Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Zorba the Greek|
Actors: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Sotiris Moustakas
Director: Mihalis Kakogiannis
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
On the Greek isle of Crete, Basil (Alan Bates), a shy inhibited writer from England is befriended by Zorba (Anthony Quinn) a boisterous peasant with an astonishing love for life. When Zorba agrees to work at Basil's abando... more »
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Bruce Kendall | Southern Pines, NC | 02/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Something is definitely wrong with this picture!! Where is Criterion, or some other company that is neglecting one of the greatest movies of the 20th C? Cacoyannis assembled one of the most sublime international casts ever in this classic. Few movies can approach great literature as far as providing a microcosm of "the human condtition," to use an overworked, but apt phrase. This is one of the few that can. The plot, which is secondary to the theme, revolves around the wizened, but still vibrant Greek peasant Zorba (Quinn) teaching the young, uptight, sexually confused (OK, maybe that's not PC of me, but it's certainly the subtext) Brit mine-owner "boss" Basil (Alan Bates), about the facts of life. Zorba is one of the great lovable rogues of cinema history, maybe even the most memorable. Wine, women, song and dance are his credo, and we come to learn that they are his defense against some personal tragedy in his background. This film is unmatched in terms of playing the comic against the tragic, the many facets of life that color actual existence, as opposed to the usual Hollywood, one dimensional perspectives. There are layers within layers to the message here, just as in great fiction or theater. What it boils down to, however, is about friendship. Zorba and Basil go through so much together, running the full gamut of human emotions, that by the perfectly realized ending (the best I can recall in recent or distant memory, outside of Fellini's La Strada maybe [another Quinn movie, incidentally]), this viewer was breaking down in sheer joy/release/catharsis. The Greeks have long had a knack for this, have you noticed?As a footnote, the soundtrack is also legendary, thanks to Greece's most noted score composer, Mikis Theadorakis. I'm not going to gripe here, but how did Alan Bates pass on without an Oscar on his mantle? This was essentially Cacoyannis' and Quinn's project, however, and they should live on in every film buff's memory for ages to come for this masterpiece on both their parts. Irene Papas, as a widow who shoots some of the most unforgettable darting glances in film history, and Lila Kedrova as the sad, but ever hopeful Madame Hortense, are also highly memorable. And where did Cacoyannis find those old, withered, diminuitive, toothless harpies that hung about the bedside like vultures gathering for a feast? Do what you can to re-view this true classic on VHS while we hope and pray that the eventual DVD treatment will be of worthy quality.BEK"
A celebration of the human spirit, even if you are not Greek
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since I am leaving today for a trip to Greece I figured I should watch "Zorba the Greek" since this 1964 film is considered the quintessential "Greek" film. I have to admit my first reaction was to be glad I was not going to Crete, because the way the locals treated the beautiful widow (Irene Papas) and Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova), the old prostitute, were outright horrific. But this is why people like us and young Basil (Alan Bates) need to meet up with somebody with a zest for life like Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn). Basil is an Englishman of Greek extraction who goes to Crete to check out a mine he has inherited. Zorba attaches himself to Basil, ostensibly as a cook but clearly as a guide to the joys and tragedies of life. In terms of Quinn's performance the only thing you can really say is that before there was Robert Begnigni there was Zorba the Greek when it comes to Mediterranean men who provided inspirational madness. As Zorba tells Basil: "Dammit, boss, I like you too much not to say it. You've got everything except one thing. Madness! A man needs a little madness, or else...he never dares cut the rope and be free." +When they arrive on Crete it becomes clear the mine is not going to pan out for anybody. They move in with Madame Hortense, who is wooed by Zorba, who insists Basil go after the beautiful local widow. After these tragedies all that is left is Zorba's plan for bringing trees down from the top of the mountain, an endeavor obviously equally doomed to failure. This is why in the end there is only one thing a man can do, and it is in this cathartic conclusion that any and all sins of this film are absolved."Zorba the Greek" is written and directed by Michael Cacoyannis, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. The film won three Academy Awards: Lila Kedrova for Best Supporting Actress, Best Art/Set Direction, and Best Cinematography. Quinn did not win the Oscar for what is clearly his most memorable role in a long and distinguished film career, but that is usually the case with actors and their greatest roles. Marlon Brando did not win for Stanley Kowalski and Quinn did not win for Alexis Zorba. What is a man to do in the face of such a fate but dance?"
ZORBA LIVES IT UP....I'm jealous.
Gypsychick | miami, fl USA | 08/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""A man needs a little madness." - Alexis Zorba. And so is the tale of a seemingly crude and boorish man, or that may be the manner in which he is viewed by those very people Zorba would never want to be. Living with every emotion on his sleeve, Zorba watches a young struggling writer working restoring a mine with him open like a an emotional flower under his careful "tutelage" which revolves around dancing in joy and sorrow, living life every single minute and never fearing the inevitable ending of life. (How's that for a run on sentence? Ah, but it is the Greek way!). This film is simply wonderful and I am surprised it isn't shown more often in its entire form. I feel Zorba, like so many of our old favorites, should have a re-release on the big screen. We have forgotten how to live like this."
Life affirming, life changing
Craig Lee Stevenson | Jakarta, Indonesia | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this film in my early 20's and am now approaching 60. Over the years I have returned to it just to see if it still held the same truth. It does. In anticipation of this DVD release I reread the book and it was an interesting lesson in book to film adaptation. The spirit is the same and credit for that must go to the director the actors who approach this - the greatest of Kazantzakis' novels with reverance and passion. Certain elements of the episode with the church are "leavened" for 1960's tastes and limits but the rest rings true. After all the awards and praise for acting and cinematography, it remains a film to share with friends and cherish for its humanity and truth. Zorba was a real person, by the way, and maintained an active correspondence with Kazantzakis until his death in the early 1940's."