With the look of Italian swords and sandals on the go, GOLIATH AND BARBARIAN are one of the highlights.
Steve Reeves of the United States plays with his beard and big muscles as he plays a character known as Goliath names but something that sounds real but still doesn’t look good. The footnotes would be helpful in this regard. The quality of this DVD transmission is very good, and it is quite high for most of the genre that reached its peak in the early 1960s.
The ultra wide screen transmission produced sharp images and full colors, in contrast to the washed colors on the partner piece on the flip side of the DVD now available: GOLIATH AND VAMPIRES. The latter does not have Reeves or vampires but former Tarzan scleman Gordon Scott.
The credit sequence of both films is curious. While Scott plowed his seashells, the credits briefly recounted a song that sounded very common. . . music points included in LP’s album GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIAN names. Les Baxter was praised for hitting the BARBARIAN, but the credits for this DVD version of the film list include another composer, and Les Baxter’s points are nowhere to be found.
As a credit base, with the title itself written in Italian, we only see the legs of horses running past. While the film was being released in the US by AIP, we saw – at least in my uncle’s theater – a smoky colored film on the screen (as we see in the HOUSE OF USHER) and the listing of Les Baxter’s name as composer. The wide screen process is called ColorScope (?), Not Totalscore as it is here.
The credits also show the role of “Bruce Cabot” in the movie King KONG and John Wayne (his role in the film Paul Newman W.U.S.A.). In GOLIATH AND BARBARS, he is less visible, especially since his English conversation is called by someone else and his screen time should be 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
At least GOLIATH AND VAMPIRES offer French actor Jacques Sarnas a multi-screen presence – slightly hidden even under the veil – but not unlike his appearance as a leading figure like Paris in HELEN OF TROY. In that film he was at the forefront of muscleman and beefcake, but not as faithful as Paris as Brat Pitt starring Achilles in TROY. At VAMPIRES he seems to have decided to hide rather than compete with Gordon Scott in the tissue department.
However, Cabot’s brief appearance makes sense as does Broderick Crawford’s great appearance as a bad king in GOLIATH AND DRAGON and a powerful warlord in the CASTILIA. At least Crawford appears in those films.
Making GOLIATH AND BARBARIAN
Making GOLIATH AND BARBARIAN one of the best looking things in Italy is the presence of the dark, unique look of Chelo Alonso. His mere presence, regardless of whether Fredericks of Verona wears a particular outfit, makes the viewer oblivious to all the amazing, testosterone-dropping male characters – even Reves himself. Reeves actually lies about riding a horse at the end of the film, something we are not used to seeing in his films, or his leading wife is Sylvia Koscina.
If you are a fan of this genre and love the sharp images on your screen, GOLIATH AND USERS should take a closer look and add to your collection. Only the COLOSSUS OF RHODES filled the wide-screen images of this glorious Italian-made globe (unlike the big budget, the big league, star-studded products like BEN-HUR, EL CID, and THE FALL OF THE ROMAN Empire), English-speaking joy, sword and sandals to watch. One memory from my first view of the film comes back to me after all these years: when one of the outdoor horses put money down from his ditch ****, a young friend of mine remarked: “This exhaust horse doesn’t work well.”
According to another Italian sword and shoe spectacle, these inserts called ROME CONTINUED WITH ROMANS fall far short of the above, without, perhaps, the fantasy aspect added to togas and swords.
WAR OF ZOMBIES
I have been trying to decide for a while whether I should buy a DVD of the film that I only remember in part from the mid-sixties. When it appeared as the lower part of the dual AIP feature under the title WAR OF ZOMBIES, I was the assistant theater theater back south of Illinois.
At the time, I knew very little about the type of sword and sandals because my father’s theaters in western central Illinois had played Italian legends such as GOLIATH AND BARBARIAN, GIANT OF MARATHON, GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON, and MINOTAUR. Nice things.
I even got to know Italian actors everywhere like Etore Manni, who plays the second banana at Brit strongman Reg Park in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN, the highest quality film when one cares about the quality of the images. After all, the first one was recorded in 70mm, and sharp eyes can enjoy this. THE SECRET OF ANSWER SCIENCE once made fun of it, but their puerile jokes fade faster than the sharp images of Atlantis.
Study of mythology
I am happy to show it in the study of mythology because this text captures the emotions of Greek mythology – not through Park’s dialogue as he speaks to Zeus, his father, but because of the inclusion of real figures from ancient myths.
Etore Manni is a hero in ROME for continuing Rome or the MINERAL WAR, while John Drew Barrymore, who plays Ulysses in TrojAN HORSE, claims to be a villain. Aside from the well-spoken American language among the lesser-known characters in English – just before the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns – it’s fun to watch and, especially in the case, listen. He has Barrymore’s expertise of chewing and extracting viewers from the film and putting them at the forefront of stage production. Orson Welles is the only director of the film.
Unfortunately, the quality of this DVD is disappointing. I was looking forward to seeing another war with the resurrected Roman soldiers lighting their swords while they were covered with a blue mist. In this DVD, the fog is all you see; dead soldiers missing in the background. In nightly events, the characters are invisible, visible only occasionally in the flesh and mispronounced in English.
The subtitles would be helpful, as would be the case with the presentation in wide screen or letterbox. Aside from the very high cost of this one-case DVD, the product remains as low as no refund attempts. That is a real shame, for the absence of a hero with big muscles like Hercules, in some ways, is a combination.
Etore Manni is everyone involved in the struggles involving his brain and not his pecs. One day, a filmmaker who specializes in sword and shoe attempts may want to do a little research on the actor and, perhaps, compile a book-length fee.
HERCULES IN THE FAVORITE WORLD
In the meantime, we have provided some DVD products for Italian import efforts such as GOLIATH AND BARBARIANS. Give us bright and colorful fairy tales such as HERCULES AND THE WAPEN WOMEN and HERCULES IN THE FAVORITE WORLD, or special Harryhausen efforts such as CLASH OF THE TITANS and JASON AND ARGONAUTS to help us fascinate our young readers, and, the world of fairy tales.
Charles J. Garard is a PhD in books and films now living in Ningbo, China, where he teaches literature, writing, and English language history. Prior to Ningbo, he lived and taught in Anshan, China. He writes about films and fairy tales (like his latest article about Indonesian creatures published in a regular magazine) and works on his novels about the passage of time, vampires, and common topics. He is now working on speculation of his experience in China.