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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pote Tin Kyriaki (aka Never On Sunday) (1960)

An American tourist (Jules Dassin, who also directed) from Connecticut arrives in Greece in the hopes of studying why the Greek empire fell. When he finds a free spirited prostitute (Melina Mercouri, who won the Cannes film festival best actress award for her work here), he looks upon her as a symbol of the decline of Greek civilization and attempts to re-educate her to a more enlightened path. This comedic combination of Shaw's PYGMALION and Maugham's SADIE THOMPSON was a breakout art house hit in 1960 and the ubiquitous title song was on everyone's lips. It still manages to retain much of its charm today, mostly due to that lifeforce by the name of Melina Mercouri. It was a mistake though for Dassin to cast himself as the nerdy American. He's not a very good actor and it's a particularly charmless performance, it doesn't help that he looks like Harpo Marx without his curly wig. Jacques Natteau's B&W camera work doesn't take full advantage of the Greek locations but Manos Hadjidakis' tuneful score is Greek to its core. With Giorgos Foundas, Titos Vandis and Despo Diamantidou.

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