Troilus & Cressida (TV Movie 1981) Poster

(1981 TV Movie)

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One of the Best of the Series
tonstant viewer16 September 2006
Jonathan Miller triumphs with a fascinating production of an unruly play. His eye for casting is faultless, and different from others in the series. This personal view is emphasized by his special precision as director in revealing the interplay of character. There is absolutely no rhetoric for sound's sake here - every character knows exactly why they are saying what they're saying, and who they're saying it to.

The running time of "Troilus" is 12 minutes longer than that of "Pericles," yet it feels around 45 minutes shorter. Much of this play is done with a single mobile camera in long, unblinking takes. This adds to the pressure on the actors and crew, and contributes to a special kind of energy.

The performances are all excellent, without an embarrassment in the cast. That is not always true in this series. The young lovers are fine. Charles Gray grabs the role of Pandarus, and shakes it within an inch of its life. This huge personality is almost too big for the small screen, yet he never quite outstays his welcome.

Ben Whitrow's Ulysses is perhaps the most clever, calculating and cold-blooded of any, in any version of the story I've seen. Anthony Pedley is a funny Ajax, and Kenneth Haigh and John Shrapnel are confident as Achilles and Hector. Esmond Knight as King Priam and Jack Birkett as Thersites are both blind actors, which adds a certain otherworldly quality to the proceedings. The physical production and sound design are both detailed and effective.

The book "The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon" by Susan Willis spends a whole chapter describing in detail the rehearsal, taping and editing of this "Troilus." Highly recommended reading.

P.S. The prologue is read off-camera by an uncredited actor. Could it be Alec McCowen? Whoever it is reads the Bard's words as they should be read, a model for would-be Shakespeareans to study.
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The sound and fury signifies quite a lot, actually
shawnbahai444 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The key to understanding this most psychological of Shakespearean plays is to see it as a partial allegory where each of the main characters is a type of buffoon, more or less blind to his or her own weaknesses of character, more or, more usually, less master of their passions, whether that passion be for vengeance, lust, pride of beauty, pride of skill, or some other kind of selfishness. In fact, the primary, though not the only, use of human reason in this play is to put a seeming-fair face on what are really base and unworthy motivations.

To drive the point home, this general rule of baseness is shown to exist on both sides of the conflict. Both Trojans and Greeks rationalize their actions, questioning the worthiness of the quarrel and its object, Helen, who is shown to be little more than a pretty form and face, barely, if at all, worth the expenditure in wealth and life being spent to keep or attain her. In the end, after all the speechifying and examination, neither side is willing to give up the fight, though for shame they should. There is no moral high ground here and very little that can be called heroic.

As for the "romance" of Troilus and Cressida, it is little more than prostitution with a strong dose of idealization and projection on his part, the assumption of virtue where none really exists. She proves to be mutable in her affections, unable to sustain her attachment to Troilus when he is no longer physically in her line of sight. She remembers him, but her passion quickly dims and in the end is able to be deflected onto a much less noble and worthy an object for her "love". He proves to be a very poor judge of character, forming his opinion of Cressida primarily through the words of Pandarus, the "panderer", whose family interest in the matter colors his commentary. He means well, but his promises prove to be mere wishful thinking.

It should be said that in Shakespeare's day the story of Troilus and Cressida had wide currency and it's main features were well known at all levels of English society. The viewer of the play would have known what was going to happen and could focus in on the word-play and the ideas much more readily than we can on first exposure.

I find this play to be one of the very best of Shakespeare's plays. It is superior, in my opinion, even to Macbeth. In that play, the story is furthered by supernatural intervention; it's an example of active spiritual evil (witches and Hecate) pouring its poison into a willing because ambitious vessel. In Troilus and Cressida, the evil is more or less where the modern reader/viewer would place it, that is within the thoughts and understanding of the individual him or herself.
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Solid version of a neglected Shakespeare play. Hurt by a few examples of miscasting, but overall well worth a look.
barnabyrudge24 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Troilus And Cressida is one of the lesser-known Shakespeare plays. In fairness, there's no such thing as an obscure play by the Bard – they've ALL been performed and dramatised numerous times. But Troilus And Cressida certainly belongs on a list of the ones that everyday viewers are less familiar with, alongside titles like Pericles, King John and Timon Of Athens. It's a problematic play to put on stage or film, for sure… throughout, the text defies expectations and refuses to be pinned down into any single genre. One moment, you'd confident labelling it a history, the next it veers into comedy... and there's enough tragedy throughout the proceedings for it to be labelled one of those too.

