Cinema: An Odyssey Retraced

America America is an affecting and dramatically dynamic idea that shapes up as one of 1963's more disappointing films. Director Elia Kazan, born in Turkey of Greek parents, wanted to tell the story of every immigrant who ever sought refuge from oppression on America's shores. With obvious sincerity, Kazan the writer-producer chose as his model a character he could warm to: his uncle Avraam Elia, who at 20 fought his way out of Anatolian Turkey onto a westbound ship. But Kazan the director—perhaps from habit—does his own script a disservice, rendering it in bravura theatrical style as though all the world...

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