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The Miracle Of Kritsa


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#1 DaveW.

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:30 PM

Whilst on hols in Kalyves recently I picked up a book entitled "Headlines Crete" and in it there is a story about how in 1956 a lady who had become dumb following the death of her son 30 years previously had suddenly regained her voice when taking part in the filming of 'He Who Must Die', by Jules Dassin in Kritsa that was based upon Kazantzakis's book Christ Recrucified.

The singing by the villagers in one part of the film is described as being etched in the memory of all those who heard it.

Now my question is , does anyone know if this film has ever been available on video/DVD. I have searched several sites but cannot find any such version being available.

It would be nice to be able to watch this film which has been described by some of those who saw it in the late 50's as probably one of the best ever made about Crete.

Dave
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#2 Caroline

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:42 PM

That sounds interesting Dave. I've never heard of it myself but it sounds good.

#3 santo

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 08:48 AM

The following is a extraction from the NEW YORK TIMES (tuesday 12th August);

OUT of Nikos Kazantzakis' powerful novel, "The Greek Passion," American film director Jules Dassin has made an equally powerful and frightening French film. It is called "He Who Must Die" ("Celui Qui Doit Mourir"), and it opened at the Beekman Theatre yesterday.

The scene of this stark and staggering drama is a poor town on the island of Crete at a time during the Turkish occupation at the end of World War I. This town, which has a truce with its Turkish governor, is preparing to stage its annual Passion Play and has chosen the local citizens to play tht chief roles, when a horde of starving dispossessed people from a distant town wanders into its streets.

The natural inclination of the townsfolk is to shelter these poor people and give them food, but their priest and the head of the town council strongly oppose this charity. They fear the wanderers will disturb the truce with the Turkish governor and, more important, prove an economic strain. So they succeed in arousing the townsfolk to drive the wanderers out.

However, a few of the people who have been chosen to take the leads in the Passion Play are to imbued with the spirit of their Christian forebears that they want to help the sufferers who have camped on a near-by hill. Especially the young man who will play the Christus wants to live up to the Golden Rule. But the bosses of the town are inflexible and in a final devastating scene the young man is murdered by the town leaders (he is actually stabbed by the man who would play Judas) within the walls of the church.

This is the gist of the drama, which plainly has as its theme the horrible irony in the pretense of Christian virtue that some worldly people make. If Christ returned to Earth today, these selfish people would still crucify Him for His social teachings, this drama says.

On that theme, magnified by the Greek author, Mr. Dassin has constructed a film that is as brutally realistic as the bare, dried-out Cretan town and the stony hills in which it was photographed. It abounds in a daring sort of candor and relentless driving toward its points of allegorical contact in a succession of searching and searing episodes.

For instance, the affinity of the Christus toward the widow who plays Mary Magdalene is developed in a sensitive, poignant and irreproachably honest way. It is human and emotionally complicated, yet deeply respectful and in good taste. Mr. Dassin with an excellent cast of actors and large groups of Cretan townsfolk and peasants to play his crowds, has made his picture so truly and sympathetically that it could be a documentary of an occurrence in life.

Every one of his professional players does a superlative job, with Pierre Vaneck perhaps most affecting as the young man who would play the Christus. Jean Servais, who may be remembered as the senior member of the safe-cracking gang in Mr. Dassin's previous triumph, "Rififi," is fine as the patriarch who leads the wanderers, and Fernand Ledoux is equally sturdy in a tyrannical way as the town priest. Gregoire Aslan as the urkish Governor, Gert Froebe as the head of the council and Melina Mercouri as the widow distinguish themselves.

The film has good English subtitles and is in sharp black-and-white photography.


The Cast
HE WHO MUST DIE; screen play by Ben Barzman and Jules Dassin; from the novel, "The Greek Passion," by Nikos Kazantzakis; dialogue by Andre Obey; directed by Jules Dassin; presented by Henri Berard; released by Kassler Films, Inc. At the Beekman Theatre, Second Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street. Running time: 122 minutes.
Pope Fotis . . . . . Jean Servais
Lukas . . . . . Carl Mohner
Agha . . . . . Gregoire Aslan
Patriarcheas . . . . . Gert Froebe
Hadji Nikolis . . . . . Teddy Bilis
Yannakos . . . . . Rene Lefevre
Kostandis . . . . . Lucien Raimbourg
Katerina . . . . . Melina Mercouri
Pannayotaros . . . . . Roger Hanin
Manolios . . . . . Pierre Vaneck
Ladas . . . . . Dimos Starenios
Mariori . . . . . Nicole Berger
Michelis . . . . . Maurice Ronet
Pope Grigoris . . . . . Fernand Ledoux
Santo

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#4 DaveW.

