Thursday, June 18, 2020

By the Gods!

Samson (Antony Hamilton) is about to become blind...(the extras don't even look serious...)

SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984) starring Antony Hamilton, Belinda Bauer, Max von Sydow and Daniel Stern.

A TV production of the story of Samson and Delilah. I'll be blunt: it's not very good. I won't summarize the very familiar storyline. In this meagre production, Samson is portrayed as a cocky spoiled man who upsets marriage plans between families. During this turmult, Samson meets Delilah (Bauer) and the rest pretty much follows the usual storyline.

Production wise, this TV movie is dire. It looks like it was shot in some Beverly Hills mansion massive backyard. All the interiors look like they were shot inside modern day homes. They weren't shot in California but Mexico. And it shows. Like a lot of TV productions (past and current), the story set in Antiquity looks more like a story set in the middle ages. It's more ROBIN HOOD than biblical with Mexican architecture.

LOL! This was literally shot in some mansion's yard.

The acting ranges from passable to mediocre, even from the usually reliable Max von Sydow. But the production is not inspired so the acting is equally uninspired. I doubt anyone was excited to be in this thing. They just wanted a paycheck.

Sidka (Max von Sydow) captures Samson (Hamilton) after his hair was cut by Delilah. The set literally looks like the interior of a modern day mansion.

Antony Hamilton is totally miscast as Samson. Physically, his body is on point but his acting is limited and his long hair, often attached in a cheap looking pony-tail, makes him look ridiculous. If the main character's hair looks really fake, what hope can the movie have in being good?

Belinda Bauer is a forgettable Delilah (above). She's very plain and she seems like she's playing along, not inhabiting a role.

The story demands some spectacular scenes which I knew, as I watched this, wouldn't meet expectations. This includes the scene when Samson kills 100s of Philistine soldiers with the jawbone. Or the conclusion, when Samson pulverizes the temple. It's very oddly made. It's more of an arena (with 100 people) and some structure in the centre of the arena coming down on the spectators. All these scenes fall short of being successful.

Antony Hamilton and Daniel Stern. A fake christening at the beginning of the movie.

The TV production is clearly focused on sex. Hamilton's buff physique is displayed when things get boring, with sex scenes looking like typical 1980s Soap Opera sex scenes. In fact, the story starts with Samson 'kidnapped' by fellow soldiers, stripped off of his tunic and thrown into a lake. It's all for fun but I must admit it was a good way to start a movie. In fact, the movie pretty much follows every known PEPLUM cliché. Right after this revealing Bathing Beefcake cliché, we see Samson battling a lion, which looks as something straight out of an Italian production: badly edited mix of shots of Hamilton with the lion along with shots of an animal trainer with the lion. 

The emphasis is on sex. The only thing missing is some saxophone music (the lighting is bad)

There's very little to recommend, aside from Hamilton's physique. The rest is part and parcel of a cheaply made TV movie that's more ambitious than successful. I don't even mind if someone made a 'horny' version of Samson & Delilah but even this falls short of that. The Mexican setting, modern and old, is so distracting that it makes the movie almost unwatchable. They didn't even try to make it look like it took place in Israel.

The only copy I have is a murky one that I downloaded from god knows where (not Youtube). The movie is not easy to find (addendum: the movie is available on Amazon Prime. The print is the same one I have). 

4 out of 10.

How long before the clothes come off?


Anonymous said...

This movie is available from several companies on DVD.

PEPLUM TV said...

Most of the DVDs are from different countries/regions not the US or Canada. But the movie is available on Amazon Prime. The quality of the print is the same as the one I have: bad.

I'll had this info in the review.

orsh549 said...

Definitely not a good movie, and the money spent to make this was probably in pesos. I would rate it 2 stars.

Scott Ochiltree said...

This film is a classic example of a foolish remake of a classic Peplum movie.

Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 version starring Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature is the "gold standard" for this Biblical story.