September 21, 2012

Helen of Troy - The Movie, The Music and Jon English - Updated

I wrote about my old school here because I wanted to put more details about it on record. It was an unusual school in many ways.

Because it was not part of the State Education System we were fortunate enough to have many different readers and other text books.
Some were from the Education Department but some were not.

I recall one year we had a reader which included Greek Myths and Legends and I loved these stories! 

One of my favourites was always “Helen of Troy”, and the Trojan war by Homer. 

The existence of Troy was confirmed by Schliemann ,below, who found the ruins. 


Unbelievable stuff! This picture below shows the ruins.



In any case, I have always been a fan of Jon English's since 1972.
(check search function on this ‘blog as I have many of Jon's songs).

I was thrilled when he wrote the rock opera “Paris", as it fitted almost perfectly to what I had been reading over the years.
I think Jon encapsulates this amazing story beautifully in just one song.
I had not seen this movie for many decades, much less own it as I do now.It is still available.

It was made in 1956. No CGI back then. 

Just a 'sword and sandal' movie, but well done and quite faithful to the legendary Trojan Wars story.

Rosanna Podesta as Helen, Jacques Sernas as Paris, and other stars like Stanley Baker as Achilles, and a very young Brigitte Bardot.

Here's a recently posted sample from You Tube

The notes read:
"Images and music are from the 1956 Warner Bros. production, Helen Of Troy. The movie is much more Hollywood than Homer but is great entertainment and has a great sound track composed by Max Steiner - 1. Opening Title, 2. The Song Of The Wine Dark Sea, 3. After the Siege, 4. Finale."

Seems like Jon named his first album, and the title track, "Wine Dark Sea" after track 2. 


I have had the song ever since it was released on vinyl, quite sometime before "Paris" was completed.

It first appeared on the "Some People" LP.

The double CD package of "Paris" the rock opera is available but "Oh Paris" as sung here is not on it. There is, however, a different version.

"Paris" was written by Jon English and David Mackay. 
The link to it on You Tube is here. 

I had the pleasure of seeing "Paris" live on stage in 2002 in Melbourne.
Jon was in the audience and we spoke to him. That was an added bonus. 

Note: If you cannot watch the video of this on You Tube or this blog – try this.


 Jon English's now famous quote from "Paris" is all over the internet, 

from the song - "There's No Turning Back":  

"You can lay down and die, or get you can get up and fight, but that's it - there's no turning back".                            


With thanks to Brainy Quote.
Here is Jon performing it.You will need to click on the link to You Tube to watch it.


Some interesting pieces on the many films that have been made concerning Helen of Troy. With thanks to this site.


Good write-up here:                                                                 
"The face that launched all those ships is played by the comparatively unknown Rosanna Podesta, surrounded by a distinguished cast and thousands of real extras, not pixels. This Hollywood epic shot at Cinecitta is not the movie to use for an easy book report on The Iliad, as Homer's version of events differs from the events as depicted here. The versatile Robert Wise fills the Scope screen with intelligent spectacle, aided by memorable second unit work by Yakima Canutt and an uncredited Sergio Leone."

Find more at


Still shot of Brigitte Bardot and Jacques Sernas. Below: Brigitte in 1955 via Twitter.





In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Castor, Pollux, and Clytemnestra. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

The Trojan War.
For a while, Helen and Menelaus lived happily together. They had a daughter and son, and Menelaus eventually became the king of Sparta. But their life together came to a sudden end.

Paris, a prince of Troy, traveled to Sparta on the advice of the goddess Aphrodite*. She had promised him the most beautiful woman in the world after he proclaimed her the "fairest" goddess. When Paris saw Helen, he knew that Aphrodite had kept her promise. While Menelaus was away in Crete, Paris took Helen back to Troy. Some stories say Helen went willingly, seduced by Paris's charms. Others claim that Paris kidnapped her and took her by force.

When Menelaus returned home and discovered Helen gone, he called on the leaders of Greece, who had sworn to support him if necessary. The Greeks organized a great expedition and set sail for Troy. 

Their arrival at Troy marked the beginning of the Trojan War. During the war, Helen's sympathies were divided. At times, she helped the Trojans by pointing out Greek leaders. At other times, however, she sympathized with the Greeks and did not betray them when opportunities to do so arose.

Helen had a number of children by Paris, but none survived infancy. Paris died in the Trojan War, and Helen married his brother Deiphobus.

After the Greeks won the war, she was reunited with Menelaus, and she helped him kill Deiphobus. 

Then Helen and Menelaus set sail for Sparta.

With many thanks to Ancient Greece, Sparta and Troy.

Below: Elizabeth Taylor as Helen of Troy. Source.


Other songs by Jon English on this blog:

Countdown Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary: Prince Charles Recreates The Interview With Molly Meldrum

♥♥Remembering Jon English♥♥

 Lost City of Heracleion Gives Up Its Secrets
Biopics Now Focus On Key Moments Rather Than A Whole Life

The Battle Over Troy

Five Lost Cities

Superheroes Of The Ancient World