The Worst of Homecomings – Goliath Against the Giants (1961)

In Goliath contro i giganti as it was originally known or Goliath Against the Giants, Brad Harris would take on the role of the titular hero, a character much like Samson or Hercules that many would soon portray. Harris would do a fine job of it, putting his own stamp on the hero, and definitely look different than most musclemen who populated Italian cinema with his orange-blonde hair. Be that as it may, he looked the part and even better, he could act. The story would find Goliath just finishing up a war and about to head home when he hears that his king has been overthrown and replaced by the evil Bokan. His course is clear at this point and so as he makes his way back to remove the man from what he has stolen, he encounters sea monsters, a giant ape, lions, some Amazons, cavemen/giants and more.

By all accounts, this movie features everything that one could ever want within it and because of that, the pace never seems to let down – the excitement and the adventure increasing the further it goes along. The battles are choreographed extremely well with the special effects only slightly lacking when it comes to actual bloodshed. Harris’ muscles particularly would be on full display as he battled the giant ape and the lions, though his fight with the sea monster was extremely lacking. The actual creature itself looked great, but when Goliath would go on to kill the beast, it was probably the worst thing to be seen in the entire film. As for the giants which were alluded to more than once, when it finally comes time for Goliath to take care of them, they resemble cavemen and are hardly bigger than Goliath himself. It was to say the least, a bit of a letdown, but by no means did it end up hurting the movie any. Special effects and costumes aside, the music and the set design were great, the entirety of it well-staged and it managed to be captivating from start to finish, if a little clichéd and unoriginal in story. As a whole, anything that would be considered lacking was easily overlooked as the entertainment value it delivered was so much higher.

Starring opposite Harris would be Fernando Rey as the villain of the piece with Gloria Milland and Barbara Carroll who would fill the quota of beautiful, but strong women. They essentially play stock characters, much like Goliath does himself, but everyone does a good job of it and they definitely add to the picture rather than take away from it. When factoring in all the fantastical creatures and obstacles that Goliath must overcome, this sword and sandal spectacular hits all the right notes and is a visual feast for the eye, not to mention a great way to spend an hour and a half in a world far away from this one.

3.5 out of 5

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