Ulysses, 1954

A warrior and a king who fought at the downfall of Troy, Ulysses cannot remember who he is nor how to get home to his island of Ithika where his wife waits patiently. Meanwhile, almost everyone assumes he is dead.

The recent Kino Lorber Blu Ray release of this adventure epic is a dramatically cleaner and visually crisper version of the film than appeared in earlier DVD releases. The disk also contains both the dubbed English and the (somewhat) dubbed Italian versions, along with a film commentary track with Tim Lucas.

Kirk Douglas is the wandering Greek hero who is trying to get home to his island home of Ithaka where his wife Penelope has been waiting for years. Silvana Mangano plays Penelope as a resourceful but trapped Queen who is besieged by a rowdy gang of suitors since Ulysses is presumed dead by (almost) everyone and Ithaka demands a new king. The suitors are a sorry lot of blowhards and conmen, but when Anthony Quinn (as the powerful Antinous) shows up to carpe deim the situation, Penelope rapidly runs out of delaying tricks and now must face up to a forced wedding.

Meanwhile, Ulysses has "lost his mind" and can't remember who he even is, and though he is on a nearby island, he doesn't know how short his time is if he's to recover his wife, son, dog, and kingdom. In the course of pondering his situation, we flashback through Ulysses's adventures from the fall of Troy, his confrontation with the Cyclops, his beguiling by the witch Circe, and how he survives the terrifying song of the Sirens.

Seeing Douglas as the bearded warrior thrashing about in the Mediterranean presents a good adventure template for The Vikings made a few years later with Douglas, and then eventually Kubrick's Spartacus of 1960.

An older, briefer review of Ulysses from 2014

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Original Page November 13, 2023