Anthony Quinn: a 1969 double-bill

January 22, 2015 | By

Yup, back-to-back updates, because there’s quite a few reviews that piled up after my adventures in Flu Land and Dental Hell (of which the latter chapter isn’t wholly over yet).

But let us move to things important.

I’ve posted reviews of two film starring Anthony Quinn in 1969, a rare non-prolific year, given his expansive C.V. playing a diversity of characters. He’s been accused of mining Zorba on more than a few occasions, but I don’t think that’s a fully fair criticism when the two films reviewed here offer very different characters. Anthony Quinn + Accents + Emotionally Gregarious Characters don’t always equal Zorba II.



In A Dream of Kings, Quinn reunites with Zorba co-star Irene Papas (now hold on… there’s more) and plays a complex character in a crumbling marriage that’s further aggravated by the near-terminal illness of his son. He’s an honest gambler, a proud Greek (I said hold on!) and a man who just can’t learn from his mistakes. Daniel Mann’s film is quite flawed, but it just manages to get by because of Quinn and Papas. Their scenes are packed with emotional subtext – sometimes it emerges in speech, but often it’s just looks and body language. It’s a great performance by Quinn in a film probably remembered by soundtrack LP collectors because of Alex North’s lovely score.

Also known for being Inger Stevens’ final feature film, Dream was released as an MOD title by Warner Archive back in 2009.

SecretOfSantaVittoria_Ital_posterTo the other pole is Quinn in The Secret of Santa Vittoria playing a town buffoon, ‘elected’ mayor by Fascist schmucks hoping he’ll do such a rotten job, they’ll be back in power in no time. Problem is drunkard Bombolini is savvy, and startles everyone by being clever when evil Nazi schweins led by Hardy Kruger motor into the village wanting to abscond with their precious wine. How does Bombolini and the town tuck away 1.3 million bottles of primo vino?

Stanley Kramer’s film version of this WWII set novel by Robert Crichton is kind of long… and takes a while to ease into the narrative, but it works, and it’s a small cult film for all the right reasons. Great score by Ernest Gold, stunning cinematography, and among the supporting cast is Giancarlo Giannini, who looks 12 with his big brown curly mop. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray is very nice, and includes an isolated score track that should please fans.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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