Motion Pictures: Dramatic Arts
dir. Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Canada, 1957, 35mm, 88 min.
This definitive adaptation of Sophocles’ greatest play is a must for anyone interested in the dramatic arts. Sir Tyrone Guthrie’s adaptation is blessed with a remarkable ensemble cast and translated by no less a talent than William Butler Yeats. This powerful Greek tragedy is made all the more compelling by the actors wearing masks to establish the characters in the tradition of authentic Greek drama. The remarkable thing about this filmed version is that it is timeless in its importance as a record of a one-of-a kind performance at a time when classic literature was often the subject of cinema rather than the less challenging special effects of today. The superb acting and diction of Douglas Campbell as Oedipus, Douglas Rain as the Messenger (also the voice of HAL in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey), Eleanor Stuart as Jocasta and a myriad of classically trained actors, like William Shatner, make this film, as so aptly stated by the New York Times, “Spectacular and awesome!”