Making Them Pay – Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963)

The sins of Babylon are many and it is up to Goliath to make them pay for each and every one of them. Muscleman Mark Forest stars as Goliath or Maciste in the original Italian, and he makes for one imposing and extraordinary hero. Here, the man is made aware of a terrible penalty imposed upon a small town, one that finds them delivering a yearly toll of thirty beautiful virgins to Babylon’s king, to which he does whatever it is he pleases and it is never anything anyone could call good. To stop such a crime, Goliath will have to join a resistance, earn the hand of a queen and avoid getting killed in a variety of ways. Thankfully, the man is smarter and stronger than any ten soldiers put together.

Director Michele Lupo’s Goliath and the Sins of Babylon looks and feels like a big-budget action-adventure film, on par with anything produced in North America. There is no shortage of action as Goliath gets into fights with nearly everybody that crosses his path and by the end of the picture, he has dragged most of the cast into a fight that finally sees the good guys come out on top. One can tell that quite a bit of money was spent on the production and they did so wisely as everything looked fantastic. There was a battle upon the seas with massive ships taking their toll out of one another, a chariot race on par with that of Ben-Hur against the Queen of Babylon played by José Greci, not to mention a number of lavish set pieces including a very inventive torture rack.

Forest would be joined by other stalwarts of the peplum genre, among them Giuliano Gemma, José Canalejas, Paul Muller and Piero Lulli. Also starring as what was most likely supposed to be comedy relief was Arnaldo Fabrizio, a little person who would cause quite a bit of trouble for some of the soldiers in the film. While Fabrizio did keep things moving along with his antics, he was not all that funny and whatever comedy he was supposed to create, fell flat instead. Another strange instance in the movie is the fact that it all revolves around the tribute of thirty young virgins, yet the only woman given any sort of prominence, or even seen, is Greci. Not that it was a bad thing, Greci was a beautiful woman, but equal opportunity this film did not put to full use. Through it all though, Forest was the man in the spotlight and when he was not, one had to wonder just where he was. The rest of the cast was good and definitely talented enough, but it was Forest that the audience came to see.

Maciste, l’eroe più grande del mondo managed to entertain completely by the end of the film and while there were many incredible sights to behold, the only thing that could be said to be missing was a test of strength for Goliath. Sure, he broke the bonds that were holding him to the torture table, but seeing him bust up a castle or wrestle a lion would have been a little more exciting. That being said, Forest gave it his all and when coupled with Lupo’s direction and the score by Francesco De Masi, Goliath and the Sins of Babylon made for a very enjoyable movie.

4 out of 5

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