Saturday, November 30, 2013


In the 11th century B.C. the Persians have conquered the Egyptians; though theoretically still ruled by their pharaoh, Queen Smedes has been installed by the Persians and when she is accused of enslaving the people, she has the pharaoh assassinated and takes over as ruler, and things go from bad to worse for the people. The rightful heir, Kenamon, has been off fighting the Persians; on his way home, Kenamon sees the muscle man Maciste (the "son" of the title, though little is made of that connection) taking a nap on some rocks when a lion attacks. The two save each other and form a bond, and Kenamon asks Maciste to help him save his people from Persian tyranny. Back in the city of Tanis, the evil Queen wants to marry Kenamon but he suspects she had a role in his father's death (and besides, he's already in love with Nofret), so she has the Necklace of Forgetfulness placed on him and he immediately becomes smitten. Meanwhile Maciste comes to town in a fighting mood but Kenamon has forgotten who he is. Maciste runs about saving slaves from death and torture, but can he get Kenamon on his side before the Queen's plans are finalized?

For the peplum genre, the Egyptian setting is a little different, and the fantasy element of the necklace is unusual though not unique; you may recall the Potion of Forgetfullness in GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON. There is a good balance between action and narrative, and some of the battle scenes are fairly graphic for the day: in the climactic battle, one man is axed in the head and dies with a comical look on his face, and another is stabbed in the face with a huge fork-like weapon. Early on is a striking scene showing Egyptians buried in the sand, some head up, some feet up. There is a sequence right out of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in which Maciste saves some slaves from being crushed during the erection of a giant obelisk. (The less said about the lion-wrestling scene, the better; do any of these sword-and-sandal movies have decent animal-wrestling scenes?) Mark Forest is acceptably built as Maciste (pictured above right with Angelo Zanolli as Kenamon), and a famous Cuban belly dancer named Chelo Alonso (at left) is fine as the queen. The print on Retromedia’s DVD is widescreen, always a plus. [DVD]

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