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Never on Sunday (1960)

Pote tin Kyriaki (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1 October 1960 (USA)
An American scholar in Greece sets about improving the prostitute with whom he is infatuated.

Director:

Jules Dassin

Writer:

Jules Dassin
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Melina Mercouri plays an actress who is attempting a comeback with a staging of the Greek tragedy "Medea" (about a woman who kills her children) in her native Greece. As a publicity stunt, ... See full summary »

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Melina Mercouri, Ellen Burstyn, Andréas Voutsinas
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Melina Mercouri ... Ilya
Jules Dassin ... Homer Thrace
Giorgos Foundas ... Tonio (as Georges Foundas)
Titos Vandis ... Giorgos
Mitsos Ligizos ... Captain
Despo Diamantidou ... Despo
Dimos Starenios ... Skoupidis
Dimitris Papamichael ... British Seaman (as Dimitri Papamichael)
Alexis Solomos ... Mr. Noface
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Koula Agagiotou ... Prostitute
Kostas Doukas
Nikos Fermas ... Waiter
Giannis Fermis ... Man Missing the Tramway
Giorgos Foras ... (as George Foras)
Faidon Georgitsis ... British Seaman
Edit

Storyline

Illia is Piraeus's most popular person: an energetic prostitute, full of life and good humor. Every day, she swims at the pier, entertaining the dock hands. Sundays she has an open house with food, drink and song. Homer Thrace, an amateur philosopher from Middletown, Conn., arrives in town to find out why Greece has fallen from ancient greatness. He decides Illia is a symbol of that fall, so he sets out to study and to save her. Unknown to Illia, he gets the money for the books and all else he gives her from Mr. No Face, the local vice boss who wants Illia retired because her independence gives other whores ideas. Whose spirit is stronger: Homer's classical ideal or Illia's? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The highlight of Greek cinema - The film that became a legend. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Greece

Language:

English | Greek | Russian

Release Date:

1 October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Never on Sunday See more »

Filming Locations:

Athens, Greece See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$151,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Melina Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Melina Mercouri, Despo Diamantidou, and Tito Vanidis all appeared in the Broadway musical version of "Never on Sunday", "illya darling", which ran for 320 performances between April 1967 through January 1968. See more »

Quotes

Homer: She killed them. Medea herself, does she not say, "I killed my children"?
Illya: And you believe her? You don't understand the women. Medea loves her husband, yes?
Homer: Yes.
Illya: Her husband is interested in another woman? Yes?
Homer: Yes.
Illya: So she said to her husband that she has killed her children to frighten him, to get him back.
Homer: No!
Illya: Yes. She gets him back, and everybody go away and everybody is happy and they go to the seashore. And that's all!
Homer: If I show you that everything that was ever written about Medea talks ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Manos Hadjidakis: Reflection in the Mirror (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Den pernas kyra Maria
Traditional children's song
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If Greece Were Still Like This, I Would Move There
4 August 2008 | by lotus07See all my reviews

SYNOPSIS: A well educated American tourists attempts to 'enlighten' a Greek prostitute in a small seaside village.

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER Newer is not always better, and sometimes over analyzing a problem can only make it worse. Leave well enough alone. It is more important to be happy than to understand everything.

PROS AND CONS Every recent prostitute film from 'Irma la Duce' to 'Pretty Woman' owes a lot to this work. It was one of the first films that shed light on the idea that prostitution was a respectable and acceptable way to make a living.

If nothing else this film is a homage by Jules Dassin to his wife, Melina Mercouri. She is the focus of the film and she captivates any scene she is in with her zest for life and smoldering sexuality. The other thing you tend to fall in love with is the romantic ideal of living in Greece in 1960. It appears care free, relaxed and almost infectious with its love of the simple life.

The plot of the film is not overly complex and deals with an outsider, Homer (Dassin) arriving in town to study Greek culture. He is almost immediately captivated by Ilya (Mercouri) as one of the local prostitutes that 'freelances' and does not work for the town pimp. She negotiates a price with whomever she chooses, and sleeps with all the towns vendors in exchange for her daily goods (food, wine, drinks, etc), but she never 'works' on Sunday. Hence the title to the film.

Homer is smitten by Ilya and decides that he must 'save' her from what he perceives as a wretched life that is going no where and decides to educate her so that she can see the error of her ways. In the end, this does nothing but frustrate everyone in town. The education of Ilya does have a silver lining, which if anything, leaves the town more corrupted than when Homer found it.

The underlying theme of the film is that one should strive to be happy in what you do and more importantly, who you know. There is an interconnection between people in a small town, and disrupting those connections may lift some people up, but is not good for the whole of society. Regardless of his meddling, the towns people never turn on Homer, or blame him for anything. At their core, they know that life is to be enjoyed and blaming people for your troubles is just not part of the mix.


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