Friday, January 02, 1998

America America

069715 / 16 / US / 1963 / Kazan, Elia / / drama

America America / The Anatolian Smile / America America. © Athena Enterprises Corporation. P+D+SC: Elia Kazan - based on his novel. DP: Haskell Wexler. PD: Gene Callahan. M: Manos Hadjidakis. CAST: Stathis Giallelis (Stavros Topouzoglou), Frank Wolff (Vartan Damadian), Paul Mann (Aleko Sinnikoglou), Linda Marsh (Thomna Sinnikoglou), Katherine Balfour (Sophia Kebabian). B&w Academy. 168’. MPAA Production Code Seal 20621. SEA / Warner Bros. print with fine definition, Finnish / Swedish subtitles. Viewed in Helsinki, SEA, Cinema Orion, Thursday 1 January 1998. **** Close to perfection, this a great drama of the emigration to America. It is 1896 in Turkey, where the Christian Greeks are oppressed by the Turkish Moslems. Stathis has to endure trials of Biblical dimensions to get to Ellis Island. He is robbed, beaten, shot, embezzled by a whore, almost wed for money, taken to a rich lady passenger’s lover, and finally almost driven mad. He tries his hand at various professions, from a carpet merchant to a shoeshine boy. The deep focus cinematography and the production design are profoundly authentic. Manos Hadjidakis provides another stirring score. The film is let down by the flat English-language dubbing and the lack of authentic background sounds. Stathis Giallelis is fine but the role would have needed to be filled by someone with the charisma of Brando.

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