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Bert L. Dragin
Raiders, attacking the village of Goliath and young Ciro, transport Goliath's girlfriend, Guja, to the island of Salmanak. Goliath and Ciro follow. Salmanak, nominally ruled by a Sultan, is actually controlled by the vampire, Kobrak. Kobrak has an ally in the villainous Astra, a beautiful woman who exerts influence on the weak-willed Sultan. Meanwhile Goliath allies with Kurtik, leader of the Blue Men. The Sultan's soldiers soon capture Goliath but he escapes, after rescuing Guja, and together the two flee to a cave in the desert. There they discover the waxed bodies of Kobrak's victims and reunite with Kurtik. Kobrak arrives, puts Goliath in a pit, encloses him in a bell, and tortures him with sound waves. Goliath survives, thanks to balls of wax in his ears provided by the repentant Astra, but Kobrak succeeds in turning himself into a replica of Goliath. The "bad" Goliath and the "good" Goliath battle. Virtue triumphs, Kobrak's victims are revived, Kurtik is installed as the new ... Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
At the beginning of the film Maciste jumps into the sea holding an ax. When he is in mid-air he lets go of the ax which can clearly be seen dropping the water some meters away from him. In the next scene, underwater, the ax is back in his hand. See more »
Introducing non-traditional elements into the standard sword-and-sandal formula can be risky. The results often collapse into confusion and absurdity. Here, however, the merging of horror-movie with mythic- strongman motifs results in a "peplum" which stands a notch or two above its competitors. There are, of course, the standard but always-welcome virtues: a lively brawl in a town square and again in a tavern, a hoochy-koochy dance number inside the Sultan's palace, a beefcake-bondage scene in which our sweaty, bare-chested hero struggles with a wooden yoke bound across his brawny shoulders and outstretched arms, etc. Then there are the spooky, supernatural vampire elements -- not as hokey as you'd fear -- and a memorable fight which pits our hero against none other than his clone. Thrown in for good measure is an ear-drum torture scene carried out inside a giant bell which conjures up memories of similar moments in MGM's "The Mask of Fu Manchu" and Rory Calhoun's "Colossus of Rhodes." Finally, a word of approval must be given to this movie's refusal to use the boy, Ciro, for the comic relief usually provided by those annoying Italian midgets.
There are, not surprisingly, weaknesses. Leonora Ruffo isn't given much to do as the heroine and, as a result, seems pale, lifeless, and forgettable, especially when compared to the vibrant, dark-haired "bad girl," Gianna Maria Canale. Secondly, the role of the Sultan is so poorly developed that the political situation inside Salmanak remains needlessly muddled. What's more, not enough is done with the character played by Jacques Sernas -- somewhat surprising considering Sernas' star-power.
Assets clearly outweigh detriments, however, and towering over everything is the impressive figure of Gordon Scott, an underrated screen presence who was somehow more than just a glorious physique.
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