Goliath and the Dragon

Year Of Release: 1960
Running Time: 87 Minutes
DVD Released By: Something Weird Video
Directed By: Vittorio Cottafavi
Writing Credits: Marco Piccolo, Archibald Zounds Jr.
Filming Location: Italy

Starring: Mark Forest, Broderick Crawford, Gaby André, Philippe Hersent, Leonora Ruffo, Giancarlo Sbragia, Wandisa Guida, Sandro Moretti, Federica Ranchi

Tagline: "The mightiest adventure of them all!"

Alternate Titles:
La Vendetta di Ercole (1960) (Italy)
La Vengeance d'Hercule (1960) (France)
Vengeance of Hercules (1960) (USA)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Mark Forest, who plays Goliath in this film, was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933. He made his fame by playing Hercules/Goliath type characters in twelve different Italian sword and sandal films.




Cast Of Characters
(Reviewer's Note: There were too many named characters in this movie with too many funky names to keep them all straight, much less to list them all.)
Goliath: Our hero! He was granted massive strength by the gods in return for his performing tasks for them. Loves his wife and his brother and values his friends as well. He's an all around great guy. He's pretty buffed for 1960 as well. Arnold would be proud.

Eurystheus: Not quite sure what he is exactly. He doesn't seem to be a king, but more like a governor of a province or something. The box says he's a king but in the movie, he just wants to be king. It's really weird. There's some kind of a disconnect there somewhere. Anyway, he gathers other governors (kings?) and generals together to try to get them to gang up on Goliath and his city of Phoebes. He's the bad guy by the way.

Dejanira: Goliath's wife. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders and loves Goliath and his brother dearly. She even offers to sacrifice herself to the gods to help her husband and her brother-in-law.

Illus: Goliath's brother. He's in love with the daughter of the man who killed their parents. Something funky about the plot in there somewhere though that I can't quite figure out. I was thinking it was Eurystheus but he turned out not to be her father so I'm not sure if they were talking about her actual parents that Eurystheus had killed or what. Even soap operas aren't this convoluted.

Thea: She loves Illus and Illus loves her back. They meet secretly and kiss, which pretty much almost gets them both killed every time they do it. No one said love was easy. Anyway, she's living with Euritus but didn't know until this movie was made that he was the one who killed her parents, and after she finds out she freaks and...well just watch the movie. It's too weird to explain.




The Plot
(Reviewer's Note: I don't know how accurate this plot description is because I'm still a bit confused about who was who and who was responsible for what.)
While strongman Goliath is busy battling a fire-spewing three-headed doggie and a giant bat-monster in the "Cave of Horrors," his brother, lllus, has made the mistake of falling in love with the bride-to-be of evil King Eurystheus (played by Broderick Crawford, who walks around barking orders like a Hollywood gangster). Responsible for the death of Goliath's parents, Eurystheus scores bonus points by capturing Illus and sentencing him to be crushed beneath the massive feet of a prisoner-squashing elephant. Worse, a centaur - half-man, half-horse - kidnaps Goliath's wife and delivers her to the temperamental tyrant. Naturally, Goliath goes ballistic, flexes his muscles, and clobbers all the king's men. But when his wife is shackled in the Horror Cave, Goliath must come face to face with Eurystheus' pet dragon...



