Thursday, October 4, 2018

By the Gods!

Leonora Ruffo and Mark Forest in GOLIATH & THE DRAGON (1960)

Originally, this was a Hercules story but they (distributors) changed it for US market and added a dragon. I never understood why they renamed Mark's character. Hercules was a very popular. It's sorta a wild film, with quasi-experimental camera work and direction by Vittorio Cottafavi. With the crazy special effects and added dragon scenes, the kids who watched it back then experienced a somewhat surreal, psychedelic movie.


Brrrodie the Westie said...

IMO it's best in its original Italian version with English ST, LA VENDETTA DI ERCOLE. Lots of film were cut for the U.S. release. Mark or his body double rappelling dangerously down to Hades takes much longer in the original and Hades itself is more hellish. Of course there is no goofy dragon, the stop-action of which looks as if it were done in someone's basement.

It's one of Mark's best vehicles ... per the myth, he goes into a Herculean rage, this time destroys his own home out of anger. Carla Calo as the Oracle is stunning, you rightly included it your ORACLES, SEERS & HIGH PRIESTS compilation.

As the vulnerable Alcinoe, Wandisa Guida has one of her best roles (joining REVENGE OF THE CONQUERED, MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES). I think she truly is the best actress of the cycle. Leonora Ruffo hasn't looked better since GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES. And Broderick Crawford steals the show as the gruff Evil King.

Glad the weather is getting colder, now more time to stay inside and watch Hercsters!

Anonymous said...

American International, who released this film in the United States, had already scored a great box office success with Goliath and the Barbarians and they hoped the name would strike gold again. Also, early on they were concerned that Joseph E. Levine might take legal action if they used the name Hercules so most of their theatrical Sword and Sandal releases were either Samson or Goliath...Samson and the Slave Queen, Samson and the 7 Miracles, Goliath and the Vampires, Goliath and the Sins of Babylon.

Richard Svensson said...

Strange and sprawling it may be, but I really enjoy this movie, both the original Italian and the US version. And as I am a die hard monster fan, I don't mind the tacked-on dragon at all. It is however strangely obvious that it is a later addition. Forest looks slightly different in those scenes -I can't pinpoint exactly why, but he does.
Some years ago I talked to dragon stop-motion animator Jim Danforth online, and he said this was his first pro job. It was a bit rushed, but enjoyable nonetheless. He collaborated on the dragon with Victor Delgado, who had assisted his brother Marcel when he built the famous puppets and giant props for the original "King Kong."

Anonymous said...

I think the dragon sequences were filmed in Hollywood with a different actor. I have some stills from the film and I'm sure the actor in them isn't Mark Forest. They also make a point of having the leading lady in chains keep her face turned away from the camera.

On another topic, I just read that Gabriele Antonini, memorable as young Ulysses in the two Reeves Hercules films, has passed away.

PEPLUM TV said...

The woman is definitely not Leonora but the man is definitely Mark

Sad to hear about Gabriele's passing. I liked him a lot.