Helen Of Troy

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The Iliad’s story of the Trojan war, told from the Trojan viewpoint.

ACTORS :  Stanley Baker, Rossana Podestà, Brigitte Bardot

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1956

POSTAGE : Free In Australia

All DVDs are Region 0. They will play on any DVD player in any country

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Description

Storyline

Prince Paris of Troy, shipwrecked on a mission to the king of Sparta, meets and falls for Queen Helen before he knows who she is. Rudely received by the royal Greeks, he must flee…but fate and their mutual passions lead him to take Helen along. This gives the Greeks just the excuse they need for much-desired war.

One of the greatest epics ever made!

Basically, this movie is criticized because, being one of the very first big international co-productions, its main players were Euro celebrities who never caught on in the US, and because Jacques Sernas’ and Rossana Podesta’s voices were voiced-over. That is a pretty shallow approach to movie criticism. This film is well-scripted (it’s based on Homer and neither substracts nor adds to his basic plot – except for the Gods, which are mentioned but never seen, which makes it a modern secular version of the Iliad), well-acted by some very impressive British actors, superbly constructed (art direction, photography, costumes, period research, choreography) and creates a lasting impression. I own it on laser disc and just had to buy a widescreen TV with home theatre sound to do it justice. I can watch this movie as often as I crave substantial food, which is very often. Robert Wise, besides being the director of The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story and The Sound of Music started his career as the editor of Citizen Kane and it is his input in the editing (vibrant, energetic, kinetic, masculine) that makes this movie a real winner and actually brings life to the giant vistas of this classic and tragic fairy tale/war movie/love story. Max Steiner’s beautiful score adds several other dimensions to this masterpiece and its interplay with the editing is always fascinating to watch. The general impression is a beautiful dream of the paintings on a Greek urn coming to magical, inspiring, colourful life. It is also fascinating to watch how the fight scenes were a sort of preliminary study to the ones in West Side Story, which is basically on the same subject. I had better stop while I’m ahead. One word of advice: Don’t believe the nay-sayers (i.e. Leonard Maltin) until you have experienced it for yourself in all its CinemaScope, Warnercolor and Stereophonic glory. A must-have at any price and already overdue on DVD.

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