process he must save Androcles and ultimately save Greece.
“Hercules and the Captive Women” AKA “Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis” AKA “Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide” was released in 1961 and was directed by Vittorio Cottafavi. It is Reg Parks’ film debut and a decent entry in the Sword and Sandal genre.
As with many sword and sandal films, the comic relief is in the form of a dwarf that usually gets in the way more than he is amusing. Salvatore Furnari as Timoteo was annoying but was not as useless as in most Peplum films.
The English dubbed film changes some of the character names to those that are better recognized to American audiences. Also, in the American version some of the music is lifted from “The Creature of the Black Lagoon”, in particular the three note strident trumpet tones. There also aren’t any captive women other than Ismene. The American title is just to make the movie sound sexier than it is.