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British historian Bettany Hughes tours the eastern Mediterranean in search of facts behind the legends of "the face that launched a thousand ships," exploring the ways Greeks made love and war circa 1300 B.C.
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. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Noted British actor Edmund Purdom overdubbed in English the lines of French-Lithuanian actor Jacques Sernas on the soundtrack of this film, due to Sernas not having a firm English-speaking voice. Sernas at that point in his career was learning English but had not yet mastered the language. Purdom was not credited with his voiceover talent for this picture, as the film's producers wanted the public to think Sernas did it all on his own. See more »
When the Greeks are first shown marching to attack Troy, the shot appears to be flopped since all the Greek soldiers appear to be left handed. They carry their spears with their left hands, and their shields in their right. See more »
Oh Goddess come to Earth. Make me a mortal with your kiss and we'll live on nectar and ambrosia...
... But I am not sure I like being so ethereal.
See more »
HELEN OF TROY is a very respectable Hollywood sword and sandal effort from the 1950s, with a strong international cast and very good production values. Except ...
Why does every popular culture effort at retelling the Trojan War myth have to make Paris the hero? In the Illiad, by far the most significant and authoritative source of the story, at best shows Paris to be an ambiguous figure--the best looking man of his generation, but often a coward in battle. Helen expresses extraordinary contempt for him in one extended passage. In one or two brief sequences, Paris fights valiantly, but in his major appearance, his winner-take-all-and-Helen duel with Menaleus, after bragging and crowing about his prowess, he completely wimps out in the battle, and, once defeated, is transported by Aphrodite back to Troy to hide in his bedroom.
HELEN OF TROY is not the only effort to mis-read the Illiad into a Paris-and-Helen "runaway" love story. Perhaps in writing a commercial screenplay, that's what any writer would be forced to do. But that doesn't speak well for our popular culture, one that can't sustain the ambiguity and complexity of another culture--of 2700 years ago!
Still, the movie has its strong parts, particularly Stanley Baker as Achilles. Watch for Brigitte Bardot in an early, pre-star role as Helen's handmaiden.
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