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|L'Odissea/The Odyssey (TV-series)|
|Created by||Mario Bava, Franco Rossi|
|Written by||based on
Homer's epic poem
|Directed by||Franco Rossi, Mario Bava|
|Presented by||Giuseppe Ungaretti|
|Country of origin||Italy
|No. of episodes||4-8|
|Executive producer(s)||Vittorio Bonicelli|
|Producer(s)||Dino de Laurentiis|
|Running time||446 min.
(110 min. cut edition)
|Original release||24 March 1968 (RAI)|
L'Odissea was a European TV miniseries broadcast on RAI (Italian state TV) in 1968 and based on Homer's Odyssey. An Italian, Yugoslavian, German and French (Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française) coproduction, it was directed by Franco Rossi, assisted by Piero Schivazappa and Mario Bava; the cast included Bekim Fehmiu as Ulysses and Irene Papas as Penelope, Samson Burke as the Cyclops, as well as Barbara Bach as Nausicaa, and Gerard Herter (of Caltiki fame). The outdoors were shot in Croatia and Montenegro.
There were 8 episodes in the original version, running a total of 446 minutes. Each episode was preceded by an introduction in which poet Giuseppe Ungaretti read some verses of the original poem. The adaptation is considered to be the most faithful rendering of Homer's epic on screen. The major omission was the absence of the passage of the strait of Messina with the encounter with Scylla and Charybdis.
Special effects were designed by Mario Bava (who outright directed the Polyphemus episode) and Carlo Rambaldi. The show ran on television in Europe between 1968 and 1970. In Italy alone, the episodes had an audience of over 16 million viewers. The entire television series was dubbed into English, ran several times on the TVO network in Ontario, Canada, and was broadcast in the USA by CBS years later in 1978. An abridged theatrical version (running only 110 minutes) was released to European theatres as well, also available in English.
However, the English dub was later lost. There are DVD editions however still available in Italian and German.
After the Trojan War, Odysseus has disappeared for ten years in the Mediterranean Sea. On the island of Ithaca his wife Penelope is overrun at the palace by suitors who try in every way to woo her,and force her to marry again. His son Telemachus decides to go searching for him. Odysseus, however, is not dead: he was captured by the nymph Calypso, who after an intervention of the Gods, releases Odysseus. The hero sets sail for the sea, but is shipwrecked on an island. There, he is rescued by the princess Nausicaa, daughter of King Alcinous. The king welcomes Odysseus, who tries to conceal his identity. Finally revealed, he begins to tell about the adventures and travels he had on his way back from the Trojan War. One segment involves his encounter with Polyphemus, the Cyclops.
- Bekim Fehmiu: Odysseus
- Irene Papas: Penelope
- Renaud Verley: Telemachus
- Roy Purcell: Alcinous
- Marina Berti: Arete
- Scilla Gabel: Helen
- Barbara Bach: Nausicaa
- Juliette Mayniel: Circe
- Kyra Bester: Calypso
- Michèle Breton: Athena
- Samson Burke: Polyphemus
- Fausto Tozzi: Menelaus
- Franco Balducci: Mentor
- Karl-Otto Alberty: Eurymachus
- Ilija Ivezic: Ctesippus
- Franco Fantasia: Mente
- Luciano Rossi: Theoclymenus
- Giulio Donnini: Tiresias
- Peter Hinwood: Hermes
- Bianca Doria: Anticlea
- Enzo Fiermonte: Demodoco
- Gérard Herter: Laocoön
- Mimmo Palmara: Achilles
- Giancarlo Prete: Euryades
- Orso Maria Guerrini: Leodes
- Laura Nucci: Antinoo's Mother