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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Phaedra (1962)

A wealthy Greek shipping tycoon (Raf Vallone) asks his second wife (Melina Mercouri) to contact his estranged son (Anthony Perkins) in London and return home to Greece to see his father. Instead, what is set in motion is a doomed love affair between the wife and son that can only bring tragedy. Very loosely based on Euripides' HIPPOLYTUS and updated to modern Greece and directed by the American expatriate Jules Dassin (BRUTE FORCE). An ill conceived effort by all concerned. The film aspires to Greek tragedy but only ends up being kitsch at best. When Mercouri and Perkins make love for the first time, the camera goes all soft focus as rain beats on the window panes and we see various body parts while Mikis Theodorakis's score crashes away! Mercouri and Perkins have no chemistry and without that passion, it all seems so over baked. Still, one can't help wonder what Mercouri sees in Perkins when she has Raf Vallone in her bed! The film could have benefited from color which would have enhanced the Paris and Greece locales instead of the stark B&W lensing of Jacques Natteau. With Elizabeth Ercy and Olympia Papadouka.

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