Friday, April 9, 2010
Maciste In the Valley of the Kings (1960) review
MACISTE NELLA VALLE DEI RE 1960 (MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS) aka SON OF SAMSON
Mark Forest (Maciste), Chelo Alonso (Smedes), Angelo Zanolli (Kenamun)
Directed by Carlo Campogalliani
After the Persians invade Egypt, Amirtee, the Pharaoh wishes to free the slaves of Tanis in an effort to save their city. Queen Smedes has other ideas and assassinates her husband in a plot to sell their lands to the Persian hordes. Kenamun, the son of the Pharoah, returns to Tanis accompanied by the wandering hero, Maciste. The noble strongman leads a revolt along with Kenamun to stop Smedes plans. However, the evil Queen gives Kenamun a magic potion and makes him her slave and uses her seductive charms to enchant Maciste and put an end to the mutiny.
Carlo Campogalliani was one of the genres most competent directors. Having delivered a huge hit with the previous years GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS, Carlo strikes gold again with this big and surprisingly bloody epic. The film contains all the elements that make these movies so much fun to watch. There's a lot of intrigue and subterfuge, lavish sets, gorgeous girls and lots of action set pieces.
Among the technicians behind the scenes, Romolo Girolami (Enzo Castellari's uncle and also a director himself) was an AD on the picture. Stelvio Massi was a cameraman and Carlo Innocenzi lends his orchestral skills to this Italian-French co-production (the DVD box also lists Yugoslavia as part of the financing). Future mega star, Terence Hill (Mario Girotti of GOD FORGIVES...I DON'T and THEY CALL ME TRINITY) has a small role as well.
Mark Forest appears in his second sword & sandal outing and does a fine job, much better than some of his later films where he seems to be just going through the motions. He also seems more kinetic in the fight scenes. In some of his later movies, it would appear he was doubled far more frequently. There are also several humorous moments where it's obvious Forest is posing for the camera to show off his physique even when it's just dialog onscreen.
That hot Latin American sensation, Chelo Alonso strikes fire in the hearts of the Tanisian people in her role as the conniving and evil Smedes. She wastes no time in letting the audience know just how evil she really is ordering her husbands assassination near the beginning of the movie. Alonso is simply gorgeous and it's difficult to take your eyes off of her in any movie she happens to be in. An instant sensation, she had already featured in around six Italian hero movies prior to this one.
One of the most striking aspects of this movie is the level of violence on display, especially for the year in which it was made. It seems much of what is in the original Italian version (referring to the violence) survives in the English dubbed release. The many current PD releases of this film (bearing its English title of THE SON OF SAMSON) runs 87 minutes.
This Spanish DVD (containing both Italian and Spanish language) is 91 minutes which would be around 95 minutes NTSC speed.
There is a handful of additional dialog scenes that adds much to the characters and a shocking brief glimpse of nudity at the beginning which is cut from the US version.
Mark Forest was one of the more popular strongmen in these movies although sometimes he seems a bit disinterested in some of them. One of the best scenes is where a group of slaves nearly kill themselves moving a gigantic pillar onto a construct. Crushing some of them, Maciste saves the slaves by appropriating the heavy and humongous slab. Another choice moment involves Maciste being seduced bythe vicious charms of Smedes. This is where the curvacious body of Chelo Alonso gets to show why she was such a sought after Cuban delight.
MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS is listed at number five (ranked by year of production) on the '26 Best Sword & Sandal Adventures' found elsewhere on this site. If you enjoyed Campogalliani's other movies, than this one is well worth seeking out.
This review is representative of the Impulso R2 PAL DVD from Spain. There are no English options, nor Italian subtitles for the Italian dubbed track.
Posted by venoms5 at 6:29 PM