Hercules and the Masked Rider / Golia e il cavaliere mascherato (1963)

2.0 out of 5

This wacky genre hybrid from director Piero Pierotti sees Alan Steel's 'Hercules' reduced to playing second fiddle to a Zorro-esque character played by Mimmo Palmara. In fact, contrary to the Arkoff Nicholson retitle and dub, Steel isn't in the role of the ancient Greek demigod at all, instead being merely part of a merry band of warrior gypsies that joins forces with Palmara's gaily clad 'Don Juan', although he does possess superhuman strength. Arturo Dominici, the unscrupulous, scheming villain of the original '58 Hercules, is on hand as the unscrupulous, scheming villain, 'Don Ramiro', in this convoluted entry.

The film is at best mildly diverting Sunday afternoon matinee stuff. It's impossible to take even halfway seriously, the action scenes lack any real punch, and in the English dub it's nigh impossible to tell what Gypsy Queen Estrella, Pilar Cansino, is supposed to be saying most of the time. Steel, real name Sergio Ciani, would take the lead as 'Hercules', actually Maciste, in subsequent retitled mash-ups Hercules against the Moon Men and Hercules and the Black Pirate.

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