The Trojan Women (1971)

GP | 105 mins | Drama | November 1971

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HISTORY

The following dedication appears in the film's closing credits: "We who have made this film dedicate it to all those who fearlessly oppose the oppression of man by man." The opening credits listed two crew members with their first initials and last names, assistant dir Stavros Konstantarakos and assistant art dir Allistair Livingstone. Three cast members, credited as "The Women," were also listed with their first initial and last names: Consolation Alvarez, Elizabeth Billencourt, Margarita Calahora, Virginia Quintana and Laura Zarrabeitia.
       According to the Filmfacts , Greek-born director Michael Cacoyannis originally staged Euripides' Greek classic tragedy The Trojan Women at the 1963 Spoletto Festival in Italy, starring Mildred Dunnock, Claire Bloom and Rod Steiger. That same year Cacoyannis also directed a version in New York based on the Edith Hamilton adaptation which ran for 650 performances. In 1965, the director took the play to Paris using a translation by Jean-Paul Sartre. Euripides' play is renowned among literary scholars as one of the world's great anti-war texts. The film version omits an entire opening scene of the play, which takes place among the gods. The Trojan Women was shot on location in Atienza, Spain.
       Much of the information about Troy and the Torjan Wars have come down through the centuries through Ancient Greek writer Homer's epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey . Although many of the characters and stories described in the works of Homer and other ancient writers were myths, based on oral traditions, the site of Ancient Troy, located in an area that is part of modern-day Turkey, was discovered and excavated ... More Less

The following dedication appears in the film's closing credits: "We who have made this film dedicate it to all those who fearlessly oppose the oppression of man by man." The opening credits listed two crew members with their first initials and last names, assistant dir Stavros Konstantarakos and assistant art dir Allistair Livingstone. Three cast members, credited as "The Women," were also listed with their first initial and last names: Consolation Alvarez, Elizabeth Billencourt, Margarita Calahora, Virginia Quintana and Laura Zarrabeitia.
       According to the Filmfacts , Greek-born director Michael Cacoyannis originally staged Euripides' Greek classic tragedy The Trojan Women at the 1963 Spoletto Festival in Italy, starring Mildred Dunnock, Claire Bloom and Rod Steiger. That same year Cacoyannis also directed a version in New York based on the Edith Hamilton adaptation which ran for 650 performances. In 1965, the director took the play to Paris using a translation by Jean-Paul Sartre. Euripides' play is renowned among literary scholars as one of the world's great anti-war texts. The film version omits an entire opening scene of the play, which takes place among the gods. The Trojan Women was shot on location in Atienza, Spain.
       Much of the information about Troy and the Torjan Wars have come down through the centuries through Ancient Greek writer Homer's epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey . Although many of the characters and stories described in the works of Homer and other ancient writers were myths, based on oral traditions, the site of Ancient Troy, located in an area that is part of modern-day Turkey, was discovered and excavated in the late nineteenth century by Heinrich Schliemann. Modern scholars date the fall of Troy during the Trojan War at around 1200 B.C., and recognize, through the work of Schliemann and others, that many of the persons and sites mentioned in Homer's poems did actually exist. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 May 1970.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 620-23.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1971.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
21 Oct 1971.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Oct 1971
Section IV, p. 1, 19.
New York Times
28 Sep 1971
p. 45.
Variety
2 Jun 1971
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Michael Cacoyannis Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
English version
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd ed
Assembly ed
Sd re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Accountant
[Film] processed by
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Trojan Women by Euripides (Athens, 415 B.C.) and the translation by Edith Hamilton (New York, 1937).
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 September 1971
Los Angeles opening: 20 October 1971
Production Date:
late August--early October 1970 in Spain
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
GP
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After all the men of Troy are killed during the course of a ten year war with Greece, the Greek army conquers Troy. As the Greek soldiers pillage the wealthy city, the Trojan women are herded together just outside of the city walls. Hecuba, wife of slain King Priam, decries the violence and cruelty of the Greeks and bitterly laments the loss of the women’s husbands and sons. Knowing that the women are now considered “spoils of war” and angered over being forced to wait to learn her fate, Hecuba councils the grief-stricken women to express their sorrow over their great misfortune. A Greek messenger, Talthybius, arrives to inform Hecuba that lots have been drawn to determine the future of the former Trojan queen and the royal princesses. Concerned about her emotionally distraught daughter Cassandra, Hecuba immediately asks to know where she will be sent and is stunned to learn that King Agamemnon has selected her as his concubine. Hecuba hastily reminds Talthybius that Cassandra is a virgin promised to the god Apollo for her gift of prophecy, and the messenger uneasily acknowledges that the king is aware of Cassandra’s abilities. Talthybius then informs Hecuba that her daughter-in-law Andromache has been spared but her youngest daughter, Polyxena, has been forced to watch over the tomb of Achilles, alone in the desert until her death. The women refuse to help Talthybius and the soldiers locate Cassandra, who is inside a nearby cave mourning a vision of her future. When the soldiers move in on the cave, Hecuba hurries to comfort her troubled daughter, regretting that her visions have never provided ... +


