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Totò contro Maciste

Toto vs. Maciste

Italy 1962
produced by
Nino Battiferri for Wanguard Film, Liber Film
directed by Fernando Cerchio
starring Totò, Nino Taranto, Samson Burke, Nadia Sanders, Nerio Bernardi, Gabriella Andreini, Luigi Pavese, Nino Marchetti, Piero Palermini, Carlo Taranto, Daniela Igliozzi, Paolo Pieri, Carla Crescini, Rossana Canghiari, Maria Luisa Rispoli
story by Ottavio Poggi, screenplay by Ugo Liberatore, Bruno Corbucci, Giovanni Grimaldi, Gastone Da Venezia, music by Francesco De Masi

Maciste, Maciste (1960's), Nefertiti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Ancient Egypt: The wife (Nadia Sanders) of Pharao Ramses (Nerio Bernardi) has conspired with the Assyrians to conquer Egypt, and to that end drugs the Pharao's trusted strongman Maciste (Samson Burke) into submission to lead the Assyrian army. Being short of his strongman, Ramses is convinced Egypt is to fall - but then Totokamen (TotÚ) is discovered at a nightclub, a man who doesn't look like much but who can bend steel, break the strongest chains, and it's even said he's the son of god Amon. Of course, that's all part of his act he puts on with his assistant/impresario Tarantakamen (Nino Taranto), he doesn't really have any strength outside the ordinary - and maybe not even that. However, his strength is never really put to the test, and when a couple of attempts on his life fail rather by mistake than design, that's seen as proof for his divine origins. Now Totokamen and Tarantakamen trxy to desperately get out of this jam, and once try to just walk away - but they're followed by the entire Egyptian army, thinking that the pair lead them into battle. Meanwhile, Ramses' daughter Nefertiti (Gabriella Andreini) sneaks into the Assyrian camp to talk to her sweetheart, Maciste, and hearing him talk she is quickly convinced he has been drugged, and by her stepmother, the current Mrs. Ramses, too, but the Pharao's wife sees to it that Nefertiti is arrested rather than spilling the truth about the coup she's planning. When another assassination attempt on Totokamen fails, even he becomes convinced he's Amon's son - after all, he never did know his father - and he leads the Egyptian army into battle after all. And they're doing fine, too - until Totokamen meets his actual father, an Assyrian soldier he was about to kill (but then doesn't of course), he loses all his courage and makes an escape, and the whole Egyptian army with him. So ultimately, Maciste enters the Pharao's palace, also to make minced meat out of Totokamen - but gradually, the drugs administered to him by the Pharao's wife wear off, and sweet Nefertiti who still believes in him, and a giant boulder to the head do their part to set the strongman straight again ...

 

Now a genre as formulaic and far-fetched as the peplum was of course ripe for parody, and there were several - in fact, this movie's Maciste Samson Burke played fellow strongman Hercules in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules that very same year -, and the idea to cross genre mainstays with the trademark comedy of popular Italian comic TotÚ was at least gifted. The result isn't great, as it focuses too much on TotÚ just doing his thing, reacting too little to his ancient Egypt backdrops, and some of the comedy is silly and/or forced, but there are some genuinely funny moments in TotÚ contro Maciste that sure enough make this movie worthwhile.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

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special appearances by
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directed by
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written by
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produced by
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