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Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Trojan Women (1971)

The city of Troy has fallen and the Greeks have sacked and pillaged it. Its men slaughtered, only the women are left to mourn. Based on the classic play by Euripides and directed by Michael Cacoyannis (ZORBA THE GREEK). Cacoyannis uses Edith Hamilton's translation of the Euripides play as the basis of the screenplay. It is, sadly, a timeless play. Thousands of years later and mankind still oppresses one another and war is not obsolete but active. But war is seen here by its defeated, not by military men but wives and mothers. One of the great plays of classical literature is given a vital presentation with terrific performances by four brilliant actresses. As Hecuba, Troy's Queen, Katharine Hepburn tones down her mannerisms and gives a stirring performance. No need to "act" like a Queen, she effortlessly carries herself like one. As Hecuba's daughter in law Andromache, Vanessa Redgrave knocks it out of the ballpark as the saying goes. Her pain as she realizes her son is going to be killed is breathtaking in its execution. As the mad prophetess Cassandra, Genevieve Bujold is ready to jump out of her skin yet retains a despairing poignance. Then there's Irene Papas as the calculating Helen of Troy, a fierce performance. You can believe that men would start a war over her. With Brian Blessed and Patrick Magee.

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