By Daniel O’Brien (auth.)
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Extra resources for Classical Masculinity and the Spectacular Body on Film: The Mighty Sons of Hercules
Universe, Athletic Model Guild and Body Beautiful. One of these magazines, Mr. Universe, and the forms of masculinity it promoted and perpetuated, is discussed in more detail below. As an American ‘star’ name, albeit in a field as yet unrelated to films, Reeves also had a greater potential international appeal than an Italian actor whose local popularity might not extend to other countries. A French poster for Hercules promoted Reeves as ‘le celebre “Monsieur Univers”’. Reeves had competed outside the US, as in the 1948 Mr.
172; cf. Lucanio, 1994, pp. 27, 13). While box-office figures for other territories are elusive, Hercules was also distributed successfully in Europe, Latin America, South Africa, the Middle East, Australia and the Far East, creating markets where the peplum genre would flourish for the next few years (Philippe, 1964, p. 53). The reasons for Hercules’s commercial success are not a central topic of this book. What interest me at this point are the commentators who link this success—directly or indirectly—with the film’s depiction of masculinity.
Ellis Cashmore argues that, for the Ancient Greeks, ‘Athletic excellence achieved in competition was an accomplishment of, literally, heroic proportions’ (Cashmore, 2000, pp. 63–4). To train, discipline and hone the body in pursuit of sporting excellence was to emulate the heroes of classical myth. In Hercules, there is a clear distinction between the achievements of mortal men and those of the demigod. A scene where Hercules throws a discus with supernatural force is of particular interest from this perspective.
Classical Masculinity and the Spectacular Body on Film: The Mighty Sons of Hercules by Daniel O’Brien (auth.)