SAMSON AND THE SEA BEAST (1963)
aka Sansone contro i pirati
Article 2494 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-1-2008
Posting Date: 6-10-2008
Directed by Tanio Boccia
Featuring Kirk Morris, Margaret Lee, Daniele Vargas
Samson does battle with a pirate who has been kidnapping women and selling them on the slave market.
Sword-and-Sandal stalwart Samson doing battle with a Sea Beast? Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure who the Sea Beast is. It could be Murad, the seventeenth-century pirate mentioned in the plot summary above (thereby rendering the term “sea beast” into metaphorical terms and stripping the movie of its most promising fantastic content other than Samson’s considerable strength). Or it could be that crocodile that Samson does battle with in the last reel. Yes, on the surface, that sounds like an improvement, but just wait till you get a look at this crocodile; I’ve never seen a more blatant example of a truly lifeless inanimate object passing itself off as a real-life beastie in my life – even the stuffed tiger in FORBIDDEN JUNGLE would be embarrassed to go up against this one.
So let’s now move on to the obvious question that you know I’m going to ask (we’ve been here before, you know) – Just what is Biblical hero Samson doing battling seventeenth century pirates? He can’t use the excuse that he’s that time-traveler Maciste in disguise; the Italian title clearly says “Sansone”. I’m guessing that Maciste makes a few bucks on the side renting his time machine to other muscle-bound heroes. I’m also guessing he was smart enough to avoid this one; this spiritless Sword-and-Sandal swashbuckler is one of the duller ones out there, and it manages somehow to regurgitate the usual cliches of the genre. The only differences are that there is more swordfighting and we get fireworks instead of liturgical dance. Even by Sword-and-Sandal standards, this one is weak.