Electra (1962)

Electra (1962)

“The oracle has spoken; I must avenge my father.”

In ancient Greece, the grown daughter (Irene Pappas) and son (Yannis Fertis) of Queen Clytemnestra (Aleka Catselli) seek revenge when she kills their father and marries her lover (Fivos Razi).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Greek Films
  • Grown Children
  • Play Adaptations
  • Revenge
  • Royalty and Nobility
  • Siblings

This Oscar-nominated foreign language film by Greek director Michael Cacoyannis — probably best known for helming Zorba the Greek (1964) — takes Euripides’ classic tragedy into a primarily outdoor setting, showcasing the rocky landscape of Mycenae and Argos.

Most notable of all is the lead performance by Papas, whose soulful eyes dominate the screen:

… though she’s nearly out-staged whenever evil Catselli comes glowering around.

This film is very slow-moving, with rapid activity only seeming to occur during book-ended death sequences, so viewers should be forewarned; but it’s a fine example of a film made during the Golden Age of Greek cinema.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Irene Papas as Electra
  • Aleka Catselli as Clytemnestra
  • Walter Lassaly’s cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for one time viewing.


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