The ruthless Ganor (Mario Feliciani), also known as the devil of the desert, is the leader of a Desert tribe. He and his men infiltrate a desert city. They kill the King and imprison his son Prince Daikor (Manuel Gallardo) and daughter Princess Soraya (Michele Girardon). Now ruler of the city Ganor decides he will make the princess his Queen. When he tries to rape her she jumps out a window into the river. Ganor believes that she died.
Anthar (Kirk Morris) and his companion, a mute boy named Aimu (Roberto Dell’Acqua) are fishing by the river. Aimu sees Soraya floating downstream clutching a tree branch. Anthar jumps in and saves her. Anthar finds out that she is the Princess Soraya. Before he can do anything else he is attacked by slave traders. Soraya is taken by Murad (Ugo Sasso), one of the slave traders, while Anthar is fighting his henchmen. Anthar beats up the henchman. One of them lives long enough to tell Anthar that Soraya is being taken to the slave market of Akrim (Jose Jaspe).
Anthar and Aimu go after the slave traders. They finally find them at a desert market where buyers have come to purchase slaves. Since Soraya is beautiful and regal looking she is saved and sold last. Akrim sells her to Kamal (Renato Baldini), a wealthy sheik. Anthar and Aimu follow Kamal’s caravan and rescue Soraya. Kamal, having found out that the slave he purchased is really a Princess goes to Akrim to get his money back. Akrim kills him and heads off to warn Ganor that Soraya is still alive.
Anthar brings Soraya to the mountain tribe for safe keeping. He then heads to the city. He breaks into the palace and frees Daikor from prison but gets himself captured by Ganor.
“Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules” was released in 1964 and was directed by Antonio Margheriti. The film is an Italian French Spanish co-production. It is an adventure fantasy film and a sword and sandal story. Originally called “Anthar the Invincible”, “The Slave Merchants” and “Soraya, Queen of the Desert” it is one of the fourteen random films that were purchased and repackaged as “The Sons of Hercules” for American syndication.
The movie would be more impressive if the film had been in better shape. The music score was done by Georges Garvarentz and is rather sweeping and quite elaborate. Garvarentz has an impressive resume and I assume the score is all his unfortunately the state of the film makes it sound as if it were canned music. What helps is the desert scenes that were actually filmed in a desert (Algeria). Another unusual thing is a battle between Anthar and a rhinoceros.
The story is average and the hall of mirror scene, which is supposed to be impressive, is out of place. If you’re looking for an actual Hercules type film with feats of strength you would find much of it here. Kirk Morris does fine as the he-man but the film is not really a Hercules film. One the versions is actually titled “Soraya, Queen of the Desert”. All in all it is an average film with a couple interesting aspects. It’s not hard to watch and not a bad entry in the sword and sandal genre.