- Written by Sandi Tracey
This is a story that takes us on an adventure with the Ithacan Hercules (played by Kirk Morris) - a well built family man with godlike strength who is active in his community, so when he's summoned by the King Laertes (Andrea Fantasia) to go fight a ferocious sea monster, he's eager to be of service.
So Hercules and his crew of several hunky guys board a ship, promising they'll be back "tomorrow night" - and they're off to do their manly thing, but the battle proves to be more than they bargained for - the mighty sea monster combined with a storm leaves our hunky men clinging to what's left of their ship, and they're not about to let their women at home know about this, so they send notes via homing pigeons assuring them that they're still fighting the ferocious creature and that all is well and they'll be back in a few days.
Of course, the ladies aren't fooled by this in the least, they figured the sea monster must have won the fight, but Laertes wants to give the guys more time anyway just to be sure. Must be a male thing - can't let the ladies know they failed or they might be considered weak.
Meanwhile the guys eventually find themselves in the land of Judea where Samson (played by Italian actor Iloosh Khoshabe, billed as Richard Lloyd) is on the lam because he hates the Philistine King Seren (Aldo Giuffrè), and word has it he wants to turn him into meat chunks. Seren isn't too happy about that and he wants a big piece of Samson.
Now, Samson is known in the land as the strongest man in the world - so when Hercules kills a lion with his bare hands in the exact same manner that Samson is known for, he is mistaken for Samson and taken to Seren. Hercules thinks he's going to ask Seren for a ship so he and his guys can go home, but because of the mistaken identity things don't quite work out that way.
Only Delilah, the self absorbed and lustful Philistine Queen (Liana Orfei) knows for certain whether he's Samson, so she persuades the King to give Hercules three days to find Samson and haul him in to the King. Meanwhile she puts the moves on Hercules who turns her down cold, which puts her in a very bad mood. Her later retaliatory attempt to betray him turns out to be a real drag for her.
When the mighty Hercules finally meets the equally mighty Samson, the testosterone surge is just too much to bear and, as expected, the two men break out in an earth shaking rumble that seems to excite Delilah.
The rest of the story finishes the adventure - all Hercules wants is to return home to his family, Samson wants to turn Seren into mincemeat, and Delilah wants a hunky man. She can't have Hercules, will she settle for Samson? Does Samson even want her?
Filmed in Italy and released there in 1963 as Ercole sfida Sansone, this movie was dubbed in English and released in the US in 1965, and in the UK in 1966. Directed by Pietro Francisci, who was famous for his sword & sandal flicks, it is said to be the last of his Hercules movies, the first one Starring Steve Reeves was released in the US in 1958.
This movie is your typical "spaghetti" style adventure classic with a twist - it blends two different religious cultures into one interesting "what if". What if a Greek demigod met a biblical hero? How would the people react? Would the men fight? Who would win? The meeting of two religious figures from two completely different cultures blends their ideologies into a fascinating action packed drama.
However, despite the serious (albeit fictional) storyline, this movie is technically corny, to put it mildly, and is likely to give the viewer a chuckle or two. One can't be in a serious frame of mind when watching this or else they'll miss a great story.
To highlight a few of the technical "cornies" - Hercules and his group of well built, half naked men are at sea fighting a vicious sea monster that, upon looking closely, one will find to be what looks an awful lot like a big seal. I won't tell you who won, you'll have to see the movie to find out.
Next the guys find themselves shipwrecked and suddenly one of the guys is being chased by - you guessed it - a young steer. So they pound it to death and eat it. "I don't know this animal but I do know the meat is delicious!" they say.
More corny moments happen when the guys find their way into Judea and meet some Danites , and they all start communicating with each other in the same language. I had to laugh when the only proof these guys could offer that they were Greek was the way they were dressed. So much for language differences. They didn't even have different accents.
Dare I mention the close up scenes where Hercules is riding a horse next to the carriage Delilah is riding in. That was so comical and when you see the movie you'll see why.
The science fiction- like sound affects when spears and arrows flew, though, had to have been the corniest of them all. Had it not been for the picture, I might not have been able to tell whether I was watching Hercules or Lost in Space.
I would describe the overall quality of this newly remastered movie on DVD as very good. It doesn't have that faded look that older movies have when they haven't been restored or remastered, the color is vibrant. The sound was good, I didn't detect any background noise or white noise or anything as I watched this. The picture was good. This isn't the low quality movie you might find on some websites - it has obviously had new life breathed into it and it looks and sounds great!
Would I recommend this to a friend? Most definitely! But only to friends who like melodramatic sword & sandal flicks with sci-fi sound effects and well built heroes.
I received a copy of this for review, and as of this writing, I've seen it three times - twice with the kids. I'm getting ready to watch it again.
You can purchase this movie at wbshop.com.