Zorba The Greek is one of my favorite movies in which Anthony Quinn gives a great, Oscar-nominated performance as Alexis Zorba. He represents life with his exuberance and sheer presence. Among many other qualities, Zorba loves to dance and eventually teaches the prim and proper Basil (Alan Bates) how to dance the sirtaki on the beach. That is a remarkable scene, not only because the dance is beautiful, but apparently Anthony Quinn did that scene with a broken foot just to keep the filming on schedule. Not being able to do the dance that had much jumping and a more active style, he invented a slower shuffle which he apparently called “traditional.” The music by Mikis Theodorakis throughout the movie plays a major role in the success of the narrative as seen in the final dance scene.
Now, after so many years, a video came to my attention that features an 80+ year old Quinn, on stage with Theodorakis performing a similar dance, and still doing a remarkable job. Indeed, this rendering is far more active than the dance in the final scene of the movie. At the end of the performance, he calls the music of Zorba “the music of life.” Here is Zorba on stage with Theodorakis.
“Music of Life” indeed!
And, for a reminder, the final scene of the movie where everything goes down and a man “gets a life!”