Zorba the Greek

Zorba the Greek

DVD - 2004
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When he hires an eccentric stranger named Zorba to work in a mine he has inherited on Crete, Basil, a timid English writer, finds himself drawn into a world far more exciting and dangerous than any he has known.
Publisher: Beverly Hills, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2004
Edition: Widescreen version
Branch Call Number: DVD ZOR
Characteristics: 1 videodisc : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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🇬🇷 This film was marketed as being a celebration of life, which is sheer BS. It's the most depressing story you'll see in the movies, as Basil struggles with the barbaric, incompetent Greek villagers, who smash dishes at a record pace, and do a lot worse besides. Anthony Quinn, as the amoral Zorba, stays drunk and laughs it all off, which apparently is the great lesson he teaches Basil (Alan Bates). The musical score is wonderful. This actually became a successful musical on Broadway.

May 28, 2016

Great movie! Great acting!

Apr 19, 2016

Basil, an uptight English writer, has his conservative ways softened when he crosses paths with Alexis Zorba, a jovial Greek drifter on the island of Crete. Or so the film would have us believe. Zorba doesn’t exactly face life with gusto but rather he evades its harsher realities by way of drinking and dancing. An innocent villager is ritually murdered while her neighbours look the other way and a flock of black-clad crones descend upon a dead person’s estate like hungry vultures before the body is even cold—Basil reacts with dismay, Zorba reacts with drunken pirouettes and mumbled rebukes meant to convey an elusive deeper meaning. And then a few all too obvious metaphors are thrown in by Lila Kedrova who portrays a once beautiful courtesan now reduced to a wrinkled harlequin pining away for her lost loves, and Irene Papas as a handsome widow whose iron-clad virtue has the local men hating her even as they secretly lust for her company. Zorba dyes his hair and beds a prostitute half his age, Basil loses his shirt in an ill-advised business venture and then learns to dance, and the audience is left scrambling to find a point. Despite some Oscar calibre performances (Quinn was nominated, Kedrova won) and sober B&W cinematography which reduces the essence of Crete to crumbling masonry and vast expanses of sunlit nothingness, "Zorba" revels in tedium punctuated now and again by a forced laugh or a flash of misery quickly glossed over with bouzoukis and fancy foot moves. Disappointing.

Mar 22, 2014

Love Anthony Quinn's work. He was a real charismatic soul. I didn't care for this at all. An extremely depressing Old World story that left me wondering what the point was.

Jan 28, 2012

The capsule plot summary of Zorba in the SPL catalog "Description" is not just absurd and silly but so off-the-path of what the movie's themes are about (per the themes of the book by Nikos Kazantzakis of the same title) that the library description is laughable.
One wonders where they dug up such nonsensical drivel?
While the Englishman's interest in the young widow can only wildly be described as his having 'fallen in love with her" (and only w/ a fantastic stretch of the imagination: his interest was clearly lust driven) that part of the novel and film story are only one slice of a pie w/ numerous themes.
Those other themes represent far more of the story than that dealing with the Englishman’s single night of hanky-panky with the widow. The main themes of the novel interweave the Englishman's intense interest in eastern philosophies, e.g. Buddhism and his interest and (completely platonic) love for Zorba.
Zorba is a larger-than-life character w/ an enormous appetite for women; for the simple pleasures of life (such as his santori - music playing and singing); for his perplexity at what he perceives as the intellectually vapid & meaningless life of those he perceives as intellectually boorish, e.g. book-readers like the Englishman.
Zorba loves women, food, wine, music and dance. Interwoven are tales by Zorba of his long life's experiences as a man who had many women and children; a man-of-the-earth laborer; and a combatant in some of the brutal and endless wars that convulsed the Balkans and Caucasus in the early decades of the 20th C. in Europe.
The interactions of Zorba and the Englishman with the local townspeople in Crete; and with monks of a local monastery are finely interwoven in scenes sometimes sad, hilarious or heartbreaking but always fascinating and rich beyond words. The dialogue is superb; the characters fully realized.
The black & white cinematography is a jewel; superb. Five stars.

Mar 19, 2010

Must See – Zorba the Greek (1964) 142 min. This was required viewing in my high school senior English class and was so grateful that OPL included it in its collection. This is a wonderful film about a man full of life that teaches the more conservative partner how to cut the chains of routine and security and live free of fears. Anthony Quinn masterfully executes the role of Zorba through speech and body language. Notice how every part of this body dives into every situation. His laughter and hugs are exaggerated. I’m so surprised that he was bested by Rex Harrison for My Fair Lady. Harrison’s acting was top notch but Quinn’s Zorba epitomized acting from the heart and in my humble opinion, a memorable character. Alan Bates plays his partner who inherited a piece of land in gorgeous Greece. I thought I’d never say this because I love the black & white film but this film should’ve been shot in color – the scenery would’ve been so much more exciting to watch. Kudos to OPL for purchasing this film.


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Mar 22, 2014

Basil: "I don't want any trouble." Alexis Zorba: "Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble."

Mar 22, 2014

Alexis Zorba: "...Am I not a man? And is a man not stupid? I'm a man, so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe."


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