After all the men of Troy are killed during the course of a ten year war with Greece, the Greek army conquers Troy. As the Greek soldiers pillage the wealthy city, the Trojan women are herded together just outside of the city walls. Hecuba, wife of slain King Priam, decries the violence and cruelty of the Greeks and bitterly laments the loss of the women’s husbands and sons. Knowing that the women are now considered “spoils of war” and angered over being forced to wait to learn her fate, Hecuba councils the grief-stricken women to express their sorrow over their great misfortune. A Greek messenger, Talthybius, arrives to inform Hecuba that lots have been drawn to determine the future of the former Trojan queen and the royal princesses. Concerned about her emotionally distraught daughter Cassandra, Hecuba immediately asks to know where she will be sent and is stunned to learn that King Agamemnon has selected her as his concubine. Hecuba hastily reminds Talthybius that Cassandra is a virgin promised to the god Apollo for her gift of prophecy, and the messenger uneasily acknowledges that the king is aware of Cassandra’s abilities. Talthybius then informs Hecuba that her daughter-in-law Andromache has been spared but her youngest daughter, Polyxena, has been forced to watch over the tomb of Achilles, alone in the desert until her death. The women refuse to help Talthybius and the soldiers locate Cassandra, who is inside a nearby cave mourning a vision of her future. When the soldiers move in on the cave, Hecuba hurries to comfort her troubled daughter, regretting that her visions have never provided her any peace. When Talthybius asks Cassandra to accompany him, she vows she will kill Agamemnon in his bed. Cassandra then condemns the futility of war which robs civilizations of their men and their futures, but insists the Trojans fought only to defend themselves against the barbaric assault of the Greeks. After Cassandra bids farewell to Hecuba, she places a curse on the Greeks, promising they, too, will suffer collapse one day. Talthybius assures the devastated Hecuba that he will not report Cassandra’s treasonous declarations and rides back to the Greek ships. In her grief, Hecuba rages at the gods for abandoning Troy and allowing the annihilation of the Trojan men. A few miles away, Andromache is brought to the tomb of Achilles where she recognizes the body of Polyxena. Wife of Prince Hector, the son of Priam and Hecuba, Andromache clings to her young son, Astyanax, as she is driven by cart to the crumbling walls of Troy. Upon being reunited with the aggrieved Hecuba, however, Andromache scolds her mother-in-law for not acknowledging that each woman has her own sorrow which is as great as that of the queen’s. Relating that she viewed Polyxena’s corpse, Andromache cuts off Hecuba’s lament by pointing out that, in death, the young girl is free and no longer suffering. Traumatized when she sees the soldiers drive off with Hector’s battle armor, Andromache wonders if her efforts at being a good wife had any meaning. Hecuba then rouses herself to comfort Andromache, advising her to raise her son to manhood at which time he may lead a possible re-birth of Troy. When Hecuba recommends that Andromache quell her own misery to set an example for the other women, Andromache doubts she can endure being a concubine. Talthybius returns and, with great regret, informs Andromache that it has been decided that young Astyanax must be killed so that he will not become a rallying point for the surviving Trojans. Andromache collapses and the Trojan women attempt to hide the boy, but the armed soldiers quickly disperse them. Talthybius admonishes Andromache, declaring that if she resists, Astyanax will not be buried, a breech of Trojan custom. Turning Astyanax over to Talthybius, Andromache sadly reflects on the follies of men who abandon their wives to go to war, leaving them defenseless. Before being led back to the cart to be taken to a Greek ship, Andromache curses the Spartan Queen Helen, whose desertion of her husband, the king of Sparta, and subsequent elopement with Priam and Hecuba’s eldest son Paris instigated the war. On a hill nearby, Helen is imprisoned alone. Roused by Andromache’s departing cry, the Trojan women make an assault on Helen’s hut, but Talthybius leads the soldiers to stop the uprising, having been ordered to spare Helen, who must return to Greece as a trophy. Helen’s husband, Spartan king Menelaus, arrives and Hecuba warns him that if he does not kill Helen, she will ruin him as she did Troy. The beautiful Helen is released and the Trojan women rebuke her for wearing a fine gown and jewels when they are in tatters. Helen belittles the elderly Menelaus and when the women continue to disparage her for bringing about their downfall, she asks if Hecuba should not be held to blame for bearing Paris, who kidnapped her. When the women dispute Helen’s innocence, Helen insists that she was a victim of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and helpless against Paris. Outraged, Hecuba warns Helen not to hide behind the gods, but to acknowledge her ambitious, selfish cravings. Hecuba then demands that Menelaus kill Helen, but he replies that his wife will be returned to the Greeks, who will decide her future. Fearful, Helen grabs her husband’s knife, but he prevents her from stabbing herself and orders her taken to his ship. Meanwhile, Astyanax has been taken to the top of the mountain where he is thrown from a cliff. After washing the body, Talthybius returns with the broken corpse and digs a grave while Hecuba and the women lay the boy on Hector’s shield. After the burial, as dusk arrives, Talthybius orders the remains of Troy burnt and herds the women together to be led to the ships. As the Trojan women pray and weep over the city’s final destruction, Hecuba calls them to face their future of enslavement. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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