During the Trojan Wars several soldiers from both sides find their motivation to carry on fighting wilting badly. Trojan Troilus (Anton Lesser) is lovestruck over the lowly maiden Cressida (Suzanne Burden), whose father recently defected to the Greeks; while in the Greek camp the fearsome Achilles (Kenneth Haigh) refuses to leave his tent to join in with the fighting and lives off former glories while his comrades die in combat on a daily basis. The great Trojan warrior Hector (John Shrapnel) issues a challenge to the Greeks, demanding that they send their best fighter to come and face him on the field. He expects this to rouse Achilles out of his self-imposed retirement. But the Greeks, especially cunning Ulysses (Benjamin Whitrow) see through his plan and send out one of their lesser warriors, Ajax (Anthony Pedley), to accept the challenge. Troilus eventually manages to consummate a relationship with Cressida, but the very next day she is traded over the Greeks to be with her father, in return for a captured Trojan warrior. Troilus is devastated and, in blind rage, rediscovers his lust for combat. Meanwhile, matters come to a head on the battlefield as Hector, Ajax, Achilles and others meet to fight it out for supremacy in the staled impasse of the war. All these events are commented upon by a pair of cynical, sharp-tongued onlookers from both sides, the Trojan Pandarus (Charles Gray) and the Greek Thersites (Jack Birkett).

Part of the ambitious BBC Shakespeare series (in which the Beeb ambitiously set themselves the target of filming every single Shakesperean play), this production is low-budget but well-done. The acting is pretty good overall – with Whitrow as Ulysses and Gray as Pandarus especially fine in their roles. There are a few examples of miscasting, most notably Birkett as Thersites. Blind in real life, Birkett is a very good actor… but horribly miscast as Thersites here: the delivery of the savage, bitter outbursts that make Thersites such a powerful character is camped-up too much and distorts the character. Also, a number of the great Greek and Trojan figures are played by actors who seem the wrong age for the roles – the likes of Aeneas, Nestor and Agamemnon, while well-played, are portrayed by actors considerably older than the play demands. There are some very memorable scenes during the course of the production, especially the brutal murder of Hector (a shot of Achilles standing on the crushed and bloodied head of his rival is extremely shocking) and the emotionally electrifying scene where Cressida learns she is to be traded to the enemy just hours after finally consummating her love for Troilus. As a satiric swipe at the nature of heroism, almost an attempt to subvert and ridicule heroic ideals, the production works very effectively. Some day, a really big budget and 'cinematic' version of this story may appear… until that day, this is a more-than-adequate substitute. Good stuff.
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Wars and Lechery
miss_lady_ice-853-60870017 October 2012
This is, along with Pericles, Timon of Athens and All's Well That Ends Well (just for starters), the only filmed version of the play available. Although the production is not bad, you get the feeling that if there was a new filmed production it would supersede it.

The star of the film is Charles Gray as Pandarus, Cressida's camp uncle and matchmaker. He gets some of the best lines, referring to young lovers as a "generation of vipers", and he is wonderfully decadent yet also quite touching in his love for his niece.

For me, the soldiers all blended into one, apart from Patrolucus, Hector (once identified) and Thyerstes (Jack Birkett), a grotesquely camp soldier commenting on some of the action in the camp.

As the lovers, Anton Lesser is suitably tender as Troilus though not particularly interesting. Suzanne Burden speaks the verse clearly but she lacks spark and flirtatiousness. Their tragedy is that Troilus is true in love whereas Cressida is a flirt and cannot stay true, even if she loves Troilus.

I haven't read the play so I can only judge it by what I see here. There are some great lines and emotional love scenes, and some great characters in Cressida, Panderus and Thyerstes. The story is set during the Trojan War. Cressida and Troilus are in love but her fidelity is tested when she becomes a prisoner of the Greeks. Beware- at the end, there is a very powerful gruesome scene. Thematically it is very interesting: the subjects being war and lechery. Shakespeare draws parallels between the two and the two world clash together at the end for a grotesque finish.

Is it a tragedy or a comedy? Some have called it a satire but I think it's more of a tragedy with political commentary. It's an interesting play that I'd like to explore more.

In short, this production is not bad (long though) but overall it lacks something of the greater productions, such as Measure for Measure and Pericles.

