Set during medieval times, The Sword and the Claw is about a bearded and super studly king named Soloman. The guy loves the ladies and impregnates a queen because she cant deny his macho appeal. He’s executed and the queen he impregnated gets thrown in the dungeon after she gives birth. Another Solomon sired is secreted out of the kingdom and the child is raised by lions. He takes after his old man and is super strong and super hunky. He has the sacred royal birthmark that tells everyone he’s the descendant of King Soloman. He learns of his lineage and leads a band of rebels to depose the king and take over the kingdom with a lot of jumping, punching, and sword fights. After having his hand burnt by acid, he has a blacksmith build him some lion claws that he uses to attack the henchmen of the king with bloody fervor.
For those lucky enough to see Turkish Star Wars I’ll tell you up front that the Sword and The Claw isn’t as bonkers. Then again there are few movies that could compete with Turkish Star Wars. It’s kind of a genre unto itself. While The Sword and the Claw may be more grounded in reality, it’s still very wild and fun. The costumes in this movie are absolutely fabulous. The characters wear vivid colors, spray painted hard hats, fake beards, and brandish wooden swords painted to look like metal. The music feels like it was lifted from a comedic caper and feels very out of place in the film, giving the action sequences a happy slapstick vibe. The fight scenes themselves are ludicrously over the top with our hero taking down scores of bad guys in one hit. Arkin gets to show off his impressive gymnastics skills throughout the movie which only adds to the ridiculousness of the film. The dubbing is also pretty funny with some very bland deliveries during intense scenes and some very funny lines like, “what do you want you lousy bitch!?” That line in particular had us cracking up. There’s plenty of action and blood in the movie and even a smidge of gore thrown in for good measure. The film doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either with an efficient run time and plot. Thankfully there isn’t much down time in the movie and the hijinks have just enough variety so the movie never gets stale.
The Sword and the Claw is a fun fantasy action flick that delivers the bad movie goods. I’ll admit that this kind of sword and sandal kind of flick often don’t work for me but I had a good time with this one. It may not be pantheon but it sure is fun.
AGFA have done a nice job on releasing the film too. The film is sourced from a 35mm print in pretty decent shape. The film has scratches and artifacts from being abused since it’s release in ’75 but the colors are rich and the sound is clear. The blu also features a bonus film called Brawl Busters (1981). I haven’t watched it yet but I’m looking forward to it. If AGFA keep putting out lost gems like this they will earn themselves a very loyal following. I can’t wait to see what they release next.