Friday, July 18, 2014

Greek Tragedy

Phaedra (1962) - Dassin
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Phaedra is a retelling of a classical Greek tragedy of a woman falling in love with her stepson, set in modern day Greece. Phaedra (Melina Mercoury) is a wife of a ship building magnate Thanos (Raf Vallon). She is put on a task by Thanos to bring back his art student son Alexis (Anthony Perkins) from London to join them in Greece for the Summer. Before she leaves, her long time family nanny warns her of her dream where two men were fighting over her. Phaedra is intrigued by the carefree young man who introduces an Aston Martin in the car shop windo as his 'gal'. While walking on London Bridge, in a stunt act to convince him, Phaedra throws her huge diamond ring over the bridge. They start a fiery affair after reuniting with Thanos in Paris, en route to Greece. Sensing that the affair is not going to end well, Phaedra begs Alexis not to come to Greece. He obliges while heartbroken and angry. But as fate would have it, Thanos, oblivious of what's going on, chastises Phaedra for not bringing back his son- the rightful heir of his empire and recalls him to Greece. Overjoyed yet guilt stricken, Phaedra has to content with shame, guilt, jealousy and burning desire while Alexis struggles to be free from all.

Dassin deftly directs this handsome, high melodrama. His wife and muse Melina Mercoury is marvelous as a tragic heroine with her striking features and Eartha Kitt purrs. Perkins has never been as charming and handsome as here. Loved it. I gotta check out some more Dassin.