64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Most people reading this are likely to have a pretty good knowledge of peplum films, so there's no need for any rehash of the sword-and-sandal movie genre history. The two films featured on this disc (two-sided single disc) are among the best (and rarest) of the genre.
As a kid, I enjoyed these types of movies almost as much as horror and sci-fi, and like many, was captivated by Steve Reeves `Hercules' and `Hercules Unchained', which really kicked the peplum craze in gear. Reeves was hugely popular, and released five films in 1959 alone. These films include HERCULES UNCHAINED, THE GIANT OF MARATHON, THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII, THE WHITE WARRIOR and one of the films on this set, GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS. To me, this and fantasy/adventure THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD were his best. `GOLIATH' is darker and more violent than Reeves' other films, and is helped by having an uncharacteristically strong female lead in the exotic Cuban beauty Chelo Alonso. Supporting cast include Bruce (KING KONG) Cabot and the weird looking servant of Barbara Steele from Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY.
As fans will know, this is a revenge tale, where Reeves vows to exact justice from the barbarians who raped his village and killed his father. Wearing a weird fright mask and a long leather glove with bear claws (he rips the neck out of his first two victims), and swinging a 50lb. rock in a rope sling, he wrecks havoc on bands of barbarians. He gets captured, which leads to one of the great scenes of the sword-and-sandal genre: Reeves tied to several horses that are to tear him apart. He is able to rein them all in, muscles bulging. It's truly an iconic scene. The rest of the film is exciting and highly entertaining. The English dubbing is better than normally seen in these films (as is the cases with the second feature). The credits are in Italian.
This film, and virtually all of the sword-and-sandal movies, was filmed in widescreen, yet most of the relatively few such films that are available on DVD are panned-and-scanned, and typically are of poor image quality. Not in this case. It (as is the case with GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES) is presented in the very widescreen `TotalScope'. The aspect ratio is not given, but it seems even wider than CinemaScope's 2.35:1. The top and bottom lines take up about half the viewing area (on my 40" widescreen HD set). It seems more like 2.75:1. The color and overall image quality is the best I've seen among all of these films I have in my library, possibly excepting HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD. It looks great, and the mono audio is clear and strong.
The second movie is the very rare second peplum-type film made by Gordon Scott (the first being DUEL OF THE TITANS aka ROMULUS AND REMUS with pal Reeves). This movie is more of an action/fantasy movie than BARBARIANS. In this, Goliath's village is pillaged (the sacking of the village in this film was a bit more gory than in BARBARIANS), his beloved kidnapped along with all the village's fair damsels by a group of marauders doing the bidding of the evil, blood-drinking Kobrak. They throw the old or `useless' women overboard to the sharks, and drain the blood of the fair damsels for Kobrak. Goliath naturally goes to rescue his woman and kill Kobrak. Along the way, he throws lots of heavy things at soldiers, encounters the Blue Men (good guys), robots that `run on blood' (bad guys) and ends up having to fight himself when Kobrak takes on the appearance of Goliath. While I did find the film entertaining, it wasn't as much so as BARBARIANS. I also think there may be some scenes (or at least one) edited out; one early scene has Goliath jumping into the ocean to save a boy from a monster (looking like a giant sea horse); Goliath faces the beast, then the next scene is the boy recovering on the beach and Goliath coming ashore, triumphant. No fight scene.
While the film is in widescreen TotalScope, it appears slightly less wide than BARBARIANS, the black lines taking perhaps 45% of the total viewing area. The dubbing is pretty good, matching the lip movements fairly well (I wonder why the American actors' own voices were never used in the dubbing?). The image quality is not as good as BARBARIANS, but is pretty good overall. There are some scenes showing splices and scratches, and some are a bit washed out, but in general the colors were good, with correct flesh tones.
The movies are in region 0, NTSC (North American) output, and should play fine in any DVD player. This double feature is on the Wild West label, which apparently specializes in spaghetti westerns. They are to be commended for offering these great peplums in the kind of condition that they deserve. Any fan of sword-and-sandal films had best grab this while they can.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2008
Steve Reeves has never looked better in this very good print of Goliath. As the other reviewer said the Totalscope bars are the only distraction. After a few minutes one tends to be forgiving as the clarity of this print is probably the best I've seen in quite a long time. The audio is good and basically the story is a departure from the regular Reeves forte but never the less quite entertaining.
