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Athena (1954)

Passed  |   |  Musical, Romance, Comedy  |  4 November 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 257 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 1 critic

Attorney, Purdom, and singer, Damone, romance two sisters, Reynolds and Powell, who live with and are strongly influenced by eccentric, health oriented and star gazing grandparents.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Athena Mulvain
Minerva Mulvain
Virginia Gibson ...
Niobe Mulvain
Nancy Kilgas ...
Aphrodite Mulvain
Dolores Starr ...
Calliope Mulvain
Jane Fischer ...
Medea Mulvain
Cecile Rogers ...
Ceres Mulvain
Edmund Purdom ...
Adam Calhorn Shaw
Johnny Nyle
Grandpa Ulysses Mulvain
Evelyn Varden ...
Grandma Salome Mulvain
Beth Hallson
Mr. Tremaine
Carl Benton Reid ...
Mr. Griswalde
Howard Wendell ...
Mr. Grenville


Attorney, Purdom, and singer, Damone, romance two sisters, Reynolds and Powell, who live with and are strongly influenced by eccentric, health oriented and star gazing grandparents. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Tentações de Adão  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The reason Esther Williams is given credit as a co-writer is because the project was originally intended as a swimming vehicle for her. However the swimming scenes were changed to singing ones and Williams was replaced with Jane Powell by producer Dore Schary. This was one of the reasons why Williams would soon leave MGM. See more »


When Johnny offers Athena a lift back to her family's store rather than having her walk back, lack of shadows indicates it right around noon - yet it dark when they finally arrive at store, meaning the car ride has taken six or seven hours. See more »


Roy: She speaks Japanese with a Spanish accent.
See more »


Music by Hugh Martin
Lyrics by Ralph Blane
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User Reviews

Matching muscles and music
26 March 2000 | by See all my reviews

Bodybuilding had a disreputable allure in the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. Few would admit to its hold on them, but how else could you explain the box-office success of movies like "Hercules Unchained" and subsequent gladiator trash with a fleet of amply-endowed stars like Gordon Scott, Mark Forrest, Dan Vadis, Mickey Hargitay, and Brad Harris bulging flagrantly in front of the camera?

The premiere member of this elite group was a former Mr. Universe--the dark, statuesque Steve Reeves. Before the days when he was sporting a leather loincloth, chained at the wrists, tensing his biceps, and literally bringing the house down, Reeves was introduced for the public's delectation in the 1954 musical "Athena." In it, he plays Ed Perkins, the prize stallion of a stable of physical culturalists groomed by the barrel-chested Louis Calhern--handlebar moustache, bluster and all--as Ulysses Mulvain, a septagenarian who espouses to a neo-Spartan approach to life, replete with vegetarian diet, and plenty of fresh air and exercise. Reeves vies for the affection of the title character, Mulvain's granddaughter (Jane Powell), who, much to the chagrin of the "stars," has eyes for a stuffy, young lawyer (played by the impossibly handsome Edmund Purdom--if there ever was an actor with a silky-milky-white complexion, it's him), himself being primed and tweaked for a U.S. senate seat. Reeves settles for a supporting role in his first major outing on the screen and sits on the sidelines while Powell charts her inevitable course with Purdom glowering at her incessantly. The body beautiful has his big scene with taking the title at a re-creation of the Mr. Universe contest that for insiders must have seemed pretty hokey.

That aside, if you're willing to go with it, "Athena" can be fun--a kind of stilted mixture of numerology, prurient interest, and music--all served up by the not-so-discerning minds of writers William Ludwig ("The Student Prince"), Leonard Spigelgass, and the by-then renowned songwriting team of Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. Their classic "The Boy Next Door" changes sex with Vic Damone singing it, and their "Love Can Change The Stars" is just syrupy enough for the sweet tooths of hopeless romantics. (My favorite is the spry "I Never Felt Better.") But none of these compares with the grandeur of blazingly blonde Powell's rendition of "Chacun Le Sait" from Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment." It's full of passion and indignation and fire, and Powell has never achieved so high a note of glory on screen as she has in these few much-too-short minutes.

Also on the sidelines--Debbie Reynolds as Athena's sister Minerva, and, descending from the clouds of Hollywood movie mysticism, Evelyn Varden as Salome Mulvain, grandmother of the nymphs, greeting everyone with something that sounds like "Namari gongo par" and coming out trances every so often to bestow upon her loved ones the will of the stars.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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