Prince Paris of Troy, shipwrecked on a mission to the king of Sparta, meets and falls for Queen Helen before he knows who she is. Rudely received by the royal Greeks, he must flee...but fate and their mutual passions lead him to take Helen along. This gives the Greeks just the excuse they need for much-desired war.
Robert Wise's often forgotten take on The Iliad story. Now over sixty years old, this almost epic film pales in comparison to other more notable sword and sandal movies. The scale of the film cannot be faulted, hundreds of extras & huge lavish sets are evident, while in Robert Wise the piece is given a well regarded director to chart its course. However, the problems are all too evident. First off is that the film is terribly pedestrian for the first hour, a tepid script fails to engage and at times is unintentionally funny. Then there are major cast issues. Taking the leads of Paris & Helen are Jacques Sernas & Rossana Podestà respectively. They look the part, both of them undeniably pretty, but neither of them can act for toffee. Filmed in Rome, Italy, it begs the question on if the casting director walked around Lazio and picked the two blondest people available for the roles!?… In support of the Blondie's are a host of usually fine performers, Cedric Hardwicke, Stanley Baker, Niall MacGinnis, Harry Andrews, Torin Thatcher & Robert Douglas, but this is still a mixture of actors either too old for their roles, poorly written, or in the case of Douglas, an underused important character (Agamemnon). Shifting away from the awful back projection work, the action sequences at least hold up as competent construction. There's enough here in the second hour to please the sword & sandal fan, but if it's enough to make this a safe recommendation to the potential first time crowd? well I wouldn't stake my life on it you know!. It's a genre I personally love, so I wondered why I hadn't heard about it long before now, after viewing it, it became evident why, it's just not any good. A generous 4/10 from me for the siege of Troy action construction, the stunt work throughout and for Baker's moody show as Achilles.