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Ancient Greek Women in Film (Classical Presences)

This quantity examines cinematic representations of old Greek ladies from the nation-states of delusion and background. It discusses how those woman figures have been resurrected at the vast display by means of varied filmmakers in the course of various old moments, and have been as a result embedded inside a story which served a variety of reasons.

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30 Ancient Greek Women in Film the boat passage to Troy, she is wrapped in a heavy coarse brown cloak, covering her head and body, which she holds together at her neck. At the very time she is embarking on her adulterous affair, Helen is dressed like a Christian penitent whose crossing of the sea symbolically cleanses her of any moral failings. Both she and Paris are modestly and unostentatiously dressed on entering Troy: Paris in a short brown tunic covering his torso and that only slightly falls off his right shoulder, while Helen wears a white scarf that covers her head and shoulders over a floor-length plain brown dress that she wears through the next scene.

Echoing Teucer’s words in Euripides’ play who distinguishes the good sense of the stage character before him as opposed to the destructive legendary Helen (Hel. 160–3), in the film Paris tells Helen that she is two Helens, both of them wise and good, while she is the one to insert caution here to Paris’ fantasy spins. Despite her later momentary flights of fancy, this portrayal of Helen’s thoughtful traits adds grit to her character, so that even as she resigns herself to returning to Menelaus, both during the voluntary exchange and at the film’s end, she does so not as an empty-headed object, but with dignity and personal determination.

Following almost a decade of no films drawing on classical antiquity, the late 1940s saw a resurgence of films featuring ancient Greek themes, including Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (dir. Dudley Nichols, 1947). The films produced during the 1950s, the ‘golden age of historical epic’ (Russell, 2007: 5) when 40 per cent of films were set in the past (Russell, 2007: 24), include Orphée (dir. Jean Cocteau, 1950), Alexander the Great (dir. Robert Rossen, 1956) starring Richard Burton, Ulisse (dir.

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