There has been many incarnations of Hercules on screen. Most of the time he is played by some anonymous slab of shaved meat, a massive lunk with more pecs than personality (see Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hercules in New York).
There is however one example that is very different. The definitive Hercules appears in the Ray Harryhausen classic Jason and the Argonauts. Older than you’d expect and much, much hairier, this is Nigel Green. His Hercules seems truly a man of legend – charismatic, imposing and with a barrel chest that suggests real strength rather than gym-honed curves. He steals the film from the lead actor (although to be fair to Todd Armstrong it’s not easy playing a man called Jason).
Nigel Green was a remarkable actor who lent gravitas and wit to a whole range of roles. Before Hercules he was brilliant as a loose-cannon soldier alongside the youthful Christopher Lee and Richard Burton in Nicholas Ray’s ‘war-what-is-it-good-for’ movie Bitter Victory. This was followed by Joseph Losey’s underrated and underseen film The Criminal and the more successful Zulu. He starred with Caine once again in the iconic The Ipcress File. He is Dalby, a Secret Service suit that Green plays with such a stillness and exactitude you don’t know whether to laugh or crap yourself.
One of the unsung heroes of British movies Nigel Green was great with a tache and without and remains the only Hercules you should ever trust.