EDIT: Actually looking back on this, I think Suzanne Burden, whilst not doing a great job, does a slightly better job than I thought. I think she lacks Cressida's crassness; Cressida is essentially one of the boys. She wants to play by men's rules but can't. However she does get Cressida's vulnerability across well. For all her bawdy talk, she is a maiden when she meets Troilus. I think her ability to stay true is not simply because she's a flirt, but because she is afraid of commitment. She reveals a lot of her heart to Troilus but as soon as she says a nice thing she has to undermine it with a cynical one. Though Cressida knows that Troilus loves her, she can't quite believe it until she is confronted with another man. That's why it's such a shame that this play is not done more; it's Shakespeare's most modern and incisive study of relationships.
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'Tis passing strange
sarastro71 March 2007
I am a seasoned Shakespeare appreciator, but I just have no idea what's going on in Troilus and Cressida. What is the point of the action? What does it all mean? What do the characters represent? What themes are being treated here? This seems to me the most impenetrable Shakespeare play of all.

The play is about two things, by and large: the relationship of Troilus and Cressida, and the war between Troy and the Greeks. The latter interferes with the former. Troilus is a courtly lover who woos his courtly mistress, Cressida, who relishes her role and plays appropriately hard to get. In time she acquiesces to him, and they become lovers, swearing over and over to be true to each other. Just then it happens that Cressida is demanded by the Greeks in a hostage exchange, and much against both her own and Troilus' will she is handed over to them, in exchange of one Antenor, an otherwise completely anonymous Trojan character. Once in the Greek camp, Cressida is apparently so taken with the Greek warriors that she begins to forget her vows, and starts up a relationship with Diomed. Troilus is, of course, distraught. Later on, Trojan warrior Hector, brother of Troilus, is killed by Achilles, and the war just goes on.

It's all quite mysterious. What does it mean? What does this action signify? Is it about the melancholy futility of extended warfare? Or is it, like Antony and Cleopatra, a statement about how courtly love cannot survive in an era of history where the defining feature of civilization is the ability and willingness to wage war? I think it must be something like the latter, but it isn't exactly clear!

This BBC production is well mounted, with good actors, good enunciation, as we expect from the BBC, but the production does not particularly aid us in understanding what the play is really about. There are some good actors here, esp. Charles Gray and the guy who plays Thersites, whereas one is disappointed by how small a role a character like Achilles plays in this story.

It is a hard play to gloss, but the BBC makes an honest and ambitious effort in staging it, and for this we should be grateful.

8 out of 10.
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About as dark as a comedy can get without being a tragedy
howard.schumann29 November 2009
William Shakespeare's version of Troilus and Cressida begins at the end of the seventh year of the Trojan War and is about as overflowing with good feeling as Sartre's No Exit. In fact, Sartre's line about "hell is other people" seems to apply. Betrayal is everywhere. Helen, wife of Greek King Menelaus, is kidnapped by Paris of the Trojans. Cressida, lover of Troilus, is bargained to the Greeks. Thersites says that everything is just "war and lechery". Cressida, however, knows that "men prize the thing ungained" and that "joy's soul lies in the doing". Knowing that in times of war, she is just a commodity, a thing. "Things won are done", she says.

Troilus and Cressida, one of the series of Shakespeare works performed by the BBC Time-Life ensemble in 1981, is difficult to fit into any genre, though it was originally classified as a tragedy in the First Folio of 1623, before it was replaced by Timon of Athens and then reinserted between the histories and tragedies with strangely no mention in the table of contents. Some consider it a comedy but, though it has moments of satiric humor, it is about as dark as a comedy can get without being a tragedy.

The play has generated much interest in the authorship debate largely because of a lengthy anonymous introduction presumably written by the publisher that was printed in the first edition in 1609, but removed in later editions. Beginning with the strange invocation, "a never writer to an ever reader", the introduction falsely describes Troilus and Cressida as "a new play, never staled with the stage (though it had been entered with the Stationer's register in 1603 as having been performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men), never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar or sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude." The publisher then brags about his piracy, having obtained the manuscript in spite of the "the grand possessors' wills". It is not an introduction one would think that would be made to a play written by a still-living commoner.