Now Gordon Scott doesn't have it quite so well as Reeves. The Goliath and The vampires isn't terrible but certainly not of the same quality print wise. Its a bit faded at parts but no major jumps or horrible dust specks show up. It takes up more of the screen than G & B does and audio wise is quite acceptable.
The one to get this for is Goliath and The Barbarians as Chelo Alonso is the female yang to Steve Reeves ying. She's a worthy female partner and quite a good dancer in the obligatory dance scenes in this movie. You'll wish Hercules would look this good. Except for the totalscope this print matches in part's the look of a brand new movie. WELL DONE !!!! It's not a waste of money as the $19.95 Hercules offered elsewhere on Amazon is, check it out if your a Reeves fan and hope Gordon Scott has a more vibrant print in a future release ;)
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2007
Wild East continues to please the collector with well produced independent dvds. The packaging is tops as is the menus. The video quality of these two movies varies a lot. "Goliath and the Barbarians" looks very nice with nice audio, the video is somewhat washed out but overall very good. "Goliath and the Vampires" however is grainy and looks like a cam copy in spots. The audio is fine. Do not expect a vault master copy. I bought this set for this movie and was NOT pleasd with the quality. I have never seen a good copy of this film anywhere. It seems the AIP source is pretty crappy. I do NOT blame Wild East for this quality problem. Both are wide screen presentations and I am sure the best that Wild East could produce. Overall, the set is a welcome addition for any collector. One day, the originals in Italian with subs may appear, until then enjoy these. As with the previous reviewer I agree that the colors are very nice, I DO NOT understand how his HD TV made these look better. These are nowhere as nice as the "Hercules and the Haunted World" dvd from Image Entertainment. With respect to the comments, his HD TV must have a magic button because on regular or HD TV these are not that good looking.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2008
"Goliath & the Barbarians" is one of Steve Reeves best films. It has action, romance and a bit more dimension than most movies of this genre. Only "Hercules" and the "Thief of Baghdad" surpass it. The widescreen print put out by Wild East is spectacular. I haven't seen colors this vibrant since the early Hammer eastman color horror films. Steve Reeves is great as the troubled hero. A man in love with a woman who is on the side of the enemy. He must decide which is more important,the woman he loves or the lives of his people. Unlike todays protagonists it doesn't take Reeves very long to make his decision. He is also effective as his bestial alter ego Goliath. Disguised wearing animal skins,he is an animalistic dark knight exacting bloody vengeance on his enemies. Sharp eyed viewers will spot Arturo Dominici as the villains main henchman, and will recognize him as Barbara Steele's vampiric servant in Black Sunday. He is just as evil in this film although not as frightening. Bruce Cabot plays one of the villains and for some reason they dub his tough burly voice with that of an old man. The women in the film are beautiful and the production lavish. Steve Reeves fans should be grateful that this movie is finally available.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2009
Sweaty chests & rippling biceps await you! The great Steve Reeves leads off the double bill in Goliath & The Barbarians. The incredible scene where he is tied between two teams of horses trying to tear him in two is worth the price admission in itself! This ain't Conan the Barbarian, but then Conan isn't Goliath either. These films are a lot of fun. Brings back wonderful memories of Saturday afternoons at the movie theater with good friends. Youngsters should enjoy the ample heroics and dads will doubtless enjoy the eye candy provided by scantily clad damsels in distress. Ah, those were the days!
Video & audio quality of both films is very good. Both are a little washy in spots and the audio isn't exactly 5.1 Dolby, but compared to the quality from other outfits offering these films this set looks amazing. If you enjoy these larger-than-life Italian sweat spectacles, then do yourself a favor and pick up this GOLIATH double feature. I found them to be a lot of fun and an enjoyable way to spend a rainy weekend afternoon.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2008
As Italian sword-and-sandal spectaculars go, GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS is one of the best. American Steve Reeves sports his small beard and huge muscles as he plays a character whose name is not Goliath but something authentic-sounding that is barely discernable. Subtitles would have helped in this case.
The quality of this DVD transfer is quite good, and certainly superior to most in a genre that reached its pinnacle in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The ultra wide-screen transfer has produced sharp images and saturated colors, unlike the washed-out colors in the companion piece on the flip side: GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES. The latter has neither Reeves nor vampires but ex-Tarzan muscleman Gordon Scott.