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 09:08 AM

Thanks Santo.
The review gives a vivid idea of what it is all about and explains some of todays attitudes. But this film like many others that could be considered classics seem to have been lost over the years. I think the review appeared when the film was released in 1957(?) and there are several mentions of it at the time but then it disappears. Anyone know any DVD distributors who would be interested in re-releasing it?
Dave
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#5 santo

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 09:42 AM

DaveW, sorry mate forgot to add the review was in yesterday's New York Times (2008), I googled the question this morning.

Not sure about the DVD but if you Google it as "He who must die film" you will get some links that could put you in touch with someone who could help.
Santo

It's not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away.

#6 santo

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 09:44 AM

You could even try contacting Kassler Film the distributors!!!!!
Santo

It's not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away.

#7 Wim

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 10:06 AM

Amazon.com

You can order the book here Dave. Did you know of his other book "The Last Temptation Of Christ" ?

<_<
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#8 Kritsa Yvonne

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 11:13 AM

Hi

I have read this book and it was great - especially as I read it in Kritsa over an Easter.

A couple of years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the film there was an exhibition in Kritsa - very interesting with stills from the film and info about how it was made. I have not heard about the "miricle" though.
Kritsa Yvonne

#9 DaveW.

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 09:39 PM

Life is certainlly full of coincidences! How strange is it that after all these years the film is shown again just as I am posting an enquiry about it on this forum. Could it be that a film distributor is watching the forum? <_<
Thanks Santo and sorry to have doubted you! B)
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#10 harribobs

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 04:54 PM

A couple of years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the film there was an exhibition in Kritsa - very interesting with stills from the film and info about how it was made. I have not heard about the "miricle" though.


yes we had a look at it, the photography was very good
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#11 Julie

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:19 PM

Dave is right. The New York Times review of the film was published on 29 December 1958 - google "New York Times + He Who Must Die" and it's the second item that comes up. Anyway, there were all sorts of clues - such as that it refers to Jules Dassin, who is dead, in the present tense. Wonderful film; no sign of an Available DVD, alas.

#12 Yorgos

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:35 AM

Amazing what one can turn up on the net!

The review by a reader of the NYT about the film ”He who must die” that was posted on the NYT web on 5 March 2008 has brought up the 1958 newspaper review of the film, including the announcement about its opening on the 28 December 1958 at the Beekman Theatre. Not the 11 August 2008 as some thought because unfortunately the Beekman Theatre has been demolished since December 2005!

I have been searching for the film for years now to no avail. A new film copy was produced in 2005 and it has been doing the rounds of various film festivals, (See program of the San Francisco Greek film festival of June 2008) but to date I have not been able to see it. So if anyone hears of a copy of it doing the rounds, I would appreciate hearing about it.

But while one is waiting for the film it would be worth reading first Kazantzakis’ book.

#13 DaveW.

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 06:30 PM

Yorgos,
I have e-mailed the film festival organisers to see who have obtained the film from. I'll let you know if there is a response.
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#14 DaveW.

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:07 PM

Yorgas,
The organisers have got back to me with contact details and I'll PM you as soon as I have a reply. It seems the film is available for hire, cost not mentioned, and the restrictions are quite numerous.
Dave
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#15 Yorgos

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 01:02 AM

Thank you Dave,

I am looking forward to receiving the details.

It looks like I may have to have my own film festival to see the film.

#16 Wim

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 07:18 PM

Maybe this can be of some help.
You may download the video on this Video download from "Celui qui doit mourir You have to download the Veoh player (free). I'm afraid it's the only the way to see the movie.


:(
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#17 Yorgos

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 12:42 AM

Thank you Wim for providing this link.

It was good seeing the film, now my next challenge will be to either learn French or find a copy with English or Greek subtitles!

#18 santo

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:10 AM

Yorgos you are quiet right about my mistake on the date of the review, I had only noticed the top of the page which displays the current date not the one under the heading of the film which displayed the 1958 date. My apologies.
Santo

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#19 DaveW.

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 10:19 AM

Wim,
I am going square eyed thanks to you. :D You are a b...y marvel. :P
I have downloaded VeohTV as you suggested and like Yorgos will be brushing up on my French.
There is such a lot of material on there about Rebetika/Crete that I will be on there for days! And after downloading it you can transfer it to CD. :D
Thanks
Dave
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!