By Daniel O’Brien (auth.)
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Additional info for Classical Masculinity and the Spectacular Body on Film: The Mighty Sons of Hercules
As Wood observes, Italian audiences had warmed to local stars with sporting backgrounds, such as Raf Vallone (football) and Vittorio Gassman (basketball) (Wood, 2004, p. 139). Though not as heavily muscled or ‘sculpted’ as Reeves, ‘physicality marked them out as different from the non-professional actors [associated with neo-realism] who played peasants, fishermen, the unemployed. Their size, athleticism, [and] vigorous gestures indicated their force, their virility and their health’ (Wood, 2004, p.
In Hercules, static poses combine with action or at least the impression of action. The muscular body of Hercules is more than a passive object of display. Discussing male pin-ups, Dyer argues that these images ‘counteract the passive, objectifying tendency by having the model tauten his body, glare at or away from the viewer, and look as if he is caught in action or movement’ (Dyer, 1986, p. 117). Unlike still photography, a motion picture can (re)present actual movement, enhanced by framing, composition, editing and other cinematic tools.
Galinsky notes: ‘The process of choosing…was an intellectual effort and intelligence thus became one of the hero’s attributes’ (Galinsky, 1972, p. 102). Blanshard offers an alternative reading of this fable that reflects less favourably on Hercules: ‘The pursuit of undying glory, rather than any abstract notion of goodness, is what ultimately drives the story of Prodicus’ (Blanshard, 2005, p. 38). However, the Prodican Hercules is generally associated with morality, duty, intellect and endeavour, while the adjective ‘Herculean’ is defined in similarly positive terms.
Classical Masculinity and the Spectacular Body on Film: The Mighty Sons of Hercules by Daniel O’Brien (auth.)