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Phaedra

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The wife of a Greek shipping tycoon has a love affair with her stepson.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Melina Mercouri, Anthony Perkins, Raf Vallone
  • Directors: Jules Dassin
  • Writers: Jules Dassin, Margarita Lymberaki, Euripides
  • Producers: Jules Dassin, Noel Howard
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0052SO0YC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pamela S. Dorris on August 31, 2011
Format: DVD
I once asked my 92 year old grandmother what was the single most memorable event that had occurred during her long life. Was it the invention of the automobile? TV? A-bomb? Men on the moon? Her reply was that she couldn't speak to my question but one thing she knew for sure: human nature never changed.

Greek tragedies are studied in institutions of higher education because they resonate in the psyches of people today in much the same way they did before Christ was born, largely because human nature never changes. The story of Phaedra's tragic mis-alliance with her stepson plays out in this movie because there are elements within it that are simply timeless.

Phaedra, the pampered, adored but bored wife of a shipping tycoon, finds herself inexplicably and inexorably drawn into an affair with the tycoon's son from an earlier marriage. It's a glorious thing. He's young, attractive, sexually inexperienced and a breath of fresh air. She's older but still beautiful, a rose in full bloom, no longer a bud but still desirable in the catnip way older women appeal to younger men today. She's secure in herself and offers the promise of being an experienced lover.

Ka-boom!

When the stepson enters into business with his tycoon father, the impossibility of continuing the affair becomes apparent. Phaedra is now repelled by the tycoon's sexual attentions and jealous of his son's youthful companions. The stepson is young and trying to do the right thing, but can't deny he still has feelings for Phaedra. It's doomed.

The familiar story of Aristotle Onassis's life provided ample parallels with the backstory of this movie.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a limited edition and once people find out how good it is, it won't be available for very long, I should think. The DVD transfer - from whatever source - is fabulous. Clear, crisp print, good as new, in super wide screen. No black borders, just glorious Greece, London and Paris and Melina Mercouri and Anthony Perkins as the doomed lovers, not forgetting the magnetic Raf Vallone. It's just as good as when you first saw it in the cinema. And if you haven't, you absolutely MUST see it now. You won't see the likes of it again, not very likely.
Don't be discouraged by the stupid "lesbian " tag this film is given on this [the amazon] and other websites. It has nothing to do with lesbianism. But it has a lot to do with Greek tragedy. Powerful performances by Mercouri and Perkins. Neither was ever better in any film. Oh yes, almost forgot, and then there's the music by Theodorakis. Hauntingly beautiful. Thanks to MGM/Fox for making this film available. FINALLY!
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This is about as good as it gets when it comes to making those dreary Greek myths palatable. The casting was brilliant and the acting is superb. If she was my stepmother, I'd certainly give it a shot! A haunting and unforgetable face that will stay with you for days, maybe a lifetime. And, forget Norman Bates, Perkins as a lovesick boy is much more appealing and convincing. These are Oscar worthy performances. The real surprise though is Vallone as the modern day irrepressible Zorba pushed finally to the limit. Man can be destroyed but not defeated! The black and white cinematography is lovely, and the Greek locations and music wrap it up into a beautiful package. The "cloudiness", both visual and intellectual, is just right. The transfer is better than you'd expect. Hmmm, and just a mere 50years after its release, it finally is available on DVD "upon request". Do it! They don't make them this way anymore. Alas!!!
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Format: DVD
"Phaedra" was a box office disaster when it first premiered in 1962, but it has dated well. Having seen a number of Perkins' films in which he romances an older woman (Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman) and delivers an embarrassingly souless performance, I was relieved to see him in a romantic drama in which he and his co-star actually generate some heat! The love scene by the fire was surprisingly erotic, and I sensed a real-life chemistry between the two actors (a suspicion that was confirmed by "Split Image", the Perkins biography). It's clear Perkins was affected by the warmth of the passionate Mercouri, and what's more, I couldn't help but notice the striking physical resemblance between her and Perkins' later wife, Berry Berenson. That physical type must have appealed to him and he managed to turn in a better-than-average performance. However, his soft-spoken manner, adolescent quirkiness and reliance on prep school charm makes this performance a carbon copy of his work in "Goodbye Again". Whenever Perkins gets angry, he fails to look really threatening, more like a kid throwing a tantrum because he's been grounded. Thanks to director Dassin's skillful editing, however, Perkins' tendency toward campiness is trimmed and the director did a great job maximizing Mercouri's beauty and the beautiful Greek island locations. You'll feel like you've traveled to Athens by the end of the film.
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WHY AND WHO DECIDE TO CANNED THIS MASTERPIECE FOR 50 YEARS?.

YES, THE PICTURE IS ONE OF THE BEST....LIKE CASABLANCA OR BETTER.

THIS MASTERPIECE SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN EVERY SCHOOL WITH A SERIOUS
PROGRAM IN LITERATURE..... SEEING THIS MOVIE IS REALLY A GREAT PLEASURE.

I CLAP MY HANDS TO THE EXCUTIVE WHO HAS THE TASTE AND WISDOM TO BRING
BACK TO LIFE AGAIN THIS MASTERPIECE.

SINCERLY,

MARCO COVARRUBIAS
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