Chelo Alonso as the Persian Queen Smedes attempts to seduce the hero Maciste, played by Mark Forest, in the 1960 Son of Samson. While it’s hard to say how a Persian queen has mastered belly dancing, perhaps she picked it up in Egypt. The Persians have invaded and subjugated the Egyptians. Queen Smedes rules over the territory and has been rounding up women to sell as slaves, incurring the wrath of Maciste — a strongman character who has appeared in some 50 movies as a sort of all-purpose copycat of Hercules.
Born Isabella Garcia in Cuba, Chelo Alonso often played an evil queen or temptress in the sword and sandal movies popular in the 1950s and 1960s. A star dancer of Cuba’s National Theatre, known for her sensual, exotic style, she joined the Folies Bergere in Paris in 1957, where she was billed as “The Cuban H-Bomb.” Often starring opposite Forest and fellow bodybuilder Steve Reeves, her films included The Pirate and the Slave Girl, Sheba and the Gladiator, and Goliath and the Barbarians.