Goliath and the Dragon / La vendetta di Ercole (1960)

3.5 out of 5

Goliath, Mark Forest, is oiled up and raring to go in a series of tepid combats against flaccid monsters including a fire breathing three headed dog that was in danger of incinerating itself in an accidental act of self-immolation in this American International feature.

A giant bat is risible and looks like a man in an Ewok costume being swung about the place on wires while a giant bear is seemingly in danger of losing the costume head and revealing the stunt-fighter hidden beneath. A pantomime horse of a centaur is far more interesting as is the titular stop-motion dragon who unfortunately reveals a fabric tongue stitched to the back of his throatless clothy sock puppet head upon close-up.

Shot in scope the film is a riot of rich colour and visually engaging. The set pieces are often lavishly staged and are impressive enough in scale and the crumbling city miniatures work effectively.

The experienced Wah Chang and Jim Danforth are responsible for the dragon at it's best and worst, Gaby André and Broderick Crawford co-star and Vittorio Cottafavi, who made a number of these sword and sandal films, is in the director's chair. Incredible good fun.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics