Samson In King Solomon’s Mines (1964)

PIERO REGNOLI

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

Original Title: Maciste nelle miniere del re Salomone

Alternate Title: Maciste In King Solomon’s Mines

, 1964. . Screenplay by Piero Regnoli. Cinematography by , . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Silly fun in the sun with classic muscleman playing the ages-old Italian hero Maciste (changed to Samson in the English-language prints). If you want to know the quality of film you’re getting here, the first thing worth pointing out is that it’s set in Africa and just about everyone in the cast is white; when a few actual Africans show up, they’re portrayed as violent savages. In the city of Zimba, the treasures of King Solomon’s mines have been sealed from human greed by the current monarch, but he is murdered by a traitorous courtier who is in leagues with a barbarian queen named Fazira (). They plunder the treasures while the king’s wife and son go into hiding, eventually meeting up with Maciste before he is taken prisoner by the evildoers and, under the queen’s powerful mind control, is made to work in the mines extracting the treasures enfolded in its walls. Shot mostly on large sets in Rome with a few location shots in South Africa, this one is only for those exploring the curious world of the peplum film genre, its story has little to offer that’s different from most other films of its kind (right down to the physical endurance test that the hero must go through, showing off his muscles by beating a bunch of horses at a deadly game of tug of war). Park, although one of history’s most beloved and admired bodybuilders (he was mentor to a young man named Arnold Schwarzenegger), has all of the brawn but none of the star power of his contemporary Steve Reeves, good-natured but never particularly engaging on screen (though, to be fair, it’s hard to imagine any actor over the age of eight making much sense of the nonsense they’re having to perform here).

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