What The Hell???
1. The movie opens with Goliath climbing down into the "Cave of Horrors". He's scaling the rock with his bare hands down a very steep rock wall. I found myself wondering while I was watching this -- Haven't these people ever heard of rope?
2. While Goliath is fighting the three-headed dog monster, the monster starts breathing fire out of all the heads. I'll tell you something. I wouldn't have wanted to be there to smell the singed hair when that fire hit Goliath. The first blast out of the dog's mouth caught him right in the head. I'm surprised he was able to go on with the scene after that. It looked pretty nasty even though he seemed ok.
3. After Goliath kills the dog monster, the wall it was chained to comes crashing down allowing Goliath to continue on his way. Why the hell did the stone cave wall collapse just because the dog monster died? Much like "How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?", the world may never know. When the wall came down though, and there was rocks falling from the ceiling, someone was under a blanket on the ground pushing the ground up and down to make it look like the ground was moving and that the rocks were bouncing around. It was really cheesy looking and very obvious.
4. Why does Goliath always pack around such a puny knife to fight all these creatures? You'd think he'd have some kind of a sweet barbarian sword or something. What he has looks like nothing more than the kind of a knife you'd pick your toenails with. Crocodile Dundee wouldn't even look at it and say, "Now that's a knife!" It's just pathetic.
5. And wouldn't you know it. Just as Goliath was about to grab the sacred Blood Diamond, he gets attacked by a big guy in a cheesy looking monkey suit with bat wings attached to it, flying around on wires. I felt really sorry for him because that happens to me all the time too! Where the heck do those things come from anyway?
6. So Goliath is on his way home, and on the way, he stops to talk to a farmer friend of his who is trying to get his oxen to pull out some trees for him so he can expand his farm. The oxen don't seem to want to cooperate, so Goliath offers to pull the tree out for him. Goliath grabs the rope that's attached to the tree, and just as he's getting ready to pull, this midget comes running up out of nowhere shouting, "I want to help Goliath! I want to help!" What the hell is that all about??? What does he think he's gonna do? Goliath naturally blew him off and said that he didn't need any help. I mean seriously, what would that do to Goliath's rep if he had to have a midget help him pull down a tree. He'd never live it down.
7. Goliath goes out hunting with his friends, and happens upon Alsinuae who's about to be attacked by a guy in a really cheesy bear costume. But here comes Goliath the rescue! Goliath beats the crap out of the guy in the bear suit for doing the worst ever bear imitation in a full length feature film, and he rescues the girl, all in one fell swoop. What a guy!
8. Eurystheus had a couple of crooked guards and Goliath's brother Illus brought out into the arena where he had an elephant waiting to stomp them to death. The elephant's handler would prod the elephant into stepping on the prisoners while they were laying on the ground, chained to an "X" shaped wood thing. Goliath breaks into the arena just in time to save his brother, but I noticed that the whole time he was fighting the elephant, the handler was standing just on the other side keeping the elephant in line. They didn't have to be so obvious about it.
9. When Goliath finally faces the dragon to save his wife, he just ends up fighting the dragon's head that's stuck through a hole in the rocks rather than the whole dragon. The dragon's head looked more like a pinata than anything else and this image was especially enhanced by the way Goliath was swinging his sword at it and beating on it. Finally he gouges it's eye out which was really cool. They had a nice effect for that one. Eventually he grabs it's mouth, makes it bite it's own tongue, and then it dies. Now how cool is that?
10. While Goliath is in the caves under Eurystheus' palace, he decides he's going to break the natural stone pillars so that the palace walls will collapse from the loss of underground support. So he breaks off a stalagmite and starts beating on the rock pillars with it to break them down. Now how did he break the stalagmite off so easy, yet that same stalagmite doesn't break into a million pieces while he's beating the crap out of thick stone pillars with it? That don't make no sense.

 


 


Best Quote

Dejanira: "Where's Illus? "
Goliath: "I just tied him to a tree."

 

- Dejanira and Goliath at Goliath's welcome back party. Illus tried to run away to be with Thea and Goliath stopped him. - (Reviewer's Note: My brother used to tie me to trees too.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Goliath and the Dragon
Goliath vs. Cerebus. Watch the first fireshot from Cerebus, it totally nails Goliath. I'll bet the smell of singed hair was nasty during that scene.



The Conclusion

Goliath and the Dragon is what's known as a "sword and sandal" movie, which is a term that I had never heard used to describe this type of movie until I bought this particular DVD. A sword and sandal movie, as the name describes, is generally based on Roman or Greek characters running around in skirts and sandals with a sword in their hand. You know the type.

One of the things that made this movie especially cheesy, is the fact that it's an Italian film that was dubbed into English. Although the plot in this movie was a little convoluted, and the very large number of named characters made it hard to keep track of who's who until about halfway through the film, I found the movie overall to be very enjoyable and full of cheesy goodness. I would have liked to have seen fewer named characters and more focus on several that were actually key to the story.  It would have made the movie easier to follow and would have left me with a lot less questions, some of which I can still only guess at even after watching the film to it's completion.

Something else I would have really liked to have seen in this movie is better monster fighting scenes, and a lot more of them. What few there are, are all short and not overly action packed, always with very cheesy and completely unrealistic monsters, which isn't a bad thing really, but it takes a movie that was trying to be somewhat serious and turns it into more of a cartoon than a serious epic.

Overall though, despite whatever problems it may have, this is in fact a very enjoyable movie that I wouldn't hesitate to watch again. If you're looking for a good evening's entertainment, then don't hesitate to drop this film into the ol' DVD player, pop yourself up some nice, hot popcorn and plop yourself down in front of the TV ready to have yourself a good ol' time.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3½ Bees

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