Goliath Against the Giants
goliath against the giants | goliath | hercules | samson | guido maltesta | sword and sandal | arpad deriso | gianfranco parolini | cesare seccia | giovanni simonelli | sergio sollima | brad harris | gloria milland | fernando rey | adventure | italy | spain | monster
Film: Goliath Against the Giants (Goliath contro i gigantic)
Director: Guido Maltesta
Writer: Arpad DeRiso, Gianfranco Parolini, Cesare Seccia, Giovanni Simonelli and Sergio Sollima
Starring: Brad Harris, Gloria Milland and Fernando Rey
This was a movie that I had never heard of until I was looking through Letterboxd for horror from Italy from 1961. This was the last one from this country and year that I hadn’t seen so I decided to watch it. It helped that I had seen a couple other of these ‘sword and sandal/sorcery’ movies recently as well.
Synopsis: muscleman fights sea monsters, a horde of giants and a tribe of Amazonian warriors.
For this movie, we start at the end of a war that has been waging for 5 years. Goliath’s (Brad Harris) army has finally won and is looking forward to returning home. The problem is that the king they were fighting for has died. In his place, Bokan (Fernando Rey) has usurped the throne. Goliath goes into his tent that night and is attacked by assassins. He defeats them and learns they were sent by Bokan. They realized they sent back word of the victory and Namathos (Fernando Sancho) is worried by returning to their city, they will be met by guards. Goliath decides to take men and a ship to get there before word reaches the city.
During this journey they discover a boy who has pledge his loyalty to Goliath when his family was wiped out during the war. They also stop off at an island to fetch water and find a woman left as a sacrifice to Poseidon. Her name is Elea (Gloria Milland) and she knows more than what she is letting on. The journey doesn’t get any easier. As the synopsis states, they face a sea creature and run into a tribe of Amazon warriors. One of them is named Daina (Barbara Carroll).
All the while, back in the city we have Bokan trying to do what he can to rule and to end his greatest threat. He is helped by Diamira (Carmen de Lirio). He also has the giants under his rule that were banished by Goliath. They are used as a punishment to those that defy the king. Goliath thought the fighting was over, but he has more that needs to be taken care of before there can be peace.
That’s going to be where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I’ll start is some brief information about these movies. I learned that Goliath is interchangeable with Hercules and even Samson. It is just a name that people can recognize and get them into the seats. I don’t know if any of them are even connected as well.
With that out of the way, we have an interesting story here. I think this captures the world of this time well. There weren’t long stretches of peace and a lot of wars going on. From everything I gathered, this is a fictional world we are set in. The name Spartan is thrown out there, so these could be ancient cities that I don’t recognize. It doesn’t seem like it though. This would be a scary time to be alive. Goliath was fighting for his king and doing what he thought was right. While he’s gone, the king dies and we have Bokan who takes the throne. He’s evil in the sense that he is power hungry. I can’t be fully on Goliath’s side though here. It does seem they are using imperialistic beliefs for the war. It does make me wonder, being that this is from Italy and Spain, since they had the history of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. It makes me wonder if the intended audience is holding the admiration of the power they had in the past.
Moving from that, this movie on the Internet Movie Database is listed only as adventure. On Letterboxd, they’ve included horror. For the latter, this is in the loosest sense. It only falls in there due to the sea creature we see. I guess the giants as well, but I’ll get back to them. The effects for the creature are great. It is a normal sized lizard that is superimposed. It doesn’t look great, but I have a soft spot for this technique. In a sense, this could be considered a kaiju film. Getting back to the giants, they are guys that are about the same size as Goliath. They make for a formidable foe for him, but the term giant here is loose. We do also get another ‘giant lizard’ in their valley as well. I don’t mind this though, especially for the period. They seem to be borrowing from mythology of a few different places, but just taking story elements to use here.
The rest of the effects are fine. The fight scenes aren’t that elaborate, but they look real enough. I do have that slight issue where people are waiting since the choreography wasn’t that great. This doesn’t ruin it as we are still early enough in cinema and there is a safety issue. Aside from that though, I thought the cinematography was done well enough in capturing the time they are trying to set this for me as well as how they fought then.
Then the last thing to go into here would be the acting. Harris has a good look for Goliath. He doesn’t need to do a lot with the performance so I’d say he was fine. Milland is quite attractive. There is depth to her character that worked for me. Rey is good as our main villain. He is aided by de Lirio who is manipulating him as well. Carroll was good along with Pepe Rubio and Sancho. Overall, the acting is fine. No one stood out as great, but this is more about the adventure we are on than the characters themselves.
In conclusion, this is a solid and fun movie. I enjoy these ‘sword and sandal/sorcery’ films. They are using ideas that are still relevant today and I’d say that this one is even more grounded than the other two I’ve seen at this time. The issues they are facing are a bit more realistic. The acting we get is fine. No one stands out, but no one has a bad performance either. I like the effects they use for early cinema. The choreography in the fight scenes aren’t great, but it isn’t an issue necessarily either. The soundtrack also fit for what was needed. For me, I’d say this is over average for me and hovering just going above that stance.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10