When Legends Meet – Hercules, Samson and Ulysses (1963)

Hercules is tasked with getting rid of a local sea serpent and so he and his crew along with his friend Ulysses set out to do just that. As they go about the task at hand, there is a fierce storm that batters their ship and it is not long after that there is no ship and very few of them left. After the storm, Hercules and company are able to finally make it to shore and they discover that it is not the land they call home but Judea and it is going to make getting home that much harder. Factor in the man who calls himself the king of Ithaca as well as legendary strong-man Samson and it equals out to an incredibly fun time at the movies.

In this Pietro Francisci-directed outing featuring the demi-god Hercules, the third film under his purview with the last being Hercules Unchained and this one being a sequel of sorts as it finds Hercules with a wife and child, it turns out to be fairly formulaic as far as peplums go but it is highly entertaining nevertheless. Making it all the better is the fact that other legendary figures make an appearance including best friend Ulysses who speaks with a lot of wisdom and good advice while Samson appears mistakenly as a villain at first and then as an ally as he and Hercules join forces to defeat King Laertes as played by Andrea Fantasia. Also starring and stealing a bit of the show would be Liana Orfei as Delilah, the femme fatale who looks to be playing every side against the other and it makes the audience wonder just where it is that her loyalties lie at times. Of course, the smart viewer would know that they go no farther than herself no matter what she says or does. Even Hercules realizes this as he warns Samson against her, a nod towards the classic story of Samson and Delilah.

The best part of the movie was seeing Kirk Morris as the erstwhile Hercules go head to head with strongman Iloosh Khoshabe as Samson, their battle incredibly exciting. While there were a number of fun moments in the film like fighting the sea serpent which was just a sea lion (no money for special effects?) or the battle at the end of the picture as the two men take on an entire army, it was when they battled each other where the movie would really entertain. Of course, it was not to last as they soon found out they had a common enemy in Laertes and to a lesser extent, or maybe greater, in Delilah. From simply wanting to get back home, something that should have been relatively easy, it would soon evolve into a chore filled with obstacles though if anyone were to succeed at such a task, it would be Hercules.

The only thing missing from all of this would be some sort of monster though Herc would fight a lion at one point but it would be a tame substitute considering all those mythical creatures he fought in the past. As it is though, Hercules, Samson and Ulysses end up being perfect matinee fare for those that love a good sword and sandal flick, one that has nearly everything one could want in a film such as this.

3.5 out of 5

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