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Musical Project: Best Leading Actor 1964: Anthony Quinn – Zorba the Greek

March 26, 2013

Zorba the Greek is a very good, yet too long film, about two gentlemen spending some time in Crete. The younger, Basil, is very well played by Alan Bates and the older, Zorba, is greatly portrayed by Anthony Quinn.
I didn’t know what should I expect from Quinn’s performance. On the first hand I’ve heard thousands of glories about his performance, on the other hand from the clips I’ve seen from Zorba the Greek I didn’t find him to be something special. But this is a proof of the fact that if you haven’t seen the whole film, you can’t judge the performance from it.
Zorba is a very likable character. He is a nice old man, that is also very simple. He isn’t studied, although he is extremely wise. Some of the lines he says are so true and powerful, that I’ll think of them a long long time after watching the film. Quinn had to handle these sentences the way they wouldn’t seem too fatally, so they would be overacted and embarrassing. And he completely succeeded. He delivers them very non-violently and softly, just as a real person would.
As I said, Quinn is really great in this role. It’s always very enjoyable to watch an actor that knows what he is doing and wonderfully portrays his character. He is the reason of the fact that many people forget how good Alan Bates was in this film. He really gave a very decent performance, but he gets overshadowed by Anthony Quinn. But everybody in this film is overshadowed by him. Except from one person.
Quinn gave a great performance, there’s no doubt about it. But yet I still found his performance to be a bit of inconstancy. Though he did everything as he should, I always found it to be so. When I kept thinking about it, I finally understood it. The reason is Lila Kedrova. She was so flawless and overwhelming in her performance, that she overshadows even Quinn. Though their scenes together are wonderfully played by both of the actors, Kedrova is such a scene stealer, that I almost forgot Quinn is there.
If I am to choose the best scene of Anthony Quinn’s performance I don’t have to think about it too much. The best would certainly be the one he talks about the war he lived in. That’s really his most powerful moment.
The chances of winning an Oscar: If the winner wasn’t Harrison, I think it would be O’Toole. Quinn had two Oscars at the time and this fact pushed him in the corner, in my opinion…

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One Comment
  1. He's great in this, a perfect role for him.

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