Hercules in New York

By Cory Haggart

Mailed on November 06, 2012

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Dear Arnold Strong (née Schwarzenegger)

Dear Arnold,

The fact that your voice is no longer dubbed on the DVD release of Hercules in New York shows how far Americans have come. The United States of 1969 could not accept (much less understand) the cardboard delivery coming out of a muscle-brained 22-year-old Austrian bodybuilder. It just shows us how much the world has changed­. In many ways, you have helped change it. Too bad there's no going back to undo the disaster that is your first ever film role.

But change has to start somewhere. In this case, it starts somewhere awful. Just terrible. The entire plot is driven by your oft-repeated refrain: "Because I'm Hercules." That mindless phrase takes you from Olympus to New York City. It takes you from a ship to a pretzel man on the docks, to some college athletes, to some gangsters, to… a television event? It makes no sense, and nobody probably cared. There are little moments where the dialogue raises above the muddle, and it makes me sympathize with the writer. But only a little bit.

I am not sure how you survived this film. The whole history of cinema is littered with the aborted careers of people who tried to break into film. Success is rarely about whether they got a chance; it's what they did with it once they got it. The choice of each film in a fledgling career can make or break you. So if this was your first big shot, your agent should be shot. Or maybe you didn't' care. Maybe you were capitalizing on past success. It's like you took the smooth, smiling psychopath you would eventually play in _Pumping Iron _and made him a demigod. That may be a historically accurate Hercules, but not a very interesting one.

Apparently the studio said that _Hercules in New York _"was not met with an overwhelming response from the public," and tried to sell the rights on eBay years later.

You should have bought them, Mr. "Strong", to keep it out of circulation forever. Instead, maybe it will show some future Governator how one can rise from the ashes. Stinky, stinky, silly ashes.



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