Michael Cacoyannis has come up with a version of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, which he did successfully off-Broadway in New York. Pic has a surface resonance and not enough of the tragic sweep and force its outcry against war and oppression call for.
It has a solid cast. There is Katharine Hepburn as the proud but fallen Queen of Troy, Hecuba, whose husband and sons have been killed. Only a daughter, mad Cassandra, and Andromache, the wife and child of her son, Hector, are alive. She valiantly tries to lament, dirge and stand up to the fates in dignity, but the force and the needed tragic depth elude her laudatory attempt.
Vanessa Redgrave is lacking in passion as Andromache. Her tragic lamentations do not get to the core of loss. Nor is Genevieve Bujold, as Cassandra, up to the frenzy and needed steely quality of her preachments on man’s warring nature and her prophecies on her future demise.
Irene Papas, probably the true tragedienne among them, plays Helen, abducted by Paris, Hecuba’s son, on a visit to Sparta, causing the Greeks to attack Troy, sack it, kill the men and send the women, including Hecuba, off to slavery, then burning the city.