Just released on DVD by Retromedia, this is a 1962 Italian spectacle that's offered up in widescreen and in its English dub. The credits are in French (except for the title card), which indicates the source of this element. Print quality is good, with fluctuations, and the Cinemascope is rendered with a bit of an unhurtful squeeze at the sides of the frame. Here are some flavorful screen captures:
Originally titled in Italian, LE SETTE FOLGORI DE ASSUR (THE SEVEN THUNDERBOLTS OF ASSUR), this is one of the several films made about Babylon, which just happens to be present day Iraq. Granted a moderately generous budget, the film has good sets and some impacting special effects, which, though one can spot the obvious miniatures, still remain impressive for the time period the film was made in and the amount of money at the disposal of the filmmakers.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact historical period of this film, or recognize any of the historical personages (aside from Zoroaster, the Persian prophet), but the story ends with the destruction of Nineveh, once the capital of Assyria. Howard Duff plays, surprisingly well--and dubbed, King Sardanapolo, references to whom I was only able to find in some story/painting from the Romantic Era.
What's intriguing about watching this film--as well as many other Italian historical "epics"--is the immersion in a different culture and time-period that has relevancy in our world today. These films, however much they replace fact with fiction, also built interest in the histories of other peoples, something we desperately need nowadays, as we're fairly ignorant of the past and its lessons.
The flip side of the Retromedia disc contains a full-frame presentation of the awful WAR GODDESS, a Terence Young directed bomb made in 1973. I didn't try to make it through this one.