Helen of Troy (1956) starring Rossana Podestà, Jacques Sernas, Cedric Hardwicke, Stanley Baker directed by Robert Wise Movie Review

Helen of Troy (1956)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jacques Sernas in Helen of Troy (1956)

Helen and Her Trojan

Sent on a mission to Sparta to arrange a peace treaty, Paris of Troy (Jacques Sernas) ends up tossed overboard when a storm appears out of nowhere forcing his ship to return. Paris is found washed up on the beach by Helen, Queen of Sparta (Rossana Podestà) and who he falls for despite Helen being married to King Menelaus (Niall MacGinnis). Having been taken in secret to the palace to recover Paris over hears Menelaus along with Achilles (Stanley Baker), Agamemnon (Robert Douglas) and Odysseus (Torin Thatcher) planning war on Troy whilst Menelaus having realised his Queen and Paris have become close plots his death. But together Paris and Helen flee and make it back to Troy where when the Greeks unite to attack people blame it on Helen until they realise it is the Trojan riches which they are after.

If I sat there with a list of things I expected from a movie claiming to be a historical epic "Helen of Troy" would tick the majority of the boxes. Some of those boxes it would tick would be an impressive look with director Robert Wise doing a nice job of delivering an epic look although not quite up to the grandeur of say Cecil B. DeMille. It also has an appealing cast who knock out the classical dialogue in a manner typical of the genre and era.

Rossana Podestà in Helen of Troy (1956)

Then there is the storyline and firstly regular visitors to The Movie Scene will know I don't know my history or to be honest care that much for it. But this story of Helen of Troy is an interesting one and although it appears, okay so I read, that elements have been changed it works well enough. In fact this dramatization of "Helen of Troy" was easy enough to follow that it almost made me want to pick up a history book and find out more.

But there are those boxes which it doesn't tick and the most significant one is flair. What I mean is that we have actors looking the part, delivering the dialogue in a typically classical way and so on but it never really comes to life as it is all so typical. No one really owns their part and therefore makes the movie theirs which means it drifts on never quite gripping you with excitement like it should.

What this all boils down to is that "Helen of Troy" is both entertaining and interesting with a nice epic look. But it lacks that extra something which makes it more than just another historical drama and in turn makes it memorable.