The adaptation of Harry Mark Petrakis’ book about an epic Greek-American father, philanderer, and gambler whose dubious means of support is dispensing wisdom and wrestling instruction emerges as a warm, upbeat, artistically realized drama. It stars Anthony Quinn portraying super-mensch, the noble ethnic, and it is one of his most powerful and convincing performances.
In the Greek sector of Chicago, Quinn makes his hand-to-mouth living as a small time but honest gambler, since his counseling business in a walk-up dingy tenement building is considerably less than a living. His wife (Irene Papas), two girls and his fatally ill son (Radames Pera) exist on the widowed mother-in-law’s life insurance.
The film captures the gritty visual feel of the Hellenic quarter of a large American city with the winter air redolent with feta and baking Greek bread.