The main sources of the play are The Iliad of Homer, Metamorphoses by Ovid, and The Aeneid by Virgil as a starting point but most analysts trace its origins to the anonymous play The History of Agamemnon and Ulysses performed by Oxford's Boys in 1584. The main plot, however, was developed by Boccaccio in his Filostrato and further developed by Chaucer in his Troilus and Criseyde. In the case of the ancient literature, the first English translations were of Ovid by Arthur Golding and Virgil by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, both uncles of Edward de Vere.

Though the love between Troilus, a Trojan prince and Cressida, a Trojan maid seems to be prospering at the beginning of the play, their love is mediated by the scheming Pandarus, uncle of Cressida. Pandarus, whose character may be a harsh lampoon of William Cecil or Henry Howard, helps Troilus woo her, and then stands by as their love is destroyed when an exchange is arranged for Cressida to be delivered to the Greeks in return for the prisoner Antenor. At first distraught over the split with her lover Troilus, Cressida soon adjusts to the overtures of the Greek Diomedes and is considered by commentators to be the one Shakespearean lover who is genuinely unfaithful. Troilus, on the other hand, initially furious while watching Cressida cavort with Diomedes, soon turns indifferent and even joins Pandarus in making sexual jokes at Cassandra's expense.

Outstanding performances include Charles Gray as Pandarus, Anton Lesser as Troilus, and Suzanne Burden as Cressida. Thersites, as performed by Jack Birkett, deformed in body and mind, is a powerful symbol of the disharmony of the world being dramatized. It is a world that is far removed from the nobility and heroism of Homer, a world where a long drawn out, unwinnable war has become sordid and the characters tawdry and incompetent. Hector sums it up by telling Ulysses, "The end crowns all, /And that old common arbiter, Time. / Will one day end it."
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Good dramatization of one of Shakespeare's lesser works
alainenglish28 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Troilus and Cressida", based on the Greek legend of lovers Troilus and Cressyd, is not one of Shakespeare's best plays. The dialogue is too knotty, with a lot of characters making big speeches about very little and the best characters in the play are woefully underused.

I liked this version, as it showcases the best qualities of the play including the character of Pandarus (Charles Gray), who tries to help the lovers Troilus (Anton Lesser) and Cressida (Suzanne Burden) in the midst of the Trojan war. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's other famous tragic couple, these two are actually on the same side but their union is jeopardised when Cressida is bargained away by her father in exchange for a prisoner...

Asides from Gray, who gives a wonderfully camp turn as Pandarus, the brilliant Jack Birkett (aka the Great Orlando) gives a brilliant turn as Greek fool Thersites, his Mancunian twang making the most of the language. The two lovers when they get a look in are very well written and played, but their story is too overshadowed by the tedious political chicanery going in the rest of the play.

Worth checking out, especially after the recent Shakespeare's Globe production.
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"For to be wise and love exceeds man's might"
TheLittleSongbird2 May 2019
As has been noted, 'Troilus and Cressida' is one of Shakespeare's less famous plays. Not because it is a bad or inferior play, far from it. The prose and characters are characteristically memorable and the comic and tragic elements and how they're balanced have always intrigued in Shakespeare (though other plays of his handle this more subtly). It is more down to how difficult it is to stage, with it being very psychological, how to respond to the characters puzzling some, its ambiguity and the questioning of values.

From 1978 to 1985 the BBC did an interesting if variable (don't dislike any of the productions, but not all of them are great) series of productions of all of Shakespeare's plays. That is one of the main reasons in seeing the productions, also with some of the plays having limited available competition on video or DVD. Another good reason being seeing casts consisting of fine actors, some early on in their career. Their version of 'Troilus and Cressida' is a solid one, do not think it as of now deserves to be one of the lower rated productions of the BBC Television Shakespeare series here. Put it somewhere in the middle, for a play with not many productions available this more than makes do.

Wasn't crazy about the production values where once again budget limitations are evident, just looked too drab and grim and the lack of authenticity sticks out like a sore thumb a bit.

Jack Birkett is less than incredible and goes too over the top, as has already been mentioned by some, as Thersites, the hamminess annoys and jars.

On the other hand, there is so much to recommend. The long takes of the camera work are beautifully judged, without ever making the action static and enhancing it at its best even, as is the distinguished delivery of the prologue. The production is directed most tastefully by Jonathan Miller, who is highly successful in making the characters interesting and easier to understand, keeping the character interaction detailed and compelling and balancing the comedy and tragedy smoothly and without being out of control (very problematic staging the play). The comedy is funny and doesn't feel over-played and the tragedy is genuinely moving.

