Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ulysses

Ulysses (1954) - Kirk Douglas,Anthony Quinn


A movie adaptation of Homer's second epic, that talks about Ulysses' efforts to return to his home after the end of ten years of war.




According to Homer, Ulysses is king of Ithaca, and father, by his wife, Penelope, of Telemachus...
Homer portrays Ulysses as a man of outstanding wisdom, eloquence, resourcefulness, courage and endurance...
In the Iliad, Ulysses appears as the man best fitted to cope with crises in personal relations among the Greeks and his bravery and skill in fighting were demonstrated repeatedly...
Ulysses wanderings and the recovery of his house and kingdom are the central theme of our film, which also relates how he accomplishes the capture of Troy by means of the wooden horse...
The motion picture, fill in the gaps with flashbacks, describes Ulysses' wanderings between Troy and Ithaca... As a troubled man, Ulysses spends much time at the shore trying to remember his past...
He encounters Polyphemus, the Cyclops, son of Poseidon... He escapes from his cave by getting him drunk and running a ram into his eye...
Shipwrecked, his men gone, his memory lost, he is discovered by a beautiful young princess Nausicca (Rossana Podesta) who immediately falls in love with him... Ulysses defeats the champion wrestler of Phaeacia in a public exhibition, but remains distant trying to recall his past...

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He then encounters the Sirens whose songs lure sailors to their death... Plugging the ears of his men with wax, he has himself tied to the mast with ropes so that he can hear their call...
Ulysses reaches the island of the enchantress Circe who casts her spell on him... Taking on the appearance of his wife Penelope, she held him captive and turned his crew into swine, but fails to keep him in her company...

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After almost l0 years, Ulysses at last arrived in Ithaca, where his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, had been struggling to maintain their authority during his prolonged absence...
Kirk Douglas plays, with sensitivity, Ulysses, "the man of many turns" who had many opportunities of displaying his talent for ruses and deceptions; but at the same time, his courage and loyalty..
The full-figured Silvana Mangano plays a double role: Penelope, the faithful wife and Circe, the sorceress...
Anthony Quinn is the arrogant Antinous, the most persistent of Penelope's suitors, hanging around the palace with a group of vicious noblemen, trying to persuade the lovely queen that Ulysses is dead and that she should choose one of them as her next husband..
With the elements of an Italian epic adventure tale photographed in Technicolor, the film is quite entertaining in its attempts to translate episodes of Homer's Odyssey...

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