Hercules And The Treasure Of The Incas / Sansone e il Tesoro Degli Incas (1964)

2.0 out of 5

Sergio Ciani, also known as Alan Steel, stars as William Smith, a.k.a Arizona, who is drawn into the dirty dealings of a crooked town when his friend Alan Fox, played by Toni Sailer, is framed by Mario Petri's crime boss Jerry Darmon, Smith and Fox escape into the desert where they stumble onto a lost tribe of Incas.

Hercules and the Treasure of the Incas takes peplum star Ciani out of sandals and puts him in the saddle, but some things remain the same. While there are plenty of shoot outs and hard riding, the main attraction is Ciani fighting five, six, or ten guys on his own. Ciani strikes a chiseled profile, but, the film's plot is grounded more by Sailer's Alan Fox and card sharp Vince played by Pierre Cressoy. The best scenes belong with Mario Perti stealing the show as the only saloon owner who would win a Kelsey Grammar look-a-like contest and German actor Wolfgang Lukschy as his Sid Haig-ish henchman The Puma. Federico Boido, a character actor in many Western and spy movies, makes an impression as the supremely slim, dangerous, gunslinger Tex due to his strange looks.

Director Piero Pierotti, who began his career as a writer on the 1952 film The Young Caruso, began directing films seven years later and focused on period pieces and peplum offerings. This was Pierotti's only foray into the Western, and it is somewhat apparent. It feels very juvenile, and perhaps it was intended for a younger audience. While Hercules And The Treasure of the Incas has several action sequences, little attention is given to their filming, and it is clear Pierotti was more focused on the lavish Incan ceremonies than the dusty Western streets. The ceremonies are given a large portion of the film's budget, and ultimately the Incan plot seems shoehorned into a simple tale of a hero cleaning up a town. Western fans will ultimately disappointed by this novelty, but for fans of the Hercules pastiche films, this is an entertaining offering.

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