Monday, February 10, 2020

By the Gods!

Alan Steel, as Millstone, and Brad Harris, as Samson, in SAMSON (1961)

This scene, which happens at the very start of the movie, is interesting for many reasons. Either the wild boar was really big or the two actors were short but the discrepancy between size of men vs animal creates an interesting illusion of sorts.

Like so many Italian productions, the two brawny men aren't enemies but rivals who eventually end up teaming together. Aside from monsters, such as the Minotaur, and a few big villains, there were few mano a mano scenes like this between good guys and bad guys. There were but not as many as scenes with the hero and some rival having some good old fun brawling. It's quite Italian in nature and something you don't see as often in movies in the US where the bad guys often rival or dominate the good guys.

The makers of these movies loved creating scenarios when the more these men go at each other, and the more they become irritated, the more they focused on their bodies/muscles. Who would dominate the other! This is very typical in the PEPLUM genre, and again pretty much Italian in nature.

The other interesting, or controversial aspect, is the animal itself. It's quite obvious that the wild boar was real and was presumably killed for this movie. The treatment of animals in PEPLUM movies, certainly in regards to the many scenes with horses injured during stunts and action scenes, is one of the few truly negative aspects of the genre which is totally indefensible. They are difficult to watch. In this case though, since the boar was already dead, the tug-of-war for this animal between the two men makes this scene more realistic.

Side notes: Steel was named Hercules in other versions. So this was Samson vs Hercules in those versions. For the German release, SAMSON became a HERCULES movie (Herkules im Netz der Cleopatra), while the title of the other Brad Harris/Alan Steel opus, FURY OF HERCULES (1962), became a SAMSON movie (Samson - Befreier der Versklavten)!!!

Cinematic confusion!

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