26 April 2011 | Chase_Witherspoon
David, Goliath and the dancing girls
Spaghetti biblical study elevated somewhat in status by the appearance of Orson Welles playing King Saul. Ivo Payer is David, the man who would be king of the Israelites, but who must first defeat Asrod, King of the Philistines (Meniconi) who's managed to lure the hermit behemoth Goliath (Kronos) as his secret weapon. Beginning with David's journey to Jerusalem, where he quickly establishes himself as a shepherd (or radical, depending on your lean), freeing the slaves and showing compassion for the wicked, he is taken in by the Prophets and groomed as the next King. His inevitable battle to the death with Goliath is a disappointingly brief action sequence, with Goliath shown in the distance to distort the height difference which is obviously far less than desirable. The bloody battle that follows is everything a sword and sandal movie promises to be, again, albeit too brief.
Welles is essentially a peripheral character although unsurprisingly, his performance towers above those around him; Massimo Serato as ally turned conspirator Abner does a reasonable job and although not as buff as a Steve Reeves or Brad Harris, Ivo Payer isn't as wooden as one might expect of films of this ilk. Meniconi too isn't bad as the evil Asrod, although why he would bet the house on a 6 foot maybe 5 inch Neanderthal who can military press an ancient stone tablet beggars belief. But then it did happen according to the Old Testament. Goliath was probably much bigger than depicted here – cinematography tricks fail to enlarge Kronos to the necessary proportions.
Colourful sets, appropriate score and functional dialogue (dubbed) permits some standard of entertainment and unlike most biblical epics, "David & Goliath" is compact at about an hour and a half. If you're home alone over Easter or Christmas, don't have high expectations and could cop a low-key sermon (scantily clad dancing girls an unexpected bonus), "David & Goliath" might keep you mildly entertained.