Samson [DVD] [1961]

Alpha Video's DVD release of Gianfranco Parolini's Samson (1961) is a decent if flawed presentation of an enjoyable sword-and-sandal action movie. The main flaw is, of course, that the movie -- starring Brad Harris in the title role -- was shot anamorphically in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is presented here in full-screen (1.33:1), so you're only seeing half of the image that you were supposed to be seeing, and everything is sort of an artificial close-up. On the other hand, the movie has had no widescreen presentation anywhere since the early 1960s, so we're getting here what we got seeing it on local television throughout that decade. The source print is somewhat faded but not so severely as to make it a chore to watch, except at those moments when the image gets really soft -- it doesn't look much poorer than the prints used for television showings in the '60s, and the volume is set at a good, healthy level. The plot convolutions make one wish there were more than Alpha's standard six chapters, but that's par for the course -- there are some moments of obvious frame damage but nothing serious enough to make one want to avoid this budget-priced release.
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Samson (Brad Harris), the hero of the ancient Middle East, is taken prisoner along with his two friends near the city of Sulom -- this surprises him because the city was known to be friendly, and the queen, Mila (Irena Prosen), is a personal friend of his. He is more surprised when he learns -- after breaking out of the palace prison -- that Mila is no longer queen, having been replaced by the ambitious Romilda (Mara Berni) and the ruthless mercenary leader Warkala (Serge Gainsbourg). He survives various attempts by Romilda to drug him and sway him romantically, while the lady-in-waiting Jasmine (Brigitte Corey) works to secure Mila's release. But Warkala -- who wants the kingdom's treasure and will stop at nothing to get it -- proves almost too devious and treacherous for any of them, including Romilda. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Mara Berni
  • Image coming soon
    Brigitte Corey - Jasmine
  • Serge Gainsbourg
    Serge Gainsbourg
  • Brad Harris
    Brad Harris - Samson
  • Image coming soon
    Irena Prosen
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