April 20: Screw the Medveds — Here’s a list of the movies that the Medveds had in their Golden Turkey Awards books. What do they know? Defend one of the movies they needlessly bashed.
In The Golden Turkey Awards, the Medveds said of this movie: “Initially intended as a straightforward film biography of Aristotle Onassis, this project began life with the working title The Tycoon. The producer, a former Athens journalist named Bico Mastorakis, anticipated full cooperation from the Onassis family and even offered Jacqueline Kennedy $1 million to play herself. When Christina Onassis, Ari’s daughter and heiress, denied legal consent for the film to proceed, the ingenious Masorakis simply changed the names in his script and altered minor details to create a work of “fiction.” He also changed the title to The Greek Tycoon. “We’re not making a movie about Aristotle Onassis,” Mastronikas explained. “It’s a personification of all Greek tycoons.””
Directed by J. Lee Thompson and written by Morton S. Fine from a story by Fine, Wim Wells and Mastronikas, this has Theo Tomasis (Anthony Quinn, forever trying to be my least favorite actor) as a Greek businessman who went from rags to riches before marrying Liz Cassidy (Jacqueline Bisset), the wife of assassinated U.S. President James Cassidy (James Franciscus).
So, yeah. Just like any other Greek tycoon.
Speaking of Anthony Quinn, he met Onassis six months before the man who married Jackie O’s death and the tycoon gave his blessing to Quinn’s casting. Then, Jackie Kennedy asked him to not make the movie and he said that he wouldn’t, but then, you know, she acted like she didn’t know him in a restaurant, which is a hilarious reason to make a movie that is a total smear on someone’s two dead husbands.
Ebert gave it two stars, Siskel three and a half and audiences made it the top movie for a few weeks. Ebert said that it was like watching the National Enquirer, which is possibly why it did so well.