Steve Reeves, The Giant of Marathon

Built Report Steve Reeves Giant of Marathon
Steve Reeves and Mylene Demongeot in Giant of Marathon

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“The Giant of Marathon” (Italian: La battaglia di Maratona) is a 1959 epic sword and sandal film, representing an international co-production that takes inspiration from the historic Battle of Marathon. The film was jointly directed by the acclaimed duo of Jacques Tourneur and Mario Bava, with the iconic Steve Reeves cast in the leading role of Phillipides. This cinematic venture was made possible through the collaboration of various film production companies, including Italy’s Titanus and Galatea Film, and France’s Lux Compagnie Cinematographique de France and Societe Cinematographique Lyre.

The narrative unfolds in 490 BC, a tumultuous period marked by the Medic Wars, during which Persian forces sweep across the ancient world. The story centers on the character of Phillipides, an Olympic champion who returns to Athens adorned with the laurel crown of victory. Phillipides is subsequently appointed as the commander of the Sacred Guard, a prestigious role entrusted with the defense of the city-state’s liberty. This occurs a year after the expulsion of the tyrant Hippias, who had previously ruled over Athens.

Within the city of Athens, there exists a faction of Hippias’ loyalists who conspire to undermine Phillipides’ position. They hatch a plot to force him into a marriage with Charis, an expensive servant owned by Theocrites. The objective of this scheme is to neutralize Phillipides and render the Sacred Guard ineffective. However, Charis’s seduction attempt ultimately fails, as Phillipides’ heart is already captivated by a young girl. Unbeknownst to him, this girl is named Andromeda, and she happens to be the daughter of Creuso.

As personal matters become entangled, a grave threat emerges on the horizon. News spreads that the vast army of Darius, the Persian King of Kings, is marching toward Greece. The Persians anticipate that Greece’s internal divisions will make their conquest a straightforward endeavor. Theocrites, who opposes sending the Sacred Guard to battle, advises a different strategy: negotiation with Darius. His proposition is met with skepticism, and he is urged to consider forming an alliance with Sparta, a move that could potentially safeguard the Hellenic nation.

In the midst of these political machinations, Phillipides embarks on a treacherous journey, navigating through a web of conspiracies and assassination attempts. Despite the perils he faces, he manages to secure Sparta’s commitment to joining the Greek forces in the anticipated confrontation with the Persians. Charis, left for dead after overhearing Darius’s orders, makes a miraculous recovery and delivers a crucial message to the camp: the Persian fleet, now under the treacherous command of Theocrites, is en route to the Piraeus, intent on capturing Athens.

In the face of this dire threat, Miltiades, the strategist, makes the critical decision to dispatch Phillipides and the Sacred Guard to defend Athens. Their mission is to hold the line and protect the city until the larger Greek forces arrive to support them. After an arduous and hazardous journey, Phillipides and the Sacred Guard successfully repel the Persians, effectively thwarting their attempts to conquer Athens.

Steve Reeves and Mylène Demongeot star in “La battaglia di Maratona” or “The Battle of Marathon”.
Giant of Marathon directed by Jacques Tourneur and Mario Bava (uncredited).
Steve Reeves stars as a Greek soldier leading the fight against an invading Persian army.
Mylène Demongeot and Steve Reeves in “The Giant of Marathon”.
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