Monday, January 31, 2011

Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World (1961) aka Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan


Other than a Hercules film that was done as part of our Mystery Science Theater 3000 week around Thanksgiving there have been no sword and Sandal films reviewed on this web site. As Ken is fond of saying "the fact that you like those sort of films is a sign that something isn't right with you" Probably, but the films are as mindless as they come and to me they are the perfect way to unwind.

Actually my love for the films comes from the fact that many sword and sandal films are full of really bad monsters. I'm a sucker for really bad monster suits.

This week I'm going to write up a few genre films that are worth your time. The reviews will be short and sweet since the films really aren't the sort of things that lend themselves to long discussions.

First up one of my favorite sword and sandal films, Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World. (Oddly its a completely monster free film)


Its not high art but it is highly entertaining.

One of the many retitled Maciste films about a muscle man who wanders the world and helps out people in need. The character was created in a silent film called Cabria where a dim but helpful muscle man helped a woman in need. The character took off and has appeared in dozens if not hundreds of other films. Most of what we think of as Hercules or related films are actually Maciste films retitled. (and yes the character is the source of the term machismo)

This time he's in China and helps a country find freedom by literally ringing the bell of freedom.

It has a couple of good fights, the hero saving men buried up to their heads from having chariots with bladed wheels from running over them and of course the classic causing an earthquake as he frees himself from his burial place in a mountain. It has exotic locals and takes itself just seriously enough that you can buy whats going on. If you get the chance try it.

As with most muscle man movies there are multiple versions of each film out. I being an insane person own multiple copies of many of them. With this film what ever version you get is probably okay with one exception- the Retromedia release. Stay away from it at all costs. Not only is the print badly mangled, its missing twenty minutes, making the plot line a joke. Avoid it as you would a nest of vipers.

The best thing to do if you want to see the film, or any sword and sandal film, is start out with Sinister Cinema. There prints are all good to great quality and they tend to be very close to complete.

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