Cast & Crew
In ancient Crete, Princess Phaedra learns that she has an identical twin sister, Ariadne, who was sent to Athens long ago because of a law requiring that one of each set of twins must be sacrificed to the Minotaur, a monster part-man and part-bull which lives in a labyrinth below the temple. To prevent her sister from threatening her ascendency to the throne of King Minos, Phaedra sends her lover, Chryone, to kill Ariadne, but the assassination attempt is thwarted by two young men, Theseus and Demetrius, who take Ariadne to the palace of Theseus' father, King Egeo [Aegeus] of Athens. Chryone threatens that unless Ariadne dies, Demetrius' father will be beheaded and his younger sister delivered to the Minotaur, who regularly devours sacrifice of a number of youths and virgins. Theseus and Demetrius return to Crete to save the people from the Minotaur but are captured by Phaedra. Demetrius and his family are killed, but Theseus pretends to love Phaedra to gain his freedom. Attempting to flee, he is fatally wounded and falls into the sea. The sea goddess Amphitrite restores him to health and falls in love with him, but, realizing that Theseus cannot return her love, she arms him with a charmed sword and sends him back to Crete. There he learns that Phaedra has imprisoned Ariadne. During a fight in the prison's torture chambers, Phaedra falls to her death in a pit of wild dogs. Theseus rescues Ariadne and then enters the labyrinth and slays the Minotaur. Ariadne follows him, trailing a gold thread from her dress which permits them to find their way out of the labyrinth. Theseus and Ariadne discover that in their absence the citizens of Crete have revolted and killed Chryone. With peace restored, King Minos outlaws human sacrifice forever.
Gian Paolo Callegari
Mario Del Pezzo
Following the recipe for Sword and Sandal success, a former athlete was cast in the lead role. The Hercules movies had Steve Reeves beginning in 1958, so in 1960 Italian producers Giorgio Agliani and Gino Mordini convinced former Olympic gold medalist Bob Mathias to star as Theseus in their upcoming take on the tale of the Minotaur. They don't exactly stick to any particular myth of the famous monster living in the labyrinth being appeased by sacrificed virgins. Instead, they introduce a tale of twins separated at birth-- one a princess, one a commoner-- for a take on The Prince and the Pauper, in which Mathias can rescue one of them from the clutches of the Minotaur.
The Minotaur, by the way, is awesome in exactly the same kind of way a man wearing an over-sized puppet head would be awesome, because that's precisely what was done. The person inside the puppet head was Milo Malagoli, an Italian boxer who stood somewhere between 7 feet and infinity. He was already a giant but the massive puppet head gave him another two feet. It's also abundantly clear that he can't exactly see where he's going in that head as he stumbles about and Mathias seems to move himself in front of the Minotaur when the Minotaur seems to be headed in the wrong direction. This all could have worked fairly well had the sound crew provided a sufficiently intimidating roar for the Minotaur. Alas, he sounds a bit like a dog moaning in the distance, hoping his owner finds him before dinner.
Mathias would go on to have a successful career in politics after giving the movies one more try in 1962 as a coach in It Happened in Athens, a Jayne Mansfield vehicle about the 1896 Olympics. Since neither The Minotaur, The Wild Beast of Crete or that one lit the movie world on fire, it was an easy decision for Mathias to move on. He served as a representative in the U.S. Congress for four terms and retired shortly after. His movie career never amounted to much but if you want to see the most entertaining movie of his short career, The Minotaur, The Wild Beast of Crete is the one to see.
Director: Silvio Amadio
Writers: Gian Paolo Callegari, Sandro Continenza
Producers: Giorgio Agliani, Gino Mordini, Rudolphe Solmesne
Music: Carlo Rustichelli
Cinematography: Aldo Giordani
Film Editor: Nella Nannuzzi
Production Designer: Piero Poletto
Makeup: Marisa Fraticelli, Duilio Giustini, Manrico Spagnoli
Special Effects: Carlo Rambaldi
Cast: Bob Mathias (Prince Teseo), Rosanna Schiaffino (Princess Fedra / Arianna), Alberto Lupo (Chirone), Rik Battaglia (Demetrio), Carlo Tamberlani (Minosse, Re di Creta), Nico Pepe (Gerione), Susanne Loret (Anfitrite), Nerio Bernardi (Re di Atene), Paul Muller (Medico di Corte), Tiziana Casetti (Illia, figlia di Xanto), Alberto Plebani (Xanto), Tina Lattanzi (Queen Pasiphae), Milo Malagoli (Il Minotauro)
By Greg Ferrara
Exteriors filmed in Italy and Yugoslavia. Rome opening: January 1961 as Teseo contro il Minotauro. Also known as The Minotaur-The Wild Beast of Crete. Sources conflict in crediting the actress portraying Queen Pasiphae.