The credit sequence of both films is curious. While Scott is plowing his sea-side acreage, the credits scroll briefly with a soundtrack that sounds all-too-familiar. . . the music score featured on the LP album for GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS. Les Baxter was credited with scoring the BARBARIAN, yet the credits for this DVD version of the film list another composer's name, and Les Baxter's score is nowhere to be heard. As a background for the credits, with the title itself spelled out in Italian, we see only the legs of horses galloping past. When the film was released in the US by AIP, we saw -- at least I did in my father's small-town theatre -- swirling colored smoke on the screen (like we see in HOUSE OF USHER) and the listing of Les Baxter's name as composer. The wide-screen process was referred to as ColorScope (?), not Totalscore as it is here.
The credits also show "with the participation of Bruce Cabot" of KING KONG and John Wayne movie fame (catch his bit-part in the Paul Newman film W.U.S.A.). In GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS he is barely recognizable, mainly because his English dialogue is dubbed by someone else and his screen time must be all of 4 minutes and thirty seconds. At least GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES gives French actor Jacques Sarnas more screen presence --partially hidden though he is under a veil-- but nothing like his leading-man appearance as Paris in HELEN OF TROY. In that film he was the leading muscleman and beefcake, but no less credible as Paris than is Brat Pitt portraying Achilles in TROY. In VAMPIRES he apparently decided to stay covered up rather than compete with Gordon Scott in the muscle department.
Anyway, Cabot's brief appearance makes about as much logical sense as the more substantial appearance of Broderick Crawford as an evil king in GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON. At least Crawford is recognizable.
Making GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS one of the better Italian spectaculars is the presence of dark, exotic-looking beauty Chelo Alonso.
Her mere presence, regardless of which Fredericks of Verona costume she is wearing for a particular scene, wrenches viewer attention away from every growling, testosterone-dripping male character in view -- even Reeves himself. Reeves actually gives her a kiss on horseback at the end of the film, something that we don't often see in his films, even when his leading lady is Sylvia Koscina. The bald bad guy with the ponytail that Reeves dashes against a wooden fortress fence at the climax makes a brief appearance as a villain who makes the mistake of hiring Lee Van Cleef as a hit man in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.
If you are a fan of this genre and appreciate sharp color images on your screen, GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS is worth examining and adding to your collection. Only THE COLLOSUS OF RHODES has saturated color wide-screen images this crisp for your Italian-made (as opposed to huge-budget, major-league, star-filled productions like BEN-HUR, EL CID, and THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE), English-dubbed, sword-and-sandal viewing pleasure. One memory about my first viewing of this film comes back to me after all of these years: when one of the horses in an outdoor scene makes a deposit on the ground from his anal canal, my young friend commented: "That horse's exhaust is not working properly."
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2010
Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino permeates "Hercules Against the Moon Men" director Giacomo Gentilomo's above-average, but predictable spear and sandal saga "Goliath and the Vampires," starring muscle-bound Gordon Scott as the legendary champion, with a flavorful orchestral score. Like the Reg Park outing "Hercules in the Haunted World," Goliath confronts a supernatural adversary named Kobrak. Pirates from a distant kingdom attack a defenseless village without mercy. They raze the village, slaughter the men, abduct the nubile young women and transport them across the sea into slavery. These heartless sea raiders are so wicked that they feed the older women to the sharks. The eponymous strongman follows the pirates to their faraway island to rescue the women. Outnumbered as always, Goliath tangles with dozens of soldiers, but he exploits his strength to triumph over these greater numbers. No, Kobrak doesn't qualify as the standard vampire with fangs, a regal wardrobe, and beguiling eyes. Kobrak materializes like an apparition from nowhere, kills with ugly clawed fists, and reduces his victims to lifeless mummies. Moreover, the evil Kobrak shows no qualms about dispatching his own subordinates. Gentilomo and scenarists Sergio Corbucci of "The Mercenary" and Duccio Tessari of "Duck You Sucker" have contrived one of the better peplums, with several elaborately staged combat scenes. Indeed, a couple of counterfeit looking little monsters cheese up a scene or two, but they are quickly forgotten. Meantime, our brawny hero has his hands full most of his time struggling with his opponents. Bare-chested Gordon Scott is appropriately stalwart and purpose-driven as the male lead. The beautiful, hour-glass shaped women wear big hair. Gianna Maria Canale looks as gorgeous as she is treacherous, and producer Dino De Laurentiis seems to have spared no expense.
