“Let me show you around, maybe play you a sound.
You look like you’re both pretty groovy.
Or, if you want something visual that’s not too abysmal,
We could take in an old Steve Reeves movie.”
Performed by Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry)
Steve Reeves Movie Marathon with Frank-N-Furter
At the beginning of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the song “Sweet Transvestite” is one of the most iconic RHPS soundtracks. Tim Curry’s portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter is one of cinema’s most unforgettable performances. The song was written by Richard O’Brien, featuring Tim Curry, and produced by Richard Hartley. It is the entry song to Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s grand and dramatic entrance to the party and the audience.
During one of the verses, the flamboyant, gender-fluid, and seductive alien transvestite offers to put on a Steve Reeve movie for Brad and Janet. The question is, what would it be like to watch a Steve Reeve’s marathon with Frank? I assume it would be a little weird but exciting and interesting.
Introducing Steve Reeves
Now, to get started, who is Steve Reeves?
Steve Reeves, an American professional bodybuilder and actor, rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s as a prominent figure in bodybuilding. Reeves’ remarkable physique was admired by his fans and other bodybuilders who viewed him as a role model in the industry. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and David Prowse, who became famous bodybuilders and actors, have credited Reeves as inspiration. Reeves’ dedication to his craft and strict workout regimen, which included weightlifting, swimming, and running, were critical factors that contributed to his success and influence in the bodybuilding world.
“He was the most successful [bodybuilder] at his time,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, who himself set records for bodybuilding excellence, said. “He was handsome and had a beautiful body. … He loved the sport; he loved being a perfectionist. ‘
In addition to being a bodybuilder, Steve Reeve was a man of many talents. He bravely served in the Second World War and the Philippines before delving deeper into his passion for health and chiropractic. His dedication paid off as he appeared victorious as Mr. America in 1947, Mr. World in 1948, and Mr. Universe in 1950, all in the pre-Mr. Olympia era. However, Reeve was not just a muscular man with bulging biceps and a chiselled physique. He was also known for his captivating smile and handsome features, which made him an instant heartthrob.
Apart from his achievements as a bodybuilder, Reeve was also a gifted actor who highlighted his talents in several films, including “Hercules” and “Goliath and the Barbarians.” It is worth noting that despite his success in the world of acting, Reeve did not pursue it seriously until the 1950s. His first screen appearance was in a Tarzan-style television pilot called “Kimbar of the Jungle” in 1949.
Let’s Take in An Old Steve Reeve Movie
Steve Reeves was a highly accomplished actor who starred in many films. He first appeared as a police officer in the Ed Wood film Jailbait in 1954, which earned him his Screen Actors Guild card. Reeves then played the role of Jane Powell’s character’s boyfriend in the MGM musical Athena later that year. For the rest of his career, Reeves acted in cinema, where all dialogue and sound effects were added in post-production.
However, Reeves gained worldwide fame for his starring role in an Italian film about Hercules directed by Pietro Francisci, followed by its sequel, Hercules Unchained (1959), also directed by Francisci. These two films are among his most notable works and would be valuable to any Steve Reeves film collection. Hercules was a huge box-office success in the United States and paved the way for a series of “sword-and-sandal” epics that portrayed Reeves as a heroic strongman. Even though Reeves also had other Italian-American hits like The White Warrior (1961), The Last Days of Pompeii (1960), Goliath and the Barbarians (1960), and The Giant of Marathon (1960).
Why would Frank-N-Furter enjoy a muscley man on screen wearing a short tunic, running along glistening with sweat? If that sentence didn’t answer, then another one can be found in the song Frank sang about making a muscle man.
“But a deltoid and a bicep
A hot groin and a tricep
Makes me, ooh, shake
Makes me wanna take Charles Atlas by the hand
He’ll eat nutritious, high-protein
And swallow raw eggs
Try to build up his shoulders
His chest, arms, and legs.”
“I Can Make You a Man” Performed by Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry),
Steve Reeves as Hercules
Steve Reeves, the iconic bodybuilder and actor, gained immense popularity for his portrayal of Hercules in films such as “Hercules” (1958) and “Hercules Unchained” (1959). The Hercules films were based on Greek mythology, featuring epic adventures, gods, monsters, and heroic quests. These themes have timeless appeal and resonate with audiences who enjoy the combination of mythology and action-packed adventure. These films offer viewers an intense sense of escapism and fantasy. The exotic locations, larger-than-life characters, and epic battles allow audiences to temporarily escape their daily lives and immerse themselves in grandeur and heroism.
The film stars Steve Reeves as the titular hero. His thick, wavy black hair, bright blue eyes, and Olympian physique made him the perfect embodiment of Hercules. Steve Reeves was known for his extraordinary physique, which perfectly matched the image of the mythological hero Hercules. This is one of the exact reasons why he was cast. Although bodybuilders may initially be typecast in roles requiring physical prowess, some successfully show their versatility by taking on various characters. This ability to transition from physically demanding roles to more diverse acting challenges can make them more appealing to a broader audience.
Let’s dive into his Hercules film from the early ’50s. This film follows a 1958 Italian sword-and-sandal film based on the Hercules and the Quest for the Golden Fleece myths. In this daring, wonderfully and remarkably dramatic adventure, Sylva Koscina stars as his gorgeous love interest, Princess Iole.
