Helen of Troy (1955)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Sword-and-Sandal, Costume Adventure  |   Release Date - Jan 26, 1956 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - Italy , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Lavishly appointed and filled with a cast of seeming thousands, Helen of Troy doesn't disappoint in the budget but does fall rather flat in the drama department. For those who enjoy scenes of hundreds of period-clad Greek warriors fighting with spears and shields and all manner of other ancient weaponry, Helen will not disappoint. But for those who demand an intelligent and literate screenplay, or a witty one, or even one which just captures one's interest and keeps one engaged, Helen is rough going. Turgid is the best word for the writing, followed by boring. Better epic films have been formed from such screenplays, of course, but director Robert Wise is not able to pull off that trick here. Wise frames his pictures beautifully, and he knows how to choreograph a fight scene, how to make sure the audience knows where to look and who to see. But in Helen, he doesn't use his dramatic sense to make all of this add up to something worth seeing, something worth following; as a result, Helen plods along. As the title character, Rossana Podesta is truly a stunner in the looks department; she is rather more pedestrian in the acting area. Ditto for Jacques Sernas. There is some good work from the supporting cast, but not enough.