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“Goliath and the Barbarians” (1959), a film that might have been more appropriately titled “Emiliano and the Barbarians,” was an Italian production that ventured into the realm of sword and sandal cinema, a popular genre in its time. The movie’s choice of title was a curious one, as it could easily mislead viewers into expecting a narrative related to the biblical story of David and Goliath. However, the film’s storyline had nothing to do with the renowned biblical tale; instead, it was loosely based on events that unfolded during the Lombard invasion of Italy in 568 AD.
The leading man in “Goliath and the Barbarians” was none other than the iconic Steve Reeves, a prominent figure in the world of bodybuilding and an actor who left a lasting impact on the sword and sandal film genre. In this cinematic adventure, Reeves played the role of Emiliano, a character whose name could have been the inspiration for an alternate title.
One of the intriguing aspects of “Goliath and the Barbarians” was the choice of Steve Reeves’ love interest, portrayed by the talented Chelo Alonso. This Cuban-Mexican actress, who achieved stardom in Italian cinema, shared the screen with Reeves and played a significant role in the film’s narrative. Her role as the love interest added depth to the storyline and complemented the action sequences.
Interestingly, Chelo Alonso showcased her impressive dance skills in the film, demonstrating her versatility as an actress. Her performance in “Goliath and the Barbarians” was captivating, and it contributed to her status as a prominent figure in Italian films of the era. She also starred alongside Steve Reeves in another film, “Morgan the Pirate,” further solidifying their on-screen chemistry.
Following her success in the world of cinema, Chelo Alonso made a notable transition into television with a role in the 1962 movie “Desert War.” Her career took an unexpected turn when she made a small, non-speaking appearance in the classic Western film “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” (1966), directed by Sergio Leone. This transition signaled a shift in her career, and she eventually retired from acting after her final film, “Night of the Serpent” (1969).
In her post-film career, Chelo Alonso delved into various ventures, including starting a cat-breeding business and establishing a four-star hotel in the Italian region of Senese. Her diverse pursuits outside of acting reflected her entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to adapt to new challenges.
“Goliath and the Barbarians” may not be a title synonymous with biblical tales, but it remains a significant part of the sword and sandal film genre, showcasing the talents of Steve Reeves and Chelo Alonso. It’s a reminder that titles can sometimes be deceptive, but the magic of cinema often lies in the stories that unfold beyond the name.
Chelo Alonso displays her hourglass figure: