'Damon and Pythias'
(Guy Williams, Don Burnett, Ilaria Occhini, Liana Orfei, Marina Berti, et al / DVD / NR / 2012 / Warner Archive)
Overview: No matter the odds; they've got each other's back! Guy Williams; TV's Zorro; plunges into sword-fighting fury in the classic Greek tale Damon and Pythias.
DVD Verdict: 'Damon And Pythias,' the retelling of the legendary friendship from Greek mythology is a cut above the usual peplum product from Italy at the time. It benefits a bit from Hollywood director Curtis Bernhardt although the film is way too slow. That said, a lot from the first half of the movie could have been cut.
Pythias as played by Don Burnett is on a mission from Athens to Syracuse where he's to fetch back the Pythagorean field man in Syracuse back to the home office in Athens. In Athens the school of Pythagoras is a respected form of philosophy, Syracuse they're considered a dangerous cult and hunted down by its ruler Dionysius played by Arnaldo Foa.
While in Syracuse Burnett meets up with Guy Williams playing Damon who is a rogue in a manner befitting Errol Flynn. But Williams is a jaded sort and he sees Burnett really walks the walk in the philosophy of universal brotherhood that the Pythagoreans preach. It's not quite as simple as that, but the Pythagoreans here are presented as a forerunner of Christianity.
It all gets put to the test when Burnett is caught by Foa and Williams offers himself up as hostage in his place so Burnett can return to Athens to care for his sick wife. Foa decided to let him go through with it, thinking that no one would be dumb enough to return once free and that would discredit the philosophy which is finding favor in Syracuse.
Williams and Burnett were a pair of refugees from television, Burnett had done the Northwest Passage television show and Williams had just finished his run with Walt Disney's Zorro. Damon And Pythias never did establish them as film stars. Williams came along twenty years too late, in the thirties he could have been another Errol Flynn. He would have a run with Lost In Space after this film. Both their careers had petered out by the Seventies. Anyway, have fun with this and enjoy it for what it was meant to be - Saturday afternoon movie fodder. This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. This is a Widescreen Presentation 1.85:1 enhanced for 16x9 TVs.