I was surfing the web curious as to how many variations of Homer’s Iliad been made into a movie. What I found was surprising. A total of four movies; correction, three, one was a television series. Dickens’ Great Expectations, on the other hand, had seven movies and three television series created. I won’t even attempt Shakespeare’s works, it would be like the Roadrunner and Coyote episodes. Given that, some adaptations have been less than faithful to the original story, digressing so much the story is unrecognisable. Though to be fair, to write a script that fits into two hours to three maximum, would be a difficult task.
The Iliad is an epic story, with many sub-stories. The gods play a pivotal if not a decisive role, and then there are the main characters that drive the story. They are both integral and yet in the film Troy, romance is the key factor. The most obvious one is Helen and Paris; the sweet and poignant relationship between Hektor and Andromache; then the spoils of war hate/love union of Akhilleus and Briseis. Of course there’s all the action, the battle between the Greeks and Trojans. However it is the human element of the Iliad that’s the main focus. I did watch the movie when it was released in 2004. When I realised it was more for entertainment rather than an accurate depiction of the story, I did enjoy the flick. Plenty of eye-candy for us females ;D
In 2003, a miniseries called Helen of Troy was produced and cast with many famed and international actors. The exceptions were the actors who played Helen and Paris. It began with the marriage of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra in Sparta. Helen’s beauty was famous even as a child and in this version Agamemnon lusted after her. This follows the myths of Helen’s kidnapping by Theseus and eventual rescue by her brother Pollux; Castor didn’t get a mention. It also depicts when the three goddesses: Hera, Athene and Aphrodite approach Paris to choose the fairest by ‘bribing’ him with tempting gifts. This film adaptation was a little better than Troy in the attempt to be faithful to Homer. It was enjoyable and entertaining.
The next movie based on the Iliad was The Fury of Achilles, an Italian production made in 1962. I haven’t seen it and the poster for it looks great. I am curious as to whether how close it is to Homer’s story. The same goes for The Trojan Horse, another Italian movie directed by Giorgio Ferroni in 1961 and based on Aeneas, the Dardanian Prince. The final movie was Helen of Troy, 1956 a Warner Bros production. I am curious about these three earlier versions and when time permits will watch them.
Here’s a YouTube excerpt from the film
If you have watched any of these adaptations of Homer’s Iliad, which do you prefer?
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