The sound of the music in the movie is captivating and exhilarating, making the audience feel a rush of excitement. The saturation of the colours used in the film is bright and vibrant, oversaturated, creating a vivid and eye-catching visual experience. Everything in the movie seems to be amplified and intensified, from the drama and emotional tension to the characters’ adventurous atmosphere and dramatic language.
The characters’ hair, fashion, and dialogue are beautifully designed to create a stunning and dramatic effect. Their mannerisms and expressions are exaggerated and elaborate, adding to the sense of grandeur and intensity of the movie.
The drama in the movie starts right from the opening scene, where Hercules stops a group of charging horses by uprooting a tree to create a barrier. This action highlights the character’s immense strength and determination, and using a whole tree to save the damsel in distress adds to the scene’s dramatic effect.
Hercules Unchained (1959)
Hercules Unchained is the sequel to the 1958 film Hercules and is just as dramatic as its predecessor. The film features all the favourite characters from the first movie and places them in a new story about two brothers at war and Hercules’ struggles in the court of Queen Omphale. This sequel has even more drama and romance than the first.
I found myself getting drawn into the story while watching these movies. They are an exciting watch and would appeal to those who enjoy watching muscular men and beautiful theatrics, such as Frankfurter.
Want More Muscley Movies for The Marathon?
You have come to the right place if you want to indulge in a Steve Reeves movie marathon. Below is a comprehensive list of all the movies the actor has featured throughout his career. This filmography covers everything from his early work in the 1950s to his later appearances in the 1970s. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and get ready for a cinematic journey through the world of Steve Reeves.
• Hollywood Opening Night (1952)
• Stars Over Hollywood (1951)
• Kimbar Of the Jungle (TV Short) (1951)
• Topper (TV Series) – Joe Manurki (1953) [1 Episode]
• Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Olympic Team Member (1953) [Uncredited]
• Jailbait (1954) – Lieutenant Bob Lawrence
• Athena (1954) – Ed Perkins
• Adam And Athena (1954) – Ed Perkins (As Steve Reeves “Mr. Universe” Of 1950)
• The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (TV Series) – Foley (1957) [1 Episode]
• The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (TV Series) – Gino La Scala (1957) [1 Episode]
• Hercules (1958) – Hercules [Released in Italy in 1958, in the USA. In 1959; Le Fatiche Di Ercole / The Labors of Hercules]
• Hercules Unchained (1959) – Hercules [Released in The USA In 1960; Ercole E La Regina Di Lidia / Hercules and The Queen of Lydia]
• Goliath And the Barbarians (1959) – Goliath [ Il Terrore Dei Barbari / Terror of The Barbarians]
• The Giant of Marathon (1959) – Phillipides [ La Battaglia Di Maratona / The Battle of Marathon]
• The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) – Glaucus Leto [ Gli Ultimi Giorni Di Pompei / The Last Days of Pompeii]
• The White Warrior (1959) – Agi / Hadji Murad, The White Warrior [Directed by Riccardo Freda; Hadji Murad Il Diavolo Bianco / Hadji Murad, The White Devil]
• Morgan, The Pirate (1960) – Henry Morgan [ Morgan, Il Pirata / Morgan, The Pirate]
• The Thief of Baghdad (1961) – Karim [ Il Ladro Di Bagdad]
• The Trojan Horse (1961) – Aeneas [ La Guerra Di Troia / The Trojan War]
• Duel of the Titans (1961) – Romulus [ Romolo E Remo / Romulus and Remus]
• The Slave (1962) – Randus – Son of Spartacus [ Il Figlio Di Spartaco / Son of Spartacus]
• The Avenger (1962) – Enea / Aeneas [ La Leggenda Di Enea / The Legend of Aeneas; Also Released as The Last Glory of Troy; It Is a Sequel to The Trojan Horse]
• Sandokan The Great (1963) – Sandokan [Directed by Umberto Lenzi; Sandokan, La Tigre Di Mompracem / Sandokan, The Tiger of Mompracem]
• Pirates Of Malaysia (1963) – Sandokan [Directed by Umberto Lenzi; Sandokan, The Pirate of Malaysia / Pirates of The Seven Seas; This Is a Sequel to Sandokan the Great]
• A Long Ride from Hell (1967) – Mike Sturges [Spaghetti Western Directed by Camillo Brazzoni, Produced and Co-Written by Steve Reeves; I Live for Your Death!]
“That’s Not Too Abysmal”
Steve Reeves brought charisma and likability to his roles. His on-screen solid presence and pleasant personality made him a relatable and endearing hero. Steve Reeves’ portrayal of Hercules in “Hercules” and “Hercules Unchained” tapped into a blend of factors, including his impressive physique, the enduring appeal of mythological and adventure themes, nostalgia, and his charismatic performance. These elements combined to create films that have remained beloved classics for fans of both bodybuilding and cinematic experiences.
This (combined with the muscles) is one of the reasons that Steve Reeve’s films would be a part of his collection.
Like these movie articles? Check out some of our other pop culture articles like The It Soundtrack, Film Review: “Come Play” – A Terrifying Technological Horror Journey, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and more!