Lot, the gray-haired action hero, is leader of the dullest people on the face of the Earth. Their goal is to work hard, and enjoy themselves as little as possible while condemning everyone they meet. Not exactly good party guests, particularly when the party is taking place in Sodom (I could have sworn the title mentioned Gomorrah, but that city is missing from the picture). Lot and his male model sidekick, Ishmael, lead their drab people to squat near Sodom and build a damn (yes, they build a damn, but still live in tents secured by rope). But there is evil afoot in Sodom, and it’s not just the sodomy. The brother of the queen has made a deal with some nomads, planning to use them to get the throne. Since the Hebrews are between the nomads and the city, it’s only a matter of time before Lot will have to use his action-shepherd’s-crook to put the beat-down on some Arabs. And he’s just the horribly miscast guy to do it. Of course, by turning to face these new opponents, he’s left his rear exposed to the Sodomites. Now what could they do with that?
Gather round children. It’s time for a Bible tale. This is a story from the Old Testament (that’s pre-Jesus little ones, so there’s no semi-nude men playing S&M games… Wait a minute, this is Sodom and Gomorrah, so there are plenty of semi-nude men playing S&M games). Anyway, we’re here to hear about a man named Lot, the type of man that Christian parents want their children to emulate. He’s a hero after all. What did Lot do? Well, according to the Bible, he tossed his two virgin daughters to the mob outside his door figuring that they’d rape the girls. And why did Lot do this? Because Lot is a dick. Later, much later, his daughters turn the tables on him, getting him drunk and raping him. You see, they think they may be the last people on Earth, so daddy is pretty much it if you are looking for a stiff rod. Gosh, I love the Bible. It has such swell stories for kids. There’s one more important item to Lot’s story. God tells Lot to get out of Sodom (this is before sending his daughters to be defiled but before incestpalooza) so he skedaddles with the wife and kids. However, his wife takes a gander back, and for this crime (that is, looking backwards), the Big G turns her into a pillar of salt. Now why would he do that? Because God is a dick. Hey, Lot had to learn it from someone.
So, Sodom and Gomorrah is the story of rape, incest, and salt. Well, no, except for the salt. Apparently, real Bible stories are too much for the delicate sensibilities of Christians, so this is a made-up Bible story. It’s an action-adventure yarn, with Stewart Granger thinking he’s still in King Solomon’s Mines (that would be a movie where Granger was good, unlike this one). The non-Biblically inspired action includes some Hebrews freeing the slaves, and a huge battle in the sand, that would be the high point of the film if it wasn’t for a horrible special effect. There’s also a non-Biblical romance between Lot and an ex-Sodomite (she’s found a new position), and some off-screen sexual trysts with both of Lot’s daughters and the Sodomite prince (who is probably still using the old position). For all the pounding of Jehovah in the viewers’ faces, the Judio-Christian connection could be removed in five minutes: make the Jews into Greeks that worship Zeus, and change a few names. Don’t watch to get that religious feeling; Christianity is only important for its fantasy elements.
But that doesn’t mean Sodom and Gomorrah doesn’t have a religious theme. It plainly states its very Biblical message: being a good, kind, and loving person means nothing; only obedience counts. Ildith, a non-Christian, is the only character who isn’t a dick (this film is all about dicks, one way or another), and she marries Lot, so you know Jehovah is going to pull his salt routine on her. Gosh, makes you feel all warm and cuddly about this God guy.
Ah, but there is much of value in this Italian production made on a budget of…well, clearly not enough. Besides the joyful and sexy performances of Stanley Baker (Zulu) and Rossana Podestà, the film presents some interesting questions for us to ponder:
- Why do the all Hebrews wear long robes except for Ishmael, who wears a little cutesy-outfit that shows off his legs? Should Ishmael be in the city, if you get my drift?
- Would a little Just-for-Men make Lot look less like someone painted the side of his head?
- Why are all the slaves white through 80% of the movie, and then suddenly black?
- Is “Do I remind you of your father?” the best thing to ask a girl before kissing her?
- Why is it more moral to live on a farm than in a city?
- Is it smart filmmaking to make the “good” guys really dull while the bad guys are the people you want to hang with?
- Why does God do so much interfering at the last minute, but nothing when he would have been useful?
- Are lesbians always crushed beneath giant phallic symbols?
- Why is a shepherd’s crook a better weapon than a sword?
- How are things in Gomorrah?
- Just how stupid is this Lot guy?
- Wouldn’t almost any greeting be preferable to “Welcome Sodomites”?
And of course, the biggest question:
- How huge of a dick is God?