Sunday, September 17, 2006

XXI. LA GUERRA DI TROIA (THE TROJAN HORSE) 1961





LA GUERRA DI TROIA (THE TROJAN HORSE)


Year;
1961

Director & Writer; Giorgio Ferroni
Country; Italy and France
Duration; 105 mins (Original film aspect ratio; 2.35:1)
Available; DVD Region 1 Trimark Home Video
Colour *FULLSCREEN *English Dub*

Alternative;
Guerre de Troie, La, The Trojan Horse, The Trojan War, The Wooden Horse of Troy.

The Players; Steve Reeves (Aeneas), John Drew Barrymore (Ulysses), Juliette Mayniel (Creusa), Edy Vessel (Helen), Lydia Alfonsi (Cassandra), Warner Bentivegna (Paris), Luciana Angelillo (Andromache), Arturo Dominici (Achilles), Mimmo Palmara (Ajax), Nerio Bernardi (Agamemnon), Nando Tamberlani (Menelaus) Carlo Tamberlani (Priam)

After Steve Reeves ‘confident’ performance of Hercules he swapped characters, fortunately as well as this Reeves also changed his acting ability making his character of Aeneas one of his finest cinematic moments.

Previously in 1956 Robert Wise gave us ‘Helen of Troy’, although the production values were decent it concentrates more on the love aspect. The Trojan Horse seems to focus primarily on the psychology of the characters involved.

This makes the plot very interesting and gives Reeves enough scope to steal the show.

Despite its age the film knocks spots off any CGI monstrosity with Brad Pitt. Hollywood should stick to producing what they do best – vacuous shit like ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and avoid remakes and imitations of better films.

Due to the lack of CGI, we have a spectacle of imagination. This makes a refreshing change as Computer Generated Imagery looks impressive but on the whole is too overblown to be remotely credible.

The sets on display meticulously replicates the feel of ancient Greece and with Ferroni behind the camera brings Virgil’s written word to life with applaudible joie de vivre.

Ferroni brings his colour cinematography to us with such gusto, utilising the wonderful landscapes of Yugoslavia, Italy and France.

Some of the battle sequences filmed in long shot are awesome but due to the ratio we can only glimpse what would be a totally thrilling widescreen vista.

This is a super little movie and is possibly one of the best out of the Trimark box set, I couldn’t get enough of this one and time seemed to swish by me as I was so engrossed.

Of course, and with most peplum, this is a differing version of events from the original tale but one has to accept that this is part of the genre therefore we shouldn’t rely too heavily on using this as an accurate mythological reference guide.

I would hope none of us would sincerely be as thick as that in the first place.

I could mention the differentiations but it is far too boring and I would rather focus on the film based upon its own unique merit.

Set against a backdrop of the Trojan War the film focuses on Aeneas who is the representation of Virgil. It is through his wise eyes we witness this notorious piece of history.

Disillusioned by the constant bicker and bloodshed Aeneas wants an end to the wars after putting up with such carnage for the past 10 years.

Due to his close friendship with King Priam and the other rulers of importance he is pitted against the jealousies of Paris and Helen, both bitter and twisted portrayals due to the degeneracy in their love for each other.

Also at odds with Aeneas are the meritorious characterisations of Achilles, played by euro-fringe actor Arturo Dominici and John Drew Barrymore grabs a toga to play the dominant Ulysses.

The movies other strength definitely lays with the top brass supporting cast, fundamental for the intense chemistry that weaves amongst the main players.

The only nag is Achilles death happens, in my opinion, far too soon. The arrow in the heel that causes his demise is one highlight of many however.


On retrospect many characters fade from the narrative; Agamemnon, Menelaus and King Priam also suffer the same quick vanish.

As the roles are performed with such memorable conviction, this makes such events all the more noticeable.

Definitely worth the box set price alone which can be obtained from this link. This simply has to be one of sword and sandals’ finest hours.




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