Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Elia Kazan e dal suo racconto inedito Hamal; Scen.: Elia Kazan; F.: Haskell Wexler; Op.: Harlowe Stengel; Mo.: Dede Allen; Scgf.: Vassilis Photopoulos; Co.: Anna Hill Johnstone; Mu.: Manos Hatzidakis; Su.: Edward Beyer, Jack Fitzstephens, Richard Vorisek; Int.: Stathis Giallelis (Stavros Topouzoglou), Frank Wolff (Vartan Damadian), Harry Davis (Isaac Topouzoglou), Elena Karam (Vasso Topouzoglou), Estelle Hemsley (nonna Topouzoglou), Gregory Rozakis (Hohanness Gardashian), Lou Antonio (Abdul), Salem Ludwig (Odysseus Topouzoglou), John Marley (Garabet), Joanna Frank (Vartuhi), Linda Marsh (Thomna Sinnikoglou); Prod.: Elia Kazan per Warner Bros; Pri. pro.: dicembre 1963. 35mm. D.: 174’. Bn
Neither my father nor my mother liked the idea of this picture. Unvoiced, un- easy recollections of the Turks, I suspect, made them feel the whole subject was better left alone. When I planned my rst trip to do research, they were apprehen- sive. Greece? All right, but why Turkey?
I offered to take my parents with me for a visit. I had the feeling that my father should be spending his last years back there, under an olive tree, watching the harbors, drinking raki. He had no such notion. “What’s the matter with New Ro- chelle?” he demanded. “We stay here”, said my mother.
I visited the massive, terrible – and beautiful – city of Istanbul, where por- ters, called hamals, still work as beasts of burden. I went to where my father was born, in the shadow of the snowcapped Mount Aergius. Smells, sounds, a way of life half-remembered from my infancy, seemed to me idyllic. (…)
I tried to make the lm like a legend. That’s why Stavros and Vartan are on a mountain cutting ice. The ‘clean’ moun- tain was a symbol of their aspirations. Ice is a clean thing; snowfall is a clean thing. All of this contrasts with the hot, dirty, fteenth – or sixteenth-century town below where the Turks not only oppress- ing the Armenians and Greeks, they were oppressing their fellow countrymen. (…) I used to say to myself when I was mak- ing the lm that America was a dream of total freedom in all areas. I made two points about that. One was that America had a responsibility to the dream: the dream has a responsibility to the dream- er. And furthermore, what these people availed themselves of when they got here, what they turned the dream into, was the freedon to make money. Money be- came their weapon; it was the symbol of strenght.
Elia Kazan, Kazan on Directing, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2009