Friday, October 1, 2010

Hercules and the Masked Rider

Hercules and the Masked Rider (1963) was originally titled Golia e il cavaliere mascherato in Italy.  This is another of the Italian-made films shot in 2.35 that only seems to survive in 4:3, its cropped aspect ratio from American television.  It was directed by Piero Pierotti who is better-known as a writer of sword and sandal films. It stars Alan Steel as Paco/Hercules and Mimmo Palmara as Don Juan.
The American title is misleading.  Though Alan Steel did play Hercules in other films, in this one he plays a gypsy named Paco.  The story deals with Don Juan who wants to marry his cousin, Blanca, but she has been promised to Don Ramiro in order to unite two feuding houses in Spain.  Her father sends Juan away and he runs into a band of gypsies in the forest.  They challenge him to a fight with Paco/Hercules and when he survives they offer him a chance to live among them.
Juan then becomes a Zorro-like figure, the titular Masked Rider.  He begins leading the gypsies on raids against Don Ramiro.  Ramiro then kills Blanca's father and puts a price on Juan's head.  Finally, after an endless series of convoluted plot twists, Juan is able to kill Ramiro and marry Blanca.
The Hercules character has a couple of fun fight sequences but only about three lines in the entire film.  Though this might technically be part of the sword and sandal genre it doesn't really fit in and most fans will not enjoy it much.  It's possible that something has been lost in the translation but I don't think that even in Italian this would be very good.  Also, the dubbing is really poorly done.  It's definitely one you can skip.

No comments:

Post a Comment