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I've uploaded the entire film without interruptions. I also tried to fix the audio (there was a lot of hissing and pops) and changed the title during the credits from THE WARRIOR EMPRESS to the original Italian title. Enjoy!
Sappho ~ The Venus of Lesbos (1960) starring Tina Louise, Kerwin Mathews, Riccardo Garrone and Susy Andersen (credited as Susy Golgi).
I love this Peplum. I'm almost addicted to it. When I first saw it, I watched it once a day 4 days in a row. And I'm still hypnotized by it. The film hits all the right Peplum notes. The direction by Pietro Francisci is fun, fast and dreamy. Even if it's a romantic film, it still has lots of sword fights, big battles, ramming ships and, of course, killer lions, all set to a great swirling score.
This film has the best named cast of charaters ever: Sappho, Phaon, Hyperbius, Actis (my fav)), Laricus, Melanchrus, etc. All the main actors give excellent performances. Tina Louise is perfect as Sappho, "the world's boldest beauty", as the tagline says. The handsome Kerwin Mathews (who died last year, RIP) gives a thoughtful energetic performance. Kerwin was definitely an overlooked actor.
But best of all is Riccardo Garrone as Hyperbius, who almost steals the film from the American actors. Garrone gives a forceful performance that could have easily fallen into caricature but here he's totally believable. In contrast, the actor who plays the King is a caricature and is one of the weak notes in the film. Susy Andersen (Susy Golgi), the actress who plays Actis, Sappho's "friend" (wink, wink) is stunningly beautiful. What happens to her character is one of the most memorable moments in the film.
The soldiers' costumes are some of the coolest ever designed. Dark and detailed, with impressive Rooster-like helmets and short skirt line which accentuates, if anything else, the men's legs. As for the women, the short blue tunics with the long black skirts are fetching, wether they're historically accurate or not.
The score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino is truly a thing of beauty. Lavagnino is, like so many who worked in the Peplum genre, is underrated, to say the least.
Finally, as for the title, well in the US they changed it to The Warrior Empress even though there is no Empress in the movie, let alone Warrior Empress. Sappho's character is, if anything else, peaceful and passive. For this upload, I titled it the way it should have been titled in the first place.
"Sappho ~ Venus of Lesbos" is a completely forgotten film and it's a shame because it's near perfect Peplum kitsch.