THE TREASURE OF THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1965)
aka Il tesoro della foresta pietrificata
Article 4451 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Emimmo Salvi
Featuring Gordon Mitchell, Ivica Pajer, Eleanora Bianchi
What it is: Norse epic
Evil viking Hunding seeks the Sword of the Nibelungen, which is hidden in the petrified forest. It is up to Siegmund, son of Wotan and leader of the Nibelungen, to prevent him from getting it.
Though I can’t quite think of this one as a sword-and-sandal movie, it’s pretty much in the same mode. It takes place in the same fantasy world as the Nibelungen myth, but I think those seeking it for its fantastic content will be disappointed; Siegmund may be the son of Wotan, but he has no superpowers; the Valkyries (who decide who will live and die in battle and take the dead to Valhalla) mostly ride around on horses and shoot bows and arrows in battles that they are not supposed to be involved in, and if the sought-after sword has any powers at all, all that manifested itself in the movie is that you can run someone through with it, a power that it seems any sword might have. In fact, outside of the presence of a soothsayer who makes some predictions, almost all of the fantastic content is merely talked about rather than shown. As for the movie itself, it seems to be mostly an endless series of battle scenes fleshing out a story of little consequence. However, I will say that this movie convinced me that Gordon Mitchell is probably better cast as a villain as he is here than he is as a hero; he has the ability to project an effective streak of cruelty that is on display here. There’s lots of carnage, the usual betrayals, a comic-relief dwarf, and very little in the way of surprises.