Samson and Delilah (1984) TV
Director: Lee Philips.
Starring: Max von Sydow (Sidka), Belinda Bauer (Delilah), Stephen Macht (Maluck), Antony Hamilton (Samson), Clive Revill (Raul), Daniel Stern (Micah), José Ferrer (The High Priest), Maria Schell (Deborah), Victor Mature (Manoah), Jennifer Holmes (Varinia), David Eisner (Arin), David Byrd (Elon), Angélica Aragón (Niji), Rene Ruis (Temple Man), Brandon Scott (Magician).
This version of the Samson and Delilah portrays Delilah as basically a woman truly in love with Samson, but who is betrayed by the evil Sidka, the governor of Gaza into delivering Samson into the hands of the Philistines.
Spoiler Warning: the below tells the entire story.
The time is 1100 B.C. The enemy of the Hebrews are the Philistines. Samson believes that God has chosen him to deliver his people from their enemies. The action begins on the wedding day of Samson and the Philistine woman Varinia.
On his way to his wedding, Samson takes time out to kill a lion. Apparently, the lion killed the pet leopard belonging to Philistine Delilah and she wants the lion killed by one of the soldiers accompanying Sidka. The lion, however, is killing the Philistines one by one. That is, until the arrival of Samson, who, with his great strength, dispatches the lion. Delilah sends an expensive bracelet to Samson as a reward, but Samson rejects the bracelet, sending the message to Delilah that he wants ten not one. He wants ten bracelets to pay for food for his people.
The Philistines with Samson celebrate his marriage to Varinia, daughter of Raul. Samson says he will give Sidka thirty garments if he can solve a riddle. In order to learn the answer, Sidka forces Raul to have Varinia get the solution from her husband. The next morning Sidka gives Samson the answer and the strong man becomes very angry at his wife.
Samson reports to Maluck in regard to the 30 garments. Feeling tricked, he tells Maluck to take the thirty garments from his own soldiers and give them to Sidka. Maluck tries to take Samson into custody only to have Samson hurt eleven of his men in the ensuing fight. Delilah takes pleasure in knowing that Samson has embarrassed Maluck and Sidka.
For revenge Sidka has the house of Raul burned to the ground, killing Varinia. (Sidka and Maluck mistakenly believe that Samson is also dead from the fire.) When Delilah is told that Samson is dead, she becomes very upset and angry.
Samson takes his revenge for the death of his wife by tying ropes to the tails of foxes and then setting the ropes on fire. He lets the foxes loose in the Port of Gilead. The Port is destroyed.
Samson visits Delilah and takes the ten bracelets, but not before he and Delilah kiss.
The High Priest tells Sidka that he should have the Hebrew frontier soldiers capture and deliver Samson. Samson agrees to go with the soldiers because they are led by his dear friend Micah. Micah is reluctant to turn Samson over to Sidka, so Maluck stabs and kills the leader of the frontier soldiers. Samson breaks his chains, grabs the jawbone from the skeletal remains of an ass and slays many of Sidka's troops.
Samson heads over to Delilah and she tends his wounds.
Once recovered, Samson tries to get his people to fight against the Philistines by saying that 20 years of enslavement is enough. But they are too afraid of the revenge of the Philistines to side with Samson.
The High Priest tells Sidka that he is going to have to find Samson's weakness. Sidka makes Delilah an offer: half of all his wealth if she will marry him and turn over a weakened Samson to him. Delilah says she will deliver Samson, but that she wants Samson for herself and, therefore, asks that Sidka return Samson to her after his degradation and punishment. She believes Sidka will return Samson because the strong man will no longer be a threat to the governor of Gaza.
Samson returns to Delilah after having prayed to God in the desert at Sinai. He tells Delilah that he has come to say his good-byes because they will never see each other again. This will be their last night together. Delilah grills Samson and learns that the secret of his strength is in his long hair. (This, of course, is not scientifically correct, but let's go with the story.)
Delilah tries to give a sleeping potion in a glass of wine to Samson, but he is not thirsty. So, the clever girl pours the wine over her chest knowing that Samson will imbibe enough liquid to knock him out during their love making. While Samson sleeps, Delilah cuts off his long hair. The next morning Sidka and his soldiers capture Samson.
Out of sheer meanness, Sidka blinds Samson with a hot poker. Delilah forces Sidka to let her see Samson and she is devastated when she sees that Samson has been blinded. Delilah tells the rejecting Samson that she loves him.
Sidka shows off the enslaved Samson at a big religious festival. Delilah unexpectedly shows up. When she talks to Samson, he has her lead him over to the support pillars of the stadium. Samson places himself between two pillars and pushes both of them down, bringing the superstructure down on him and Sidka. Maluck is also killed. The Philistines run from the stadium, now in flames, in a panic.
Delilah has her servants take Samson's body for burial in the wilderness.
This is a new take on Delilah. It makes for a little happier ending because Delilah did not really betray Samson -- it was all the fault of that evil Sidka. This version of the story is also a little sexier than the others. So, I'm not complaining, even if the traditional story is compromised a bit.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
See Samson and Delilah (1949).
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