Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Goliath and the Sins of Babylon

Today’s Trillion Dollar Movie, Goliath and the Sins of Babylon, stars muscle man Mark Forest as the heroic Goliath going up against the Babylonian empire on behalf of the enslaved nation of Nephyr. The Babylonians are pernicious conquerors. Each year, they demand that Nepyr surrender the kingdom’s 30 most beautiful virgins to serve as concubines and sacrificial lambs. This galls Goliath and his band of renegades, who lead a rebellion to free the virgins and overthrow Babylon’s evil King Calphus.

Goliath and the Sins of Babylon is one of the most lavish examples of the much-maligned “peplum” genre, consisting of Italian-made sword and sandal epics set in ancient times. Many of these movies involve mythological heroes and supernatural beasts. This 1963 picture doesn’t go down that path. Goliath is courageous and beefy, but otherwise, not endowed with unearthly strength.

Still, the action scenes are above-par, including a dangerous chariot race and a barnstorming naval battle. The Brooklyn-born Forest (real name: Lou Degni) is more charismatic than the stiff studs usually cast in this genre, and the film boasts other appealing elements — comic interludes with a dwarf and a tense rollout after Goliath is captured, pinned to a rack and forced to dodge a barrage of deadly spears.

Altogether, before building a new career as a fitness trainer and opera singer, Forest played in about a dozen “peplum” movies, among them Hercules Against the Mongols and The Lion of Thebes. One interesting aside: The character he portrayed was known as Maciste in the original Italian version but transformed into Goliath in the English-dubbed version, distributed by American International Pictures. Enjoy, and do return next Friday for another Trillion $ Movie.


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