Case Number 16317: Small Claims Court

WAR GODS COLLECTION

The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad
Image Entertainment // 1953 // 79 Minutes // Not Rated
The Day The Earth Froze
Image Entertainment // 1959 // 67 Minutes // Not Rated
Son Of Samson
Image Entertainment // 1960 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
The Invincible Gladiator
Image Entertainment // 1962 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
War Gods Of Babylon
Image Entertainment // 1962 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Hero Of Rome
Image Entertainment // 1964 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Son Of Cleopatra
Image Entertainment // 1964 // 103 Minutes // Not Rated
War Goddess
Image Entertainment // 1973 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 6th, 2009

The Charge

Classic pec-flexing action from Italy.

The Case

Retromedia has scoured the archives of -- I don't know, whichever place has a vault packed full of old foreign movies staring dudes with pectorals the size of moose heads -- to create this eight film mega-set of overseas epics, packed silly with grunting, sandals, swords, casts of thousands, and spontaneous nude female oil wrestling.

Son of Samson

Mark Forest stars as Maciste (Italian for "shoulders on which you can rest a kayak"), the mythical son of Samson and chosen one to lead a revolt against the evil Queen Smedes and her oppressive Persian army of oppressors. No soldier can withstand the mighty power of Maciste, and neither can the ladies. I don't think he wears a shirt once in this whole thing.

Best Man-on-Lion Scene
When Maciste beats a lion senseless and the lion's like "Oh snap, this dude just wrecked me!"

Macho Rating
2 out of 5 lubed-up deltoids.

Son of Cleopatra

Everyone knows the Romans are a bunch of dickheads, especially El Kabir (Mark Damon), an Egyptian version of Robin Hood. The guy has earned a sterling reputation as a freedom fighter and a rabble rouser. When push comes to shove, he's ready to round up the masses and get into a big-ass fight with the full-on might of the Roman legions.

Least Egyptian-Looking Guy Who's Supposed to Be an Egyptian
Mark Damon

Macho Rating
The giant battle at the end isn't too shabby, so 2.5 out of 5 tubes of manly eye-liner.

Hero of Rome

Gordon Scott plays the titular hero of Rome. He's the premiere soldier in the empire...until one day, driven by shame over having failed to kill an opponent, he plunges his hand into a small fire for some reason.

If you think a horrifically scarred and useless hand will keep him from all his Roman heroism, then you are mistaken. Eventually, he'll get another stab at the enemy which eluded him. If you're still awake by that time, then you will be the true hero.

Dumbest Hand-Immolating Move by a Supposed Hero
Yeah, I don't see how grabbing a fistful of hot coals does anything to further the conquests of the Empire.

Macho Rating
Pretty low. Gordon Scott is sporting some sweet facial hair, but Hero of Rome is a chore. 1.5 out of 5 blackened, sloughed-off hand skin pieces.

The Invincible Gladiator

Gladiatorial tomfoolery meets stultifying geopolitical maneuvering. Richard Harrison is your invincible gladiator. When he's not shredding fools in the arena, he's forging a tender relationship with a young boy whose voice sounds like Haley Mills from The Parent Trap. The Big Brother routine is thankfully discarded for a homestretch of one-on-one combat and a violent prisoner uprising that takes place in a poorly lit corridor. I can only assume they were prisoners and not key grips.

Best Sequence of the Film
Easy: The killer midget swarm, during one of the final gladiator bouts.

Macho Rating
Rebelling slaves are cool and all, but in every scene Richard Harrison looks like he just got back from Supercuts. Proper personal hygiene can only get you so far, so this movie sort of blows. 1 out of 5 frustrated Roman citizens.

War Gods of Babylon

Now that is how you title a movie. The king of Ninevah (Howard Duff) has got his armies on the march and he's ready to rip Babylon a new one. Unfortunately, a) he's overly confident, b) he literally dares the forces of nature to screw with him, and c) he's from Ninevah, which any Sunday School-goer out there knows is an f-ed up place just asking for divine retribution.

And boy does it get it, with a legitimately impressive final special effects-charged flood sequence which wipes out the city. Take that as a lesson. The pagan gods of Babylon are not to be trifled with.

Total Dick Line
"Ordinary men are helpless against me. Only the forces of nature can defeat me."

Macho Rating
Props for the city-killing flood. 3 out of 5 gurgling Ninevites.

