Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 9th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / France, 1961
Director: Giorgio Ferroni
Writers: Giorgio Ferroni, Ugo Liberatore, Giorgio Stegani, Federico Zardi
Cast: Steve Reeves, Juliette Mayniel, John Drew Barrymore, Arturo Dominici, Edy Vessel, Nando Tamberlani
DVD released: 2007
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono German, Dolby Digital Mono French
DVD Release: New Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL
Retail Price: $20.95
Synopsis: After ten years trying to gain entry into the city of Troy the Greeks build a large horse with a hidden compartment where they can smuggle Greek soldiers into the city of Troy.
The Trojan horse was directed by Giorgio Ferroni who besides directing several sword and sandal epics he is most remembered for directing Mill of the Stone Women. Visually the sets and action sequences are look amazing throughout. The plot starts after the Greeks have already conquered Troy. The story is then told via a flashback before coming full circle to where the film began. The Trojan/Greek war lasted ten years. The film only focuses on the final year of the battle. There is plenty of action in this film including two major battle sequences one about half way through the film and the later one during the invasion of Troy.
The cast is lead by Steve Reeves in the role of Aeneas. This time around Reeves is given a character with some depth and he shines in this role. My favorite Steve Reeves moment is when his character Aeneas challenges a Greek in hand to hand combat fight. One thing that I enjoyed the most about Steve Reeves performance was that he was playing a character that had vulnerabilities.
In the pivotal role of Helen of Troy is actress Edy Vessel whose performance is one of the weaker in the film. Another notable performance comes from actor John Drew Barrymore as Ulysses the character who comes up with the Trojan horse idea. Barrymore is very convincing as a villain. Overall the acting is better than the majority of Peplum’s.
The Trojan horse starts to drag about half way through before shifting into the best part of the film. The last thirty minutes. The score for the film was composed by Mario Ammonini and Giovanni Fusco who also scored the Steve Reeves film Sandokan the Great. Over the years the story of Troy and its eventual downfall because of a wooden horse has been made into several movies. Giorgio Ferroni’s 1961 adaption is by far and away the most compelling and accomplished version to date.
Ultimately the Trojan horse ranks right up there with the Steve Reeves Hercules films as one best film’s to emerge out of the Peplum genre.
The Trojan horse is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. New Entertainment’s release mark’s the first English language version of Trojan horse in its original aspect ratio. The only U.S. DVD release of the Trojan horse is a full frame atrocity that was released by Trimark Home Video. New Entertainments’ transfer boasts strong colors and shadow detail. The source used for this transfer is in great shape as there is no print damage. Overall this is the best I have ever seen this film look and one would be hard pressed to improve upon this transfer.
This release comes with three audio options English, German and French. All three audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The only subtitle option for this release is German which are not forced and can be removed during English language playback. Outside of some noticeable hiss all three audio mixes are more then adequate as they sound clear and evenly balanced.
Extras for this release include an all too brief preview trailer for The Trojan horse, photo gallery, a bio/filmography for Steve Reeves and trailers for three other titles that are also available on DVD from New Entertainment. After years of being released via subpar editions the Trojan horse is given a solid audio/video presentation that finally presents the film in all of its glory.