The opening scene solidly establishes the protagonist's character. Goliath (Gordon Scott of "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure") trudges behind two oxen and a plow, gouging grooves in an inhospitable field. Typically, the peplum hero is an outsider, sometimes a wandering adventurer, who enters a society and delivers it from tyranny, but Goliath is not an outsider here. Later, when he enters Salminak, he is an outsider. Gentilomo depicts Goliath as a peaceful farmer, using his incredible strength to uproot and remove a stump from the field. Clearly, though the most convincing but mundane scene, this modest display of brute force illustrates Goliath's determination to let nothing stand in his way. He uses his brawn to solve his problems. No sooner has Goliath gotten rid of stump than he hears cries of alarm. The young boy, Ciro (Rocco Vitolazzi), that Goliath brought with him, is drowning. Plunging from a high mountain cliff, Goliath saves the lad from a watery grave. Some kind of sea monster may have figured in Ciro's near drowning, but the fight has been mysteriously edited. As he takes Ciro back to their village on his white horse, Goliath reminds the youth that his sister would never have forgiven him if Goliath had let him die. Ciro chastises Goliath because he has kept putting his impending marriage to sister, Guja (Leonora Ruffo of ""Goliath and the Dragon") on hold. Gentilomo and his scenarists sketch more depth into Goliath's character than the typical peplum.
As they approach the village, they see clouds of dark smoke gathering. They arrive too late to thwart the pirates. Ciro's mother and father lay dead, while Goliath's mother (Emma Baron of "Aphrodite, Goddess of Love") dies in his brawny arms. "I shall avenge them," Goliath vows. "I shall free Guja and the others and those responsible will pay for their crimes." Moreover, Goliath is puzzled by the raiders. "Their ferocity and cruelty make no sense. Why do they murder like this without plundering. Why take nothing from the houses? Only the women are kidnapped and the men are thrown in the fire." An elderly man who survived the carnage informs Goliath that the raiders hail from the faraway island Salminak. Meanwhile, aboard their ship, the pirates slash the women, drawing plasma from all them but Guja, to fill a goblet for Kobrak to quench his thirst for blood. Kobrak's initial appearance aboard the ship is rather sinister. The leader of the raiders, Amahil (Van Aikens of "Revolt of the Slaves") enters a chamber and a hideous hand wreathed in smoke emerges from behind a curtain and grasps the goblet. Gentilomo heightens the tension as the interior turns blood red and the curtain billow after Kobrak has drunk the blood. The captain scrambles out of the room, happy to be alive.
The setting shifts to the market place in Salminak as the soldiers force a man against his will to ascend a wooden pole about as high was a telephone pole. At the square-shaped base of the pole is an area laid out with spikes. The man reaches the top of the pole but loses his grip on the pole and plunges to his death. This is the same area where the women from Goliath's village are about to be sold into slavery. An observant man named Kirtik (Jacques Sernas of ""Duel of the Titans"), who drapes himself from head to toe in apparel as if he were in an Arabian Knights adventure, stands in the crowd and takes an interest a new arrival. Goliath and Ciro ride into the market place and Ciro spots some of the village girls. Our hero goes into action, helps the girls escape. Magna (Annabella Incontrera of ""A Bullet for Sandoval"), slips away from the crowd with Kirtik. Later, they meet Goliath and Ciro in a hidden place while the army searches for the strongman. News of Goliath's amazing exploits have swept through the city and alarmed not only Sultan Abdul (Mario Feliciani of "Devil of the Desert against the Son of Hercules") but also Astra (Gianna Maria Canale of ""The Lion of St. Mark"). We learn that he wants to destroy Kobrak: "There exists here a beast who is more evil than a fiend. You can repay me by helping me defeat him." In the palace, the Sultan worries about both Goliath and Kobrak. One of his older advisors confides in the Sultan: "A monster dominates the country with his hooded murderers and diabolical forces. The time has come to act. The last hope of the people is you." The advisor urges the Sultan to lead a rebellion against Kobrak, but he gets nowhere. "Impossible," the Sultan snaps. "Remember we are slaves ourselves." The advisor suggests Goliath might be convinced to work with them against Kobrak. Meanwhile, Astra eavesdrops on the Sultan and the advisor and kills the advisor after he is leaving by the hallway. She hastens to her altar and summons Kobrak. The huge entity in a hood with horns on its head emerges amid red smoke. Astra urges Kobrak to kill Goliath. But the vampire has no such plans for the strongman. "I want him alive. His magnificent body can serve as a model for the army of slaves with which I shall conquer the earth. An army of indomitable giants subservient to my will."
