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Helen of Troy 1956

4.2 out of 5 stars (21) IMDb 6.2/10

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

Rossana Podestà, Jacques Sernas
2 hours, 0 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure
Director Robert Wise
Starring Rossana Podestà, Jacques Sernas
Supporting actors Cedric Hardwicke, Stanley Baker, Niall MacGinnis, Nora Swinburne, Robert Douglas, Torin Thatcher, Harry Andrews, Janette Scott, Ronald Lewis, Brigitte Bardot, Eduardo Ciannelli, Marc Lawrence, Maxwell Reed, Robert Brown, Barbara Cavan, Terence Longdon, Patricia Marmont, Guido Notari
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
After watching the current big budget film "Troy" and complaining bitterly about what the screenplay did to Homer, Euripides, and other ancient writers it seemed time to finally check out the 1956 Hollywood version of "Helen of Troy," which stared Rossana Podestà in the title role and Jack Sernas as Paris. Podestà was an Italian sex siren her had to learn her lines by rote in English and who was picked over established stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Rhonda Fleming, Ava Gardner and Yvonne DeCarlo for the part of Helen. Of course, it is hard to say she is the most beautiful woman in the film let alone the world since Brigitte Bardot is playing Andraste.
The script by Hugh Gray, N. Richard Nash, and John Twist, does a good job of including the goddesses Aphrodite and Athena without having them literally appear. The idea of the pact among the princes of Greece to decide who would win Helen's hand and the promise to defend anyone who violated the pact is ignored. Helen's father, the king of Sparta, just married her off to Menelaus (Niall MacGinnis), who, along with his brother, Agamemnon (Robert Douglas), is interested in attacking Troy to take its riches. The kings of Greece have gathered in Sparta to plan the attack when Paris comes along, falls in love with Helen, and steals her away to Troy.
Once there, nobody is happy to see this development. King Praimus (Cedric Hardwicke) and Hector (Harry Andrews) are upset over the fact the Greeks are going to come to attack Troy and the priestess Kassandra (Janette Scott) is crying gloom and doom, but, of course, nobody is listening to her. The people even come to throw things at Paris and his woman but he sways them with a short speech.
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Format: DVD
Shakespeare has a defeated Richard the Third declare he would give his kingdom for a horse. Here is the story of how the Greeks gave a horse, albeit a wooden one, & conquered a kingdom! "Helen of Troy" was made by Warner Bros. in the 1950s heyday of the epic movie & it shows in the production values. Prince Paris of Troy is on a peace mission to warlike Sparta whose King, Menelaus husband to Helen, whilst feigning friendship is actually plotting an attack on prosperous Troy. Paris is forced to flee for his life by the duplicitous King. His escape is aided by Helen, the two having experienced instant mutual attraction on first meeting. As Paris is bidding farewell to Helen they are discovered by Spartan soldiers hunting him. Helen is clearly implicated so Paris leaps to freedom via a waiting boat with Helen in his arms & takes her to Troy. This triggers the Trojan War as Menelaus now has the perfect excuse. Jacques Sernas plays the part of Prince Paris & Rossana Podesta is Helen & both look fine in their respective roles. Neither were native English speakers & although they both spoke their parts in English (Rossana Podesta by rote) their voices were later dubbed to better match them with the strong classical English accents of the British supporting players. This has the slight effect of making Jacques Sernas sound rather wooden & unemotional but does not detract from the overall movie which is visually both grand & exciting, as befits the genre. Like all such movies it loses something when viewed away from the large cinema screen but, for all that, it is an exciting story well told & visually impressive - especially the battle scenes. Classical Greek scholars will quickly spot the liberties Hollywood took with the original tale by the blind Greek poet Homer.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Long, long time ago, when I was still a child, I watched this film with my eyes wide-open and I simply adored it! It encouraged me to read the "Iliad" rather early in my life and therefore this film certainly had an influence on my destiny.

Made in 1956 this is an old film and it certainly aged, but after watching it recently I still enjoyed it and it is definitely BETTER than the disastrous "Troy" with Brad Pitt. Many of the more spectacular moments still make considerable impression, as the scene of the first assault against walls of Troy, the entry of Trojan horse to the city or the festivities in Troy following the retreat of Greek armies.

This being a Hollywood retelling of Iliad, the story is of course greatly changed, but at least the war still lasts 10 years (unlike in "Troy"). Paris (Jacques Sernas) is here shown in a light much more favourable than in the original text and both Menelaus (Niall MacGinnis) and Agamemnon (Robert Douglas) are much more despicable. Helen is played by the Italian sex-bomb Rossana Podesta and she is indeed a very pleasant sight, even if she is not exactly a very good actress. Other characters are shown very well: Achilles (Stanley Baker) is a snotty capricious primadonna, Hector (Harry Andrews) is a very noble prince, Odysseus (Torin Thatcher) is a weasely but rather charismatic scoundrel, Ajax (Maxwell Reed) is basically an ape and Cassandra (Janette Scott) is a particularly tragic character, so desperate that borderline insane. A very pleasant thing is the appearance of very young Brigitte Bardot as Andraste, Helen's slave and confidante.

The one really disappointing thing in this film is the duel of Achilles and Hector, as it is very short and anti-climactic.
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