Samson and the Sea Beasts / Sansone contro i pirati (1963)

2.5 out of 5

Another teaming of Boccia and Morris also adds Malatesta among the credits to bring together the three least charismatic and talented among the peplum/fusto canon. This terrible trifecta manages to make a pirate adventure a boring affair even with an impressive fleet of ships at the productions disposal. The plot is virtually non-existent as Samson attempts to thwart the rampaging Murad, ruler of Devil's Island and a villainous pirate who partakes in the sinking of ships, amassing stolen riches and selling captured women in slave auctions.

With a story like that, the viewer should expect buckles to get a proper swash. Sadly, what little action there is consists of a sequence where Samson is forced to avoid impalement by pulling a ship manned by a dozen men and another scene that sees our less than stoic hero battle it out with an immobile alligator prop. Morris's female fans will be pleased to know that he remains shirtless through the bulk of the film and even does that sucking in of his gut he was "famous" for to make his chest poke out more prominently.

Margaret Lee is gorgeous here and the true highlight of the film. Thank goodness she gets a load of screen time that's worth a pirate's booty. Her eyes and that luscious smirk of hers are in abundance here and that alone makes the film worth a viewing. Also, the films score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino is stupendous and you'll likely be humming the main theme during and after the films end. This score definitely deserved a much better movie instead of the unimaginative one Guido Malatesta wrote for it. Incidentally, there are far better pirate-peplum amalgamations such as the action oriented Hercules and the Black Pirate, 1964, with Sergio Ciani and also the pseudo historical Julius Caesar Against the Pirates, 1962 with a scene devouring Gordon Mitchell.

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