Goliath and Kirtik venture out into the city under the protection of darkness and avoid the Sultan's army. Initially, Goliath regards Kirtik with suspicion. "I only trust my shadow," Goliath states. Kirtik tries to convince Goliath that they share the same enemy. "I do know that mine is a murderer who lurks and hides in the dark." Kirtik relishes the challenge, "We'll see if I can't make him come out." While our heroes skulk through the darkened streets, Magna rummages through Kurtik's documents. She stumbles onto one with a serpent drawn on it. She reads it: "And from the serpent born in the depths of the kingdom of evil sprang the monster that nourishes itself on human blood to generate an army of automatons. Only the proud and noble people--the race of the blue men--will have the courage to combat the monster and restore face to each of those he has deprived." Magna latches onto the name of the monster. "Kobrak is the name of the monster." Predictably, the evil Kobrak materializes in a cloud of red smoke before Magna. He wastes no time and rakes his powerful claw across Magna's screaming throat and kills her. At this point, "Goliath and the Vampire" has gotten just over a half-hour into its sprawling plot.
Peplum lenser Alvaro Mancori of "Ulysses against the Son of Hercules" captures the larger-than-life splendor and savagery of "Goliath and the Vampires" with his widescreen cinematography. The violence is somewhat abrasive, but it remains primarily bloodless during the commission of the act with blood visible afterward. One scene shows a marauder firing an arrow into a man's face, while other shows a spear hurled into the villainess' stomach. The Corbucci & Tessari screenplay boasts a surprise or two, especially during the finale when Goliath confronts a foe that matches his strength. The filmmakers put our hero in several tight spots. One fantastic scene has Goliath with his wrists shackled to a huge wooden yoke behind his neck and across his shoulders. Goliath's captor challenges him to escape. Exerting his superhuman strength, Goliath snaps the yoke in half, removes the shackles, and then dislodges a pillar that brings part of the dungeon crashing down on his captors. An earlier scene in the town square has our hero dismantles a torture device with giant spikes in it and wields it as a weapon against armed horsemen. According to the Wild East blurbs, Corbucci helped out Gentilomo helming a scene or two, but Gentilomo directed the lion's share of the action. He keeps the action moving briskly along in this trim 91-minute opus.
"Goliath and the Vampires" ranks as a better-than-average peplum.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Great- cheesy and entertaining. There is a scene with an army on horseback which impressive even by today's standards. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
A classic Steeve Reeves movie and a must own for any Reeves fan. The setting is unique- in Italy after the glory of the Roman Empire faded into history-not many of those around.
It has the usual a-s kicking that we've come to love from our super heros. Watching Steeve Reeves movies has the had the same effect on me for 50 years: I alway feel like going to the gym and hitting the weights.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2008
Finding Sword & Sandal films on a presentable DVD transfer is like finding the Golden Fleece. They are very rare. And this double bill from Wild East is one of those rare ones. The image quality, certainly for Goliath & the Barbarians, is excellent and presented in widescreen. What a novelty for a Peplum?
Anyway, both films are very entertaining but also sorta cheesy, certainly compared to other S&S films made during the same time. Goliath & the Barbarians starts off a bit slowly, with hunky Steve Reeves pretending to be a lion/monster of sorts as he goes after the Barbarians who just massacred his village. Reeves trying to be a monster is as believable as having the Mona Lisa play a hag. The man was physical perfection and no amount of costumes and makeup could hide that fact. As the film goes along, it becomes better even if the story is tedious. There's a great scene with Reeves being pulled by two horses. It's definitely the highlight of this film. Chelo Alonso is also a stand-out here, in more ways than one. The love/lust story between Reeves and Chelo is the stuff of pulpy books from the 60s or Boris Valejo paintings. Even if I was entertained by Goliath & the Barbarians I still prefer other Reeves film, like Giant of Marathon or War of the Trojans.
As for Goliath & the Vampires, it's the complete opposite of the Reeves film: it's starts off with a bang (a pretty violent bang) but then after the amazing scene at the village square it quickly gets bogged down by a plethora of silly elements that don't belong in a Peplum. Gordon Scott is in top form and the battle between the Goliaths at the climax is the highlight of the film, in more ways than one, but I thought the film was way too cheesy. Too much styrofoam being tossed around.
BTW, the score for Goliath & the Vampires is one of the best ever written. Amazing score for a sorta disappointing movie.
Aside from the uber cheesiness of both films, I was entertained and I'm happy to have purchased this DVD. Let's hope Wild East releases more Sword & Sandal films.