Thursday, July 11, 2019
KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965)
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *psychological*
The most interesting thing about this relatively late Italian peplum is the filmmakers' attempt to borrow from Greek mythology to make a pseudo-Arabic mythology.
Though the people in KINDAR look like Arabs, they're evidently pre-Islamic. There are just two tribes depicted: a city-bound tribe that dwells within the heavily guarded walls of Uthera, and a nomadic tribe led by the film's villain, Seymouth. Both tribes invoke a god named "Horus," which may mean that the closest thing the scripters could come up with for a god of the pagan Arabs was to swipe that of an Egyptian god.
Eman, sultan of Uthera, anticipates the birth of his first son. However, just as the sultana delivers her child, lightning flashes through a window, striking her. The mother is slain, but the lightning's power, possibly sent by Horus himself, makes the newborn invulnerable. In other words, it's one trope from Column Achilles, mixed with another from Column Dionysus. Eman consults with a soothsayer who conveniently knows a prophecy that foretells the coming of the invulnerable offspring, with the caveat that he can be slain only by "the Red Flower."
However, the infant gets stolen by one of the nomads, and over the next twenty years is raised to manhood with the name of Kindar (Mark Forest). Kindar believes that his natural father is Seymouth, though Seymouth doesn't say much about Kindar's mother. The ruler does have a female consort named Kira (Rosalba Neri), whose status is left up for grabs, though given how often she glances lovingly at Kindar's pecs, it's unlikely that she ever related to Kindar as a stepmother. Somehow Kindar grows to manhood without learning that he's invulnerable, since halfway through Seymouth reveals this little fact to his faux-son by having archers shoot arrows at Kindar.
Seymouth plans to have Kindar help him break down the walls of Uthera. However, the nomads take prisoner Nefer, a young woman of Uthera, and though Seymouth gives her to Kindar, the hero's decency prevents him from despoiling her, which leads to the two to fall in love. Kindar also meets and fights Ciro, a male warrior from Uthera, without knowing that Ciro is his younger brother.
Eventually Kindar learns the truth and turns against his false father. At this point Seymouth-- who also knows the business about the Red Flower-- figures out that it's just a fancy name for "fire." He attempts to catch Kindar in a fiery trap, but Bad Girl Kira sacrifices herself to save Kindar, making it possible for the hero to kill his Bad Dad and win the Good Girl.
This is an OK action-film of its kind, but Forest is pretty stolid, and the suspense of having Kindar face his version of kryptonite is totally blown.