Monday, January 19, 2015

Samson And The 7 Miracles Of The World

Maciste fights Mongols in 13th century China, although he’s called Samson in the cut released by American International Pictures in the United States as SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD.

How could a distinctly Roman character suddenly appear in China? Because producers Luigi Carpentieri and Ermanno Donati had just made MARCO POLO (starring Rory Calhoun) and figured it would be financially prudent to recycle the sets, costumes, extras, and Japanese-born leading lady Yoko Tani for another picture, and, hey, Gordon Scott was already in town finishing up what would be known in the U.S. as GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES. European actors play most of the main Asian characters, but in for a penny, in for a pound, sayeth the viewer.

We first see Samson jogging along and discovering a teenage boy trapped in a tiger pit. After killing the Mongols who put the boy there (he shakes the tree they’re hiding in) and a (stuffed, glassy-eyed) tiger, Samson brings the boy (Chu Lai Chit), actually Prince Tai Sung, back to a monastery that also acts as a base of operations for the rebels fighting against Great Khan Garak (Leonardo Severini) and his moll Liu Tai (Helene Chanel). Samson agrees to help the rebels by teaching them to fight. And, yes, obviously a beautiful princess (Tani) is involved.

Scott acquitted himself as an actor fairly well in his six Tarzan adventures, and he’s pretty good as Samson too. His voice is dubbed by someone else (New York’s Titra Studios dubbed many of AIP’s Italian pickups), but he looks good in his costume of red shorts and sandals, and he handles the action and stunts perfectly. Samson gets to do some cool feats, including stopping a chariot pulled by six powerful horses and causing an earthquake to escape from an underground tomb. Riccardo Freda (THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK) directs with precision with Mario Bava (BLACK SUNDAY) chipping in with photography and special effects.

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