"The Odyssey" (1954) is an italian film directed by Mario Camerini (and the uncredited Mario Bava -  the father of the giallo films), who co-wrote the screenplay with writer Franco Brusati. The film main stars are Kirk Douglas that plays the Greek hero, Ulysses. Anthony Quinn that plays Antinous and the beautiful italian actress Silvana Mangano (Miss Rome 1946) as both Penelope and Circe.

For the role of the cyclops Polyphemus, the director choose the italian wrestler Umberto Silvestri. The make up started with the placement of a green glass eye on the actor's forehead, followed by a time consuming make up session and a generous use of plastic rubber, leaving a small area uncovered for the actor to see.

For distant views they made limbs for a 35-foot mechanical man moved by wires and bellows. The giant legs had air pumps attached to make the calf muscles swell for realistic effects as the giant goes walking.

Giand shadow for the live Polyphemus is obtained by making use of the old cinematic trick of arranging lights and reflectors close and below actor.


images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection