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Tension between a jealous husband, his wife who's attracted to his friend and the friend is rising as their small, deeply catholic, Mexican village is deciding who will be Christ during the possibly dangerous reenactment of the Crucifixion.
Too Little Historical Insight Elapsing Over Far Too Many Years
I can appreciate how difficult it must be for a screenwriter and director to try and condense such an interesting man's life story that spans over 50 plus years of history into a two hour time capsule. Having said that, when you have such superb leading actors as Raul Julia and Anthony Quinn (Academy award nominee Best Actor in Zorba the Greek) you have an opportunity many other films do not get for instant credibility.
Even with the benefit of top notch actors like Raul Julia and Anthony Quinn I was not impressed with the movies stop gap approach to how the years (and in some cases decades) progressed in Aristotle Onassis life. In one scene Onassis's hair is jet black, in another scene his hair changes to silver grey, and in the very next scene his hair is completely white. I know life passes us by when we don't expect it, but this bio movie was almost laid out in bullet points, rather than with any depth of character and story basis.
I was very disappointed with the choice of Jane Seymour to play Maria Callas. I like Jane Seymour in some of her other movies, but as Maria Callas? You have got to be kidding? Her accent was so bad and her teary scenes for the love of her life breaking her heart again and again were just not very good.
I know this review is critical but I would have preferred the biography to concentrate on a specific time period in Onassis's life, whether it was as a teenager when his father's wealth and home were taken over by the military and he stayed behind living with the commander as his male geisha, or how he built his shipping empire, or even the time period his passion for both Maria Callas and Jackie Kennedy were in full bloom.
The film Onassis, the Richest Man In the World, is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. Unfortunately it is not one of the greatest films of the now deceased actors Anthony Quinn and Raul Julia's body of work. I prefer to remember these two great actors for some of their other performances such as Raul's Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Anthony's Across 110th Street.
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