War Goddess

And now for a change of pace. It's time for the women to get involved, with this saga of two rival Amazon women and their desire to strip down to nothing, cover their bodies in WD-40, and wrestle for 10 minutes straight. There's more to the plot. Something about an Amazon Queen and her love affair with a Greek King. Oh, and there are some nifty battles, but...Wait a minute, where was I going with this?

What I Learned About Nude Wrestling from this Movie
It's tough to accomplish anything when you're slathered in Pam.

Macho Rating
There is none, but no one cares.

The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

Technically, this is a Russian movie which has nothing to do with Sinbad, but it's close enough. There's a guy with a beard, sailing around in big boats, wearing garish clothing, talking to birds with human woman heads. It certainly is a magic voyage, as Sinbad finds himself traversing the world looking for treasure, magic, that bird-lady, and eventually a wife, who he receives from two fat people that live underwater.

How Much Dancing is in this Movie?
Tons. No matter where Sinbad goes, people are dancing their balls off. Screw High School Musical, these brothers and sisters have moves.

Macho Rating
Sinbad single-handedly disarms two barbarians wielding pitchforks. Not bad, right? 2.5 out of 5 gyrating Bolsheviks.

The Day the Earth Froze

Also known as The Day My DVD Player Almost Came to Life and Killed Me. Wow, this is incoherent nonsense. As best as I can decipher, there's this evil witch and she wants to freeze a place called Cavallah, or Calavala Caramel, or something. To deter her from her icily nefarious machinations, the townspeople show up at her home and play elevator music.

Worst Final Battle I Have Ever Seen
It's here. The witch growls a lot, sending crappy special effects at the invaders, some people turn into snowmen, and that horrible Muzak goes on and on and on, until they defeat her and set the sun free. I know this all sounds like a feverish crystal meth hallucination, but that's how this inane lunacy goes down. Ugh.

Macho Rating
There's nothing approaching cool or macho here. The lead guy rides a river on a log, for crying out loud. 0 out of 5 half-melted Sno-cones.

There you have it, eight import movies which don't even come close to the breathless cover art, packaging, and synopses. Son of Samson is noteworthy because of Mark Forest's insistence on going shirtless. Sinbad may have value for those of you looking for trippy fantasy dance numbers. War Goddess will certainly appeal to exploitation aficionados. Beyond that, you're looking at some seriously forgettable sword and sandal shenanigans.

Retromedia assures the viewer they tracked down the best available film elements for these transfers. Be that is it may, these are some rough-looking movies. All are full frame except for Son of Samson (1.85:1 anamorphic) and War Gods of Babylon (2.35:1 anamorphic and the best of the bunch). The mono sound is tinny and dirty. The only extra of note is an image gallery attached to Sinbad.

The Verdict

A handful of memorable moments can't make up for the monotony of the majority. Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 1953
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad
* Image Gallery

Scales of Justice, The Day The Earth Froze
Judgment: 5

Perp Profile, The Day The Earth Froze
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 67 Minutes
Release Year: 1959
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Day The Earth Froze
* None

Scales of Justice, Son Of Samson
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, Son Of Samson
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1960
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Son Of Samson
* None

Scales of Justice, The Invincible Gladiator
Judgment: 20

Perp Profile, The Invincible Gladiator
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1962
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Invincible Gladiator
* None

Scales of Justice, War Gods Of Babylon
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, War Gods Of Babylon
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1962
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, War Gods Of Babylon
* None

Scales of Justice, Hero Of Rome
Judgment: 20

Perp Profile, Hero Of Rome
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* 4.1 Master Audio (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Hero Of Rome
* None

Scales of Justice, Son Of Cleopatra
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, Son Of Cleopatra
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Son Of Cleopatra
* None

Scales of Justice, War Goddess
Judgment: 5

Perp Profile, War Goddess
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, War Goddess
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb: Son of Samson
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0054044/combined

* IMDb: Son of Cleopatra
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0056510/combined

* IMDb: Hero of Rome
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0124319/combined

* IMDb: The Invincible Gladiator
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0056027/combined

* IMDb: War Gods of Babylon
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0056674/combined

* IMDb: War Goddess
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0070140/combined

* IMDb: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0046264/combined

* IMDb: The Day the Earth Froze
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0053240/combined

* RetroMedia.org
http://www.retromedia.org