GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON (1960)
(a.k.a. LA VENDETTA DI ERCOLE)
Article #1178 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-5-2004
Posting Date: 11-2-2004
Directed by Vittorrio Cottafavi
Featuring Mark Forest, Broderick Crawford, Gaby Andre
Goliath faces off against a usurper who is planning an invasion of Thebes.
Now here’s what I like in a sword-and-sandal movie; a muscleman who fights off mythological beasties as well as evil tyrants. As Goliath, Mark Forest takes on a three-headed dog, a shaggy bat-person, a centaur, a bear, an elephant, and the dragon of the title. Of course, the foes aren’t equally believable; the three-headed dog looks like a big puppet (as does the dragon half of the time), the bat-person, the bear and the centaur are humans in costumes (and the centaur is only seen in his full form at a distance), but the dragon is stop-motion animated for half of its screen time, and the elephant (of all things) is real! Granted, the elephant battle wasn’t to the death, but it still makes for an impressive scene. The plot is fairly coherent, Mark Forest is fun in the title role (though I don’t know why they changed his character’s name to Goliath; in the original version, he was Hercules), and the presence of Broderick Crawford adds a bizarre little touch to the proceedings. All in all, this is one of the better sword and sandal movies I’ve seen, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking to try one of them out.