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Oedipus Rex (1957)

Approved | | Drama | 6 January 1957 (Canada)
The land ruled by King Oedipus is plagued by ill-fortune and the people are promised relief by the gods if the slayer of the former king is apprehended and punished. This does not bode well... See full summary »

Directors:

Tyrone Guthrie, Abraham Polonsky (uncredited)

Writers:

Sophocles (play), E.F. Watling (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Douglas Campbell Douglas Campbell ... Oedipus
Eleanor Stuart Eleanor Stuart ... Jocasta
Robert Goodier Robert Goodier ... Creon
William Hutt William Hutt ... Chorus Leader
Donald Davis Donald Davis ... Tiresias
Douglas Rain ... Messenger
Tony Van Bridge Tony Van Bridge ... Man From Corinth
Eric House Eric House ... Shepherd / Old Priest
Roland Bull Roland Bull ... Chorus
Robert Christie ... Chorus
Ted Follows Ted Follows ... Chorus
David Gardner David Gardner ... Chorus
Bruno Gerussi Bruno Gerussi ... Chorus
Richard Howard Richard Howard ... Chorus
Roland Hewgill Roland Hewgill ... Chorus
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Storyline

The land ruled by King Oedipus is plagued by ill-fortune and the people are promised relief by the gods if the slayer of the former king is apprehended and punished. This does not bode well for King Oedipus and his Queen. (Performed in masks by the Stratford, Ontario, Shakespearean Festival Players.) Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most unusual motion picture ever produced. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 1957 (Canada) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Lehrer wrote a spoof soundtrack title song based on this movie. See more »

Connections

Version of Mandala (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Feel the Pain
8 December 2010 | by rpoz-918-701989See all my reviews

I first saw this film (in a movie theater) in 1962 and had no idea what I was watching. Years later, as a high school and college English instructor, I knew lots about Greek tragedy and this version of Oedipus the King remains one of my favorite dramatic experiences. You can't find William Butler Yeats' translation in print anymore because the (ahem) "scholars" have decided it's not totally accurate. Ever read any of the "scholarly" translations of Greek tragedy? Those professors can't write poetry to save their lives. They make tragedy boring and stuffy. Yeats makes it breathe. And Tyrone Guthrie made tragedy "pop" in this thrilling 1957 production. In tune with Aristotelean requirements, there is a bare stage with a representation of Oedipus' palace. The actors and chorus members wear masks (very close to the spirit of original masks found by archaeologists), and they chant and move in dance-like cadences. At first, it may seem bizarre, but when you understand that you are being transported 2000 years into the past and watching drama being born out of religious ritual, you can sense the raw power of watching arrogant Oedipus fall into ruin. The performances are visceral and dangerous, the colors beautiful, the effect shattering. And you also get to see a boyish William Shatner before he became Captain Kirk (you'll see him in the brief introduction; once he puts on a mask you'll have no idea which one he is). Unlike the pretentious film auteurs of today who meander on and on, Sophocles packed his cautionary tale of human frailty into 90 taut minutes. I used this video for years in my Advanced Placement English classes, but I've also watched it many times just for entertainment.


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