Sunday, March 10, 2013

Zorba the Greek

On his way to his property on the Isle of Crete, a melancholic British writer (Alan Bates) chances to meet Zorba, a bawdy, zest filled peasant (Anthony Quinn) who takes him under his wing and bestows his way of viewing the world. While overseeing a timber operation on his new friend's land, Zorba introduces him to a gorgeous and tragically doomed widow (Irene Papas) and also to the French madame (Lila Kedrova) whose bedchambers he finds himself a frequent guest. "Zorba the Greek" was a resounding success for director Mihalis Kakogiannis, who adapted Nikos Kazantzakis' equally beloved novel, and Anthony Quinn who is so good in the title role, and a match for it if there ever was one. The film features glorious black and white photography, which looked so refined is these later usages, and often overactive camera, which does service its excellent ending quite well. Alan Bates has kind of a quiet, thankless role which is odd because I can picture him playing Zorba later in his career, and Lila Kedrova has some moving sequences in the latter stages of the film.