21 November 2015 | EdgarST
Loves of Three Queens
Badly edited from the original 180 minutes version called "L'amante di Paride", what seems to have survived is this 93-97 minute British version, in which the order of the stories was altered, the original modern-day framing sequence that opened the film was reduced, and the first segment ("L'amante di Paride", the Helen of Troy story) was almost dropped. According to Stephen Michael Shearer in his book on Hedy Lamarr, "Beautiful", Warner Brothers bought the rights for distribution in the United States to avoid its exhibition. The studio was producing Robert Wise's "Helen of Troy" and wanted no competition, so Lamarr's motion picture had no American release, in spite of what sources say (including IMDb). There seems to be a lot of confusion about this film (caused even by Lamarr's personal biography, where she mixes things and changes the names of the segments with other movies she made). From what I see (a few posters) it seemed as if in Italy they released two different movies: "L'amante di Paride" with the Greek gods' feast included, telling the Paris-Helen of Troy affair and the war; and as "I cavalieri dell'illusion" (The Knights of Illusion) the full Geneviève de Brabant tale, which even has a separate entry, here in IMDb. This is possible, considering that each segment ran about 60 minutes that could be rounded into a feature with the framing sequences (the modern-day wedding banquet, and the traveling theater company). Also different sources indicate that the music is by Nino Rota (and indeed, without knowing it was him, I recognized a few notes from his symphony used in "Il Gattopardo"), but that copy I saw credits Alessandro Cicognini as composer. Everybody is acting... not particularly well, to put it mildly, although Terence Morgan plays a villain in a convincing manner. It is recorded that Edgar G. Ulmer prepared the production and then directed the Geneviève de Brabant segment, and perhaps one of the framing sequences, and that (after Ulmer's departure) Marc Allégret did the Greek story, and probably the French chapter on Bonaparte and Josephine that ends the original version. It is also a co- production, not a sole project by Cino del Luca. American Victor Pahlen (who was Errol Flynn's partner in the film company they had in Cuba, and producer of Ulmer's "Pirates of Capri"), was in the production since the beginning, and Lamarr ended buying half of it. This is what I gathered from what I searched about the film, but some information many not be correct. It is true that it was a fiasco, but Hedy Lamarr got her money back, of course.