Goliath and the Dragon (1960) – Vitorrio Cottafavi

I move to Italy for the next film in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book as I explore the chapter on Dragons & Dinosaurs. Dubbed in English to reach the North American audience, this Italian sword and sandal (and sorcery) ‘epic’ follows Goliath (Mark Forest) who has his hands full as we join him mid-quest.

The hero of the film is seeking to reclaim a gem known as the Blood Diamond, which is locked deep in a cave. This leads to combat with a fire-breathing three headed dog, which sounds cooler than it looks, and a giant bat (which looks more akin to a man in a suit hung from a wire).

Intercut with this sequence is the reveal that the evil Eurystheus (Broderick Crawford) who is behind the machinations of the Blood Diamond theft so that he can remove Goliath’s family and take over Goliath’s home city of Thebes.

There is a lot of intrigue set up in these moments, but when word is received that Goliath survived the cavern, plans are revised, and Goliath returns home to confront a whole new manner of trouble.

The villain won’t be stopped, and if the first quest didn’t kill him, maybe the next one will, but Eurystheus makes it personal, by abducting Goliath’s wife, Dejanira (Leonora Ruffo) and this time, to stop our hero,there’s a big dragon!

goliathdragon

The dragon, when confronted, appears to be part stop-motion creation, and then in the fight scenes, a partial life-sized puppet featuring the creature’s head and neck. It’s not so very impressive.

And while this is going on, the villain is putting his plan to seize Thebes into action.

It’s an interesting production, and while some of the locations and sets look great, the creature effects, even for the time, leave a lot to be desired, and are a little more laughable than actually enjoyable.

And poor Mark Forest, the man is a walking slab of muscle, without much in the way of acting chops, something that is made all the worse by the dubbing of the film. Making this film more of a curiosity, than a piece of solid entertainment.

It’s none the less, an interesting watch just to see what other countries were doing in terms of fantastical creatures, and how they would be woven into the storyline of their films, and brought to life by their special effects departments.

Like I’ve said previously, they aren’t all going to be winners, but they are definitely going to be interesting. Check this one out, or pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, and find a creature feature or something macabre to watch tonight!

goliath

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