Greece has been the location of many foreign film productions that showcased its beauty and charm to the world. Many areas, islands, and neighborhoods of Greece have appeared on the big screen, even in Hollywood movies. Directors and actors were captivated by the country or thought that its places were the ideal backdrop for their stories. A classic example is the 1959 film “The Angry Hills”, starring Robert Mitcham, which was filmed in the port city of Piraeus.
The film is set in Greece in 1941 and depicts the events before and after the Nazi invasion. The film follows the adventures of an American journalist who has a list of Greek resistance leaders in his possession. He memorizes the list and burns it, but then he is hunted by various groups of people who want to get it from him. And they are not few. Communists, resistance fighters, the Gestapo, and Greek collaborators are all after him and chasing him.
The film also shows other events happening around him, with Piraeus as the main setting but also other parts of Attica and the center of Athens, such as Plaka. It is a 1959 American-British war film directed by Robert Aldrich and based on the novel by Leon Uris.
“The Angry Hills”: The film depicts Piraeus and its neighborhoods as the main scenery
The film shows the Piraeus of the past, where some places are still familiar, while others have changed or disappeared. The film includes scenes from Pasalimani,Kastella, and Profitis Ilias. In Profitis Ilias, a specific house was selected that had a stunning view of Tourkolimano, which fascinated the American director.
You can see some photos of the house and Tourkolimano from the website pireorama.gr.
The film also shows scenes and views from the well-known hills of Prophet Elias.
The film has a scene where the main character (Mitcham) runs down the stairs of Foskolou Str. in Kastella, and then he encounters a group of students at the crossroads of Foskolou Str. and Vassileos Pavlou Avenue, which is now called Alexandrou Papanastasiou Ave.
One can also see the Nautical Club in the background of a scene with Mitchum. Of course, not all buildings and neighborhoods look the same as they do today, but you can still easily recognize where the filming has taken place.
And of course, if you see the film you notice the cinema “Splendid” with its rooftop.
The cinema in which the film was screened the very next year. Observing the scenes, one can see that there is an absence of crowds while some shots are completely empty of people. And this is no coincidence. Naturally, many people wanted to see the shooting up close.
But this was not possible for some scenes that needed quietness and emptiness. In this film, like in others, the crew had to clear people and vacate the streets to film properly.
One thing is sure, these pictures of old Piraeus evoke nostalgia for those who were there then and recall neighborhoods, buildings, and people…