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THE Devil OF THE Desert AGAINST THE Son OF Hercules (Antonio Margheriti, 1964) **
I always include a number of "Peplums" in my Easter epic viewing but, so far, I have only met with disappointment despite the credentials of those involved! The English moniker of this one muddles its pedigree by making an Arabian Nights fantasy seem like a typical mythological effort: indeed, leading man Kirk Morris is ostensibly muscle-bound and dubbed Anthar The Invincible (the film's original title) and, frankly, he could well have gone by any other name since his characterization offers nothing at all new to what he was given to do as Maciste, or any other legendary hero, for that matter!
The two villains we saw in the same director's THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) virtually reprise their roles here, which further adds to the lack of novelty on display; even more slapdash is the fact that the protagonist is alternately identified as unfamiliar and a known threat to his adversaries! I guess I should point out that Morris battles a rhinoceros at a later stage in the proceedings, and the chief baddie has a hall of mirrors installed in a room of his castle (or, rather, that of the ruler he killed to usurp his throne). The female lead, then, is a Princess played by French actress Michele Girardon, who had come down quite a bit from roles in films by Luis Bunuel and Howard Hawks! who manages to escape his clutches (he being ever so clumsy in his approach to romantic persuasion) and saved from drowning by Morris and his dumb boyish sidekick (whom he simply calls "Mute"!), who naturally take up her cause at the bat of an eyelid given that, apparently, they have no life to speak of!!
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