The long-forgotten and only English-language movie of iconic Greek film star Aliki Vougiouklaki has been digitally restored and will be broadcast for the first time on a Greek national network sixty years after its London and New York theater premieres.
Written by George St George, the romantic comedy Aliki My Love was filmed on the Greek island of Ios and directed by 5-time Academy Award nominee Rudolph Mate, an acclaimed filmmaker of the 1940s film noir movement.
Greek production company Finos Film had teamed up with British and Israeli counterparts while New York-based LIONEX Films had acquired the distribution rights. However, the movie never made it commercially.
“Nobody knows the real reason why the movie remained “hidden,” says Greek TV network Star Channel, which will air the first TV broadcast of Aliki My Love on New Year’s Day 2023 at 10:50 pm local time.
“In recent years, there had been damage to the film negatives, as a result of which there was difficulty in its digital restoration,” the network explained. “Finally, the movie was successfully restored [by Finos Films] in high resolution and is now ready to be enjoyed by the audience with Greek subtitles.”
Besides Vougiouklaki, the film co-stars Wilfrid Hyde White, best known for his role as Colonel Pickering in the film version of the musical My Fair Lady, Jess Conrad, Katherine Kath, Paris Alexander, Giannis Pardos, Roland George, and other Greek actors.
The great Greek composer Manos Hatzidakis wrote the music for what was expected to be Vougiouklaki’s first international movie, but ended up to be the least known among the star’s rich filmography.
Aliki and the secret recipe
The story of Aliki My Love follows Barry, a poor playboy aspiring to get rich from inheriting the recipe to a secret sauce which made his late uncle the “king of roasts.”
When he finds out from his lawyer that his uncle had taken the secret recipe to his grave, Barry goes after the only lead that his uncle left him about a tiny island in the Aegean. There, he arrives with his hotelier friend, Richard, who is looking to establish a holiday resort.
The two men become enchanted by local teacher Aliki and her mother, Anna, who is a cook. It is believed that Anna holds the secret to the sauce recipe that Barry had hoped to inherit from his uncle.
Watch the full movie:
Greek cinema and theater actress and theatrical producer Aliki Vougiouklaki, often mentioned as “the National Star of Greece,” appeared in over forty movies between 1954 and 1981 and starred in renditions of famous Broadway musicals as well as in Greek tragedy plays in the country.
The film she starred in, Ipolochagos Natassa (1970), held the record for the most commercially successful film in Greece for almost three decades.
Vougiouklaki died in 1996 at age sixty-two from pancreatic cancer. Her last stage performance was at her own rendition of The Sound of Music that same year.
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