Regarding the staging, a major highlight is the climax, the climax is one of Shakespeare's most harrowing and the staging of it in this 'Troilus and Cressida' is as brutal as they come. Hector's death lives long in the memory. Cressida agreed has a big scene that is quite devasting. Birkett aside, the acting is very good. Although age-appropriateness is called into question with some of the cast, that does not stop the performances themselves being great. Anton Lesser is a compelling Troilus while Suzanne Burden fares even better as a touching Cressida. Anthony Pedley is also fine. This 'Troilus and Cressida' production's best performances come from, and this has been mentioned by some already, Charles Gray's full of life Pandaras and Ben Whitrow's chillingly calculating Ulysses.

To conclude, solid. 7/10
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A beauty of horror
Dr_Coulardeau10 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This play is extremely rare on stages or on screens. It was written in 1602. The story is very simple: it is the fall of Troy but not with the Trojan horse that we all know, just the final battle that started as a challenge from Ulysses to Hector.

Yet the play is centered on the fate of Troilus and Cressida, Trojan prince and princess, deeply in love who just got united when they learn that the Trojans and the Greeks have agreed on a swap to compensate the loss of Helen, the gift of Cressida to some Greek prince, to become something between a mistress and a sex slave.

But the play is best described if we speak of the style because the style is the descriptive means Shakespeare uses to render this quasi-fraternal fight over the possession of a woman. Helen is here depicted as a wanton sensual and mindless woman who is only looking for love, meaning physical love and nothing else. Hector is thus enamored with a beautiful animated picture.

That style is dominated by chiasmic oxymora like "With such a careless force and forceless care". He also uses extremely well built and perfectly balanced enumerations like

"HELEN: In love, in faith, to the very tip of the nose. Paris: He eats nothing but doves, love; and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love. PANDARUS. Is this the generation of love: hot blood, hot thoughts, and hot deeds? Why, they are vipers. Is love a generation of vipers?"

This is very special in Shakespeare. He builds a triangular structure that is framed with the same beginning and end. He builds a circle and he makes that vicious circle turn with repetitions: "doves/love – breeds hot blood – hot blood – begets hot thoughts – hot thoughts – beget hot deeds – hot deeds – love." It is a structured piling up of three ternary elements thus reaching the diabolical nine: "doves/love/love – breeds/begets/beget – hot blood/hot thoughts/ hot deeds" (doubled up to six by systematic repetition). The structure is thus: (A1-A2 – {B1-(C – C) – B2-(D – D) – B2-(E – E)} – A2)

The whole play uses that style of three embedded in three embedded in three with embracement of the whole by the extreme elements . Three is in Shakespeare the symbol of disorder as expressed as follows:

"ULYSSES: But when the planets 1(In evil mixture) 2(to disorder) 3(wander), 1(What plagues) 2(and what portents), 3(what mutiny), What 1(raging of the sea,) 2(shaking of earth,) 3(Commotion in the winds!) 1(Frights,) 2(changes,) 3(horrors,) 1+2(Divert and crack,) 3+4(rend and deracinate,) 1(The unity) and 2(married calm) 3(of states) 1(Quite from) 2(their fixture!)"

The four "what" are preparing the four verbs later regrouped in two symmetrical pairs and the final binary rhythm in the last line. Four is for Shakespeare the perfection and in this case we have the perfection of evil, disorder and that disorder has to be solved.

In Shakespeare's cosmic metaphysical vision the solution has to come with the total destruction of the entity who caused the disorder, hence Hector and Troy who disturbed the cosmic balance of the world by abducting Helen who was absolutely willing, at least as shown in the play.

Then we could enter details but it would only be detail of the same style and meaning. We are shown the unraveling of the fabric of Troy, step by step into craziness, into cowardice, into death and Shakespeare seems to take pleasure, which means his audience took pleasure, in the spectacle of that unraveling.

We must not forget in 1602 Elizabeth was ready to die and had already arranged the takeover of her throne by the distant cousins from Scotland, the Stuarts. We can of course read the primary crime in the death of Mary Stuart, executed on the order from Elizabeth herself (though it was the result of a rather plotting attitude of Mary Stuart), and the coming of Mary Stuart's own sons on the English throne could only be seen and felt as dangerous for the country. And that prediction was more than fulfilled by history in less than forty tears.

