Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: La vendetta di Ercole
Alternate Title: The Revenge of Hercules
Italy/France, 1960. Achille Piazzi Produzioni Cinematografica, Produzione Gianni Fuchs, Comptoir Français du Film Production. Story by Marcello Baldi, Nicolò Ferrari, Screenplay by Marcello Baldi, Nicolò Ferrari, Duccio Tessari, Mario Ferrari. Cinematography by Mario Montuori. Produced by Gianni Fuchs, Achille Piazzi. Music by Les Baxter, Alexandre Derevitsky. Production Design by Franco Lolli. Costume Design by Giulia Mafai. Film Editing by Salvatore Billitteri, Maurizio Lucidi.
Universal owned the rights to the character of Hercules, so this film’s main character was renamed Emilius and nicknamed Goliath in the American dub, despite the fact that it takes place in ancient Greece and the character of Goliath comes from the Hebrew Bible (as if the kids in the audience really care).
Mark Forest does a passable job following in Steve Reeves’ footsteps, glistening and brawny as the famed strongman who survives a tyrannical King (played by a barely-there Broderick Crawford) sending a winged dragon (actually a man in a furry costume) to kill him. Placing himself under the guidance of the God of Vengeance, Goliath must now survive a complicated plot that involves the King setting him against his significantly less muscular brother Hyllus by telling the younger man that Goliath wants to steal his beloved Thea. This comes very close to getting our hero killed but, thanks to the intervention of a devoted slave named Alcinoe, the boys team up against the bad guy instead.
As with most of these films that are so haphazardly constructed, and whose dramatic structures are fogged up by bad English dubbing, the details of the inanely simple plot are actually harder to figure out than The Big Sleep, who is lying to whom and which hunk goes with which lady is confusing and not helped by the fact that the female cast all look like cocktail waitresses in matching bouffant hairstyles.
What works is that the money is on screen and what you paid for you get, Forest’s impressive physique undergoes the necessary trials (he pumps those muscles while toppling temples and fighting a giant bear, which is also another person in a furry suit). Whichever of the many Hollywood movies whose sets and costumes were left over and reused for this adventure contributes a great look thanks to beautiful lighting and a director with an eye for creating a dazzling image.