Cast: Mark Forest, Broderick Crawford, Eleonora Ruffo, Gaby Andre
Extras: Bonus Movie “The Conqueror Of Atlantis”, 3 Short Films, Bonus Trailers, Photo Gallery
In the 60s sandal films were all the rage and apart from a number of truly memorable ones, the genre has also produced some less shining films that never got much recognition. Vittorio Cottafavi’s ’La Vendetta Di Ercole’ is such a film, better known in the US under its title ’Goliath And The Dragon.’ It is a formulaic genre film with English-named Italian actors, bare-chested heroes, beautiful busty women, evil opponents and plenty of mythological creatures. In retrospect, the film is a lot of fun, as Image Entertainment’s DVD version proves and in a rush of nostalgia, one can actually enjoy and appreciate the film for its corniness much better today, 40 years after its making than when it was first released.
’Goliath And The Dragon’ is presented in a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer in the movie’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Although the film is generally clean and mostly free of defects, it is quickly noticeable that this DVD seems to be produced from a mediocre quality Laserdisc transfer. Edge-enhancement is prevalent throughout the film and a number of video artifacts, ranging from shimmering to weird interlaced effects, sadly plague the presentation. Although colors are generally well reproduced, a number of scenes have noticeable blue-tinge, unbalancing the image, giving the film a very unnatural look that was certainly not desired. The transfer is also very dark and not much shadow detail is left in the majority of the film. The compression of the film on the other hand has been done very carefully, creating a presentation that is basically free of compression artifacts.
The DVD contains a dubbed English monaural Dolby Digital track that is also problematic, mostly due to the film’s age and the lack of restoration efforts.
The DVD comes with a number of ’indestructible’ extras, such as three shorts, all of which exhibit very poor image quality, but are quite fun to watch nonetheless. A large selection of trailers and a photo gallery, consisting mostly of lobby cards for various sandal films, are also part of this release.
As a bonus, the release even includes the full-length 1959 sandal movie ’The Conqueror Of Atlantis’ in a fullscreen transfer – most likely a TV version as the opening credits are actually in widescreen. However the presentation is pretty bad. The film is riddled with scratches and blemishes of all sorts. Registration problems and emulsion degradation add to the problems and worst of all, the entire film has a giant stamp saying ’SWV’ on the right side of the screen, about 2/3rds down. No explanation is given where this print is coming from and/o why no better material was used here. Still, it’s a freebie, let’s not forget this, but unless you’re a die-hard fan of the film, you won’t care much for it, I guarantee it.
With the right mindset, ’Goliath And The Dragon’ can be a lot of campy fun, despite the DVD’s technical limitations.