The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete (1960) – Silvio Amadio

DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies brings me one of the great Greek Myths, as I explore the chapter on Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales. This time, it’s the story of the minotaur in this Italian film that has a number of titles associated with it, including Theseus and the Minotaur and The Minotaur.

A warrior on his homeward journey, Theseus (Bob Mathias) rescues a young woman, Ariadne (Rosanna Schiaffino). His fellow traveller, Demetrio (Rik Battaglia) is convinced that Ariadne is the dead ringer for the Princess of Minos, Fedra (also Schiaffino) who is in a power play to seize control not only of the throne but of the labyrinth which contains the monstrous minotaur.

The peopls of Crete have been offering up young women as sacrifices to the minotaur in return for keeping their country safe, and soon, Theseus, Ariadne, and Demetrio are going to be caught up in this story, and a fun retelling of the classic labyrinth myth.

The sets are massive, and the costume design is good (though undeniably influenced by the time the film was made) but none of it looks authentic, in that none of it looks like it has been lived in. It looks like, no matter the social standing, all the characters have donned costumes from a rack, and haven’t lived in them for very long at all.


The effects for the minotaur itself are rather dubious, it looks like an animatronic head that is only capable of one or two expressions with a roar that cycles through every other moment. It’s a little disappointing.

Couple that with the title, and you would expect to see a bunch of the minotaur throughout the entire film. Nope. We only get a look at the beast for a couple of minutes at the film’s climax. In fact, Theseus, himself, is only in the legendary labyrinth for a few minutes.

That is just downright upsetting. You would expect a fairly solid sequence of him stumbling through the twists and turns of the labyrinth, hunted, and hunting the beast. But sadly, you don’t get that.

That’s not to say there isn’t a lot going on in this film. Battles, goddesses, a love story, betrayals, murders, and eye burning, but I just wish there had been more (and a better designed) minotaur in a movie that suggests, with its title, that the minotaur would be a large portion of the popcorn entertainment you are settling in for.

It remains an interesting if somewhat disappointing film. And there are still more myths, legends, and fairy tales to delve into as I explore DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies. Pick one up tonight and find something monstrous to watch!




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