HERCULES OF THE DESERT (1964)
aka VALLE DELL’ECO TONANTE
Article 2164 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-17-2007
Posting Date: 7-16-2007
Directed by Tanio Boccia
Featuring Kirk Morris, Helene Chanel, Alberto Farnese
A muscular strongman is summoned forth to help a tribe of nomads lay claim to a land promised to them. However, he has to contend with an evil queen who wants the land for herself.
In contrast to yesterday’s outing, this is definitely standard issue sword-and-sandal adventure. The plot is surprisingly coherent this time, but it’s also the usual one – Hercules (that is, Maciste) is seduced and drugged by an evil queen to keep him from fighting for the oppressed, etc. This movie takes the trouble to explain Hercules’ presence here by having him conjured up by a wise magician to help the people. My print is only in black and white, though the original is in color; this was a bit disappointing for me, especially at the end of the movie where we reach the paradise and, since it’s in black and white, it doesn’t look a whole lot different than the desert. This one is a little on the weak side, and at least one of the reasons is that Kirk Morris is particularly bland here; Hercules is even more one-dimensional than usual. The best moment is near the end, where Hercules does battle with the echo men, a tribe of people who create avalanches by making an incredibly loud racket. This one is fairly run of the mill.