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Monday, April 9, 2012

Greek Mythology on Film

Written by Kirk Baird, film critic and Detroit Film Critics Society member

With the Wrath of the Titans hitting theaters last week, patrons' interest in Greek mythology may pique. Be sure to display these other great DVDs based on Greek mythology in your library.

  • Ulysses (1954): Based on Homer’s The Odyssey, Ulysses stars Kirk Douglas as the unlucky king and his doomed voyage as he tries to return home to his wife after the decade-long Trojan war. 
  • Helen of Troy (1955): Famed filmmaker Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story, The Sound of Music) directed this loose adaptation of Homer’s first epic, The Iliad. While the 1955 film is out of print, check out the 2003 miniseries of the same name
  • Jason and the Argonauts (1963): Jason (Todd Armstrong) leads a perilous quest to find the legendary Golden Fleece, but the real star of the film is the special effects by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. 
  • Clash of the Titans (1981): Harryhausen co-produced this stop-motion effects extravaganza based on Greek hero Perseus (Harry Hamlin) and his battles with Medusa and other mythological creatures to save the girl, Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), from the giant Kraken. The film was remade in 2010
  • Hercules (1997): Disney left the medieval world of castles and princesses in distress for this animated ancient Greece romp that focuses on a young Hercules as a god-turned-mortal looking for a heroic deed to restore his immortal powers. Features the voices of Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, and James Woods. 
  • Troy (2004): Brad Pitt is legendary warrior Achilles and Eric Bana his rival Hector in Wolfgang Peterson’s (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm) more flesh-and-blood take on the Trojan War—one that omits the gods and instead leaves mortals to their own fate.
Any we missed? What's your favorite Greek mythology tale?

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