Then when we read the play in that context what Ulysses says is more than right.

"ULYSSES: Then everything includes itself in power, Power into will, will into appetite; And appetite, a universal wolf, So doubly seconded with will and power, Must make perforce a universal prey, And last eat up himself."

We find at first the same turning double ternary structure as before: "power – power- will – will – appetite – appetite" then turned around to build a third ternary structure, hence reaching the diabolical nine with an inversion: "appetite – will – power" to frame a couple "a universal wolf – a universal prey" built on the oxymoron "wolf – prey" and to close on another binary reflective action "eat up himself". We could of course multiply the examples.

This play is in fact rich and deep though it is absolutely neglected in the world since there are very few screen adaptations and it is also rarely played. We must though indicate that this play is the dramatic use of a subject that was included by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales under the title of Troilus and Criseyde. This poem, and probably play, was the basis of the opera by William Walton in 1954 on a libretto by Christopher Hassall.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
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Badly cast, badly directed
anne-2513 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I rented this TV movie version of 'Troilus and Cressida' out of my library last thursday, and simply could not believe my eyes. Where should I begin? no effort was made to make the play look remotely like it was about the Trojan war, all the actors were wearing Elizabethan dress. Moreover, most of the actors were too old and horribly miscast - Aeneas (with his white beard) looked older than Nestor, Troilus was at least 30, Hector looked like a Spanish pirate, Ajax was badly played anyway and Thersites was a transvestite.

Likewise the action is poor, the duel between Ajax and Hector is short and amateurish, the camera angle focuses more on Nestor's face, so we can only see what is going on in the background which is frustrating in itself. Nor is the 'battle' at the end given it's due respect. We do not see Troilus and Diomedes fight, nor anyone else for that matter, Paris and Menelaus just seem to mud wrestle in front of Thersites. Even Patroclus death was omitted. All this was a major disappointment considering I waded through a very dull 2 and a half hours of BBC costume drama to get to that point.

Nonetheless, it wasn't all bad. I thought the Incredible Orlando as Thersites and John Shrapnel as Hector were well played, even if they didn't look quite right. I'd say the same about Kenneth Haigh as Achilles, since he didn't have the striking countenance and was a bit dry at times. SPOILER: The climax at the end - the death of Hector - was perhaps the best part of the film, Achilles' dialogue here is excellent and sums up the attitude of a cold, seasoned murderer. However, the gruesomeness of the scene (when Achilles stamps on what was Hector's head)sets it apart anyway.

Charles Gray as Pandarus was delightful as a sleazy old pervert and I thought the actress playing Cressida did an OK job. The war-mongering Troilus, however, was annoying and I think that the play would have been better perhaps if he had been murdered by Achilles instead of a peacenik like Hector.

Conclusion? OK, but could have been better if it had had a younger cast and costumes that at least attempted to look Ancient Grecian, not to mention the lack of action. 5/10
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Is this an unfinished play?
rosian5 February 2008
I'd never see this play before, only the Opera when I was 10 and I didn't remember much of that, not surprisingly.

I'd hesitated a bit over watching this one from the set but as always with Shakespeare I was caught up in it right from the start. I do have a few gripes though. I felt Cressida did just a bit too much wailing when told she must leave Troy and her lover. I don't complain much, as someone else has on this list that they were wearing the wrong clothes etc or that the fighting scenes weren't very realistic. I think the director was trying to show the play as it would appear in Shakespeare's time so it's fine that the clothes are contemporary rather than Ancient Greek (did people of Shakespeare's time know what Ancient Greeks wore?) and we couldn't expect the actors to do lengthy realistic duels. But yes, the duel between Ajax and Hector was unconvincingly coy. Did Achilles really not kill Hector himself but have Hector set upon and murdered by his followers and then profess to having done the killing himself? What exactly happened to Troilus's rival for Cressida or did I somehow fall asleep at the moment whatever happened? And finally, why oh why wasn't Achilles' death included, that so very famous sequence when Paris shoots him with an arrow in the one place he's vulnerable? This is why I ask if the play's unfinished - there's no revenge shown for Hector's death and wouldn't Shakespeare have wanted to include this famous sequence as a fitting finale? But perhaps I can be convinced that Shakespeare's ending is right, that it

I was impressed by all the actors, especially Bernard Whitrow as Ulysses and Charles Gray as Pandarus.
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