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"Samson" Films

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About These Films

Alan Steel (Sergio Ciani)
Hercules & the Black Pirate (1964 Film)

About These Films:  "Samson" was one of the names used when filmmakers and/or distributors couldn't use or didn't want to use the name of "Hercules" for its films in the 1950s and 60s.  Many of the times, Samson was exactly like the established character of Hercules except in name.  There is rarely ever reference to Biblical times and, oddly enough, Samson in movies of the 60s never has long hair!  Samson was simply another recognizable name of a mighty-man character that could appeal to audiences.  Other popular names used for sword-and-sandal movies of the 60s include Colossus, Goliath, Maciste, and Thor.

Hercules & the Black Pirate (1964):  Technically, this is not a Hercules film.  When it was produced in Italy, the character was called Sansone, Italian for Samson.  This may be due to the fact that they could not call him Hercules for legal reasons.  Whatever the case, he was MEANT to be Hercules, and when the film was released in America, he is called Hercules.  That is a good thing, because this character is more of a Hercules than he is a Samson.  For one thing, Samson's powers are supposed to come from him having long hair.  The character in this movie has nice, trim hair.

    One thing that kind of bugs me: Hercules has no beard in this movie!  Almost every Hercules movie featured the character with a beard, and it's a physical characteristic that helps define Hercules' personality.  On the plus side, Alan Steel looks MUCH better without a beard (see him in "Hercules Against the Moon Men").  This is one of the few times in Hercules shows I can accept a Hercules without a beard.  Alan Steel (aka Sergio Ciani) is engaging enough as an actor, and muscular enough, to give a convincing performance.  He's just a very likable Herculean actor.

    This is an unusual Hercules film.  Not bad, or weird, just unusual.  Hercules is taken out of the Ancient Greece/Ancient Rome time period, completely.  The element of fantasy is totally stripped.  There are no monsters, or witches, or anything else supernatural besides Hercules, himself.  This is actually a swashbuckler/pirate movie with the character concept of Hercules added to the mix.  Set in Elizabethan times, Hercules is based on a Spanish colony, fighting for the Spanish Navy.  He is known only as Hercules and has no last name.  His rank is Captain, and he is noted to be the best fighting man in the Navy, if not the world.

    So how did Hercules come to this time period?  That was purposely meant to be mysterious.  We know that Hercules was adopted by an older woman who also took in another foster son.  Was Hercules fully grown at the time he was adopted?  Was this, in fact, the same Hercules as from Greek mythology?  We are led to believe, "yes", although it is never clearly stated.  Hercules' origin in this film is not given.  We simply know that Hercules is in this time period.  Hercules' adoptive mother was an inn-keeper, and Hercules became a fisherman.  When he joined the Navy, he quickly worked his way up to Captain.  Hercules is not a member of the nobility.  Although noted for his superhuman strength and fighting ability, Hercules is looked down upon...by the Governor, especially...as being a member of the lower class.  This poses a bit of a problem, because Hercules is in love with beautiful Rosita, daughter of the Governor.  It is held in secret by the couple until Hercules can ask the Governor for her hand in marriage.  Later in the film, when Hercules asks the Governor, he is not only refused, but kicked out of the Navy.  It is not until the end of the movie, after Hercules defeats the Black Pirate and the traitorous Rodrigo once and for all, and rescues little Alma, that the Governor sees the error of his ways and grants Hercules marriage into the family.

    This is also one of the few Hercules movies where the cast of characters is so engaging.  I really wish they had been given better mention in the credits so viewers knew who played who.  Alma is the little blonde daughter of the Governor who idolizes Hercules.  She's cute, and funny.  Alonzo is the Governor who is basically a good guy, but wrong in his belief that Hercules is not worthy because he is not nobility.  Carmelita is the Governor's wife (a knockout, really), who is a bit more mild-mannered and the voice of reason.  We know that Rosita is not her real daughter, but she loves Rosita as if she were her own.  Alma is actually Carmelita's child.  Rosita is the beautiful, fully-grown daughter of the Governor who is in love with Hercules, and vice-versa.

    Rodrigo is the second-in-command under the Governor who we think is a good guy at first, and later find that he is in cahoots with The Black Pirate.  Rodrigo is actually jealous of the Governor, for he lusts Carmelita.  The Governor doesn't know of this, but a long time ago Carmelita and Rodrigo were an item.  When Carmelita broke off the relationship, and later married Alonzo, she took pity on Rodrigo and helped him move up the ranks to become the second-most powerful man on the colony.  However, this was not good enough for Rodrigo, and he plotted behind everyone's back to kill the Governor and become fabulously wealthy with stolen gold; neither which works.  Rodrigo really has nothing against Hercules besides the fact that he is an obstacle in his plans.  The Black Pirate, on the other hand, is mortal enemies with Hercules.

    The Black Pirate is NOT a black man, but dresses in black.  I almost thought, by the title, that the pirate would have been black-skinned, and that would have been cool, too.  But I like how they did it in this film.  Hercules has killed many of the Black Pirate's men and defeated him countless times.  Black Pirate takes this personal.  So he wants Hercules to die a slow, painful torture.  It's only through Rodrigo's villainy that Black Pirate comes even close to achieving his goal.  But not after Black Pirate attacks Hercules' village and destroys most of it.  Now, Black Pirate is HIS personal enemy.  Of course, Hercules kills Black Pirate.  Before his dying breath, Black Pirate kills the double-crossing Rodrigo.

    Other great characters are Hercules' town folk.  His aged, adoptive mother runs an inn.  His younger foster brother is his buddy and even joins the Navy to help out.  A fat, little bald guy called "Scarecrow" is really just the town funnyman, and his large, overpowering wife keeps him in his place at every turn.

    This is a colorful, well-scripted story that's highly enjoyable for all ages.  If you ever wanted to know what Hercules would be like as a swashbuckling, pirate fighter, this is your chance!  Recommended!


Sergio Ciani as Sansone (In the Italian version, the title character is called Sansone, meaning Samson.  Alan Steel was an American-ized name put to this actor by U.S. studio bosses.  The character was simply dubbed Hercules in the American release.)

Rosalba Neri is Rosita, Hercules' love and daughter of the governor
Andrea Aureli is The Black Pirate

Piero Lulli is Rodrigo, the traitorous general ? [I think I'm accurate on this, but I may be mistaken.]
Alonzo Bernardini, the governor, is played by ?
Carmelita Bernardini, the governess, is played by ?
Alma Bernardini, the cute little blonde daughter, is played by ?
Hercules' Adoptive Mother, is played by ?
Hercules' Foster Brother, is played by ?
Scarecrow, the fat little bald guy, is played by ?
Scarecrow's Wife, is played by ?

CONTACT ME if you can help with the cast information above.

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