A millionaire past his prime and his young wife arrive in Kenya circa 1940 to find that the other affluent British expatriates are living large as the homefront gears up for war. They are ... See full summary »
(Because this is so obviously inspired by Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy) "The characters in this film are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental". See more »
Glossily presented drama, quite empty beyond its surface sheen.
The photography is accomplished, the acting is quite good, but in virtually every other department The Greek Tycoon is a dreary bore. Taking its inspiration from the real-life love affair of Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, the film is a glossy but absolutely empty soap opera of the kind that can be found on TV all day long. Viewers who embrace the whole "celebrity magazine culture" (paparazzi photographs and gossipy stories about the rich and famous) will undoubtedly find much to whet their appetite here. But those who prefer films with a bit more substance and craft and quirkiness will find the 107 minute running time a butt-numbing slog.
American president James Cassidy (James Franciscus) and his beautiful wife Liz (Jacqueline Bisset) are in Greece on official business. A ridiculously wealthy Greek shipping tycoon, Theo Tomasis (Anthony Quinn), catches sight of Liz at a party at his elegant manor. Despite the fact that both of them are married to someone else, there is an immediate attraction between them. Later, at a private party aboard his yacht, Tomasis makes his desires known to Liz. Some while later, President Cassidy is assassinated whilst out strolling on a beach. Liz is shocked and saddened by his death, but it isn't long before she seeks comfort in the arms of her Greek lover Tomasis. Eventually the two of them are married and their love affair becomes a favourite talking point for the world's newspapers, magazines, photographers and wags.
It is somewhat amusing to note the vigour with which the producers of this film denied that it was a dramatisation of the Kennedy-Onassis story. They wanted the film to be seen as an original story, rooted in fiction. But anyone with a brain can see where the movie is drawing its inspiration from. Even Aristotle Onassis himself knew The Greek Tycoon amounted to his love-life getting the Hollywood treatment (if rumours are to be believed, he actually had a hand in approving Anthony Quinn for the Tomasis role!) J. Lee-Thompson isn't really the right sort of director for this type of movie he's better suited to action fodder like The Guns Of Navarone and Ice Cold In Alex but he marshals the proceedings with an uninspired, professional adequacy. Quinn is very watchable as Tomasis; Bisset looks lovely as the object of his desires; Franciscus uses his toothy smile and a façade of integrity to make for a believable politician. Their performances are good on the surface, but there's little for the actors to do on any deeper level. Similarly, Tony Richmond's photography gives the film an elegant surface sheen as it moves from one exotic locale to the next, but the merest of scratches proves that there's nothing behind the film's glossy exterior.
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