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Ganor, the leader of the Desert People, murders Sandor, the Sultan of Baghdad, and imprisons his eventual heirs, Daykor and Soraya, thus becoming the sole power in the country. Anthar, a young rebel, manages to get Soraya free. Eventually, she is captured by Akrim, a slave merchant, who sells her to Kamal, a wealthy Sheik. Soraya refuses to be the Sheik's girl, and plunges from a tower into the river - where she would have drowned if Anthar would not appear to save her once more. Together they go to Baghdad, where Anthar gets Daykor out of prison. But Ganor captures Anthar, and sets him to fight a rhinoceros to get rid of the freedom fighter. Daykor and Soraya return to Baghdad at the head of the revolted people, and after a siege, they take the city and joining with Anthar, will finally prevail over the tyrant. Written by
This review is of the US TV print, THE DEVIL OF THE DESERT AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES, which is probably edited. For some reason, a number of the sword-and-sandal films starring Kirk Morris put him in varied settings--Scotland, Atlantis,the Steppes of Russia, a generic "Arabic" setting. This one is set in the latter and does have some nice North African location shooting in a few scenes. It's the usual story of the daughter of nobility whose father is slain by an evil tyrant and who is sold into slavery, only to be saved by an honest, strong, brave man of common origin but renowned among the common people. Morris, who doesn't enter the film for at least ten minutes as the problem is established, is not usually given a lot of pages of dialogue in his films, and that's true here too, but like any stoic hero he doesn't need to say much because his actions speak louder than words and because all the words he speaks are of significance. The director here is Anthony Dawson/Antonio Marghetti, who has done many classics in the Italian Western and Horror fields. Here, he provides many unexpected visuals and keeps the pace moving quickly. The set design is vivid and unusual throughout also. This is an above average peplum film, fortunately in color (many US TV prints of sword and sandal films are B&W versions of films originally made and shown in Europe in color). I expect that someday these films will come to DVD in unedited form, letter boxed, in sparkling transfers, with original credits, such as has been done to Mario Bava horror films and various Italian westerns. But that day isn't here yet, so until then check the internet for VHS copies. If you like the genre, this one is worth seeing for the offbeat setting and the exciting pace. PS, Morris' mute sidekick is usually called Amute, but in one scene he is called, twice, something that sounds like "mosquito." Is that an Italian diminutive term of affection or a character name? Anyone know?
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