Mikis Theodorakis and the amazing unforgettable Greek actor Manos Katrakis

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Introduction

The name “Manos Katrakis” was new to me when I read it yesterday, preparing my post about the Greek poet Tasos Livaditis. Obviously also he had been sent away to the isle of torture: Makronisos.

Searching for information about Manos Katrakis I saw pictures of him that remembered me of parts of a special performance of Axion Esti, composed by Mikis Theodorakis, and conducted by himself, in 1977:

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Manos Katrakis                                                                                                                              

Manos Katrakis (14 August 1908 – 2 September 1984) was a Greek actor of theater and film. He was born in Kastelli, Crete, Greece. When Manos was 10 years old, his family moved from Crete to Athens, where his father searched for work.

Along with actor/director Kostas Leloudas, he acted in his first movie To Lavaro tou ’21 in 1928. He later performed in the Ethniko Theatro (the National Theatre) in 1931. During the 1930s, he continued acting in theatrical plays.

He took part in the resistance as a member of EAM/ELAS and after refusing to sign a declaration of repentance during the Greek Civil War of 1946–1949, he was exiled to Makronisos (read my former post), along with other well-known figures such as Yiannis Ritsos, Tasos Livaditis, Mikis Theodorakis and Thanasis Veggos (!).

In the 1950s he returned to Athens from Makronisos but there was little acting work. He was handed both small and big roles in plays and films.

He was an avid smoker for most of his life, something which eventually led to his death. Shortly before his death, he filmed his last and best movie Taxidi sta Kythira, the Journey to Kythera/Kythira with the director Theo Angelopoulos. He died at the age of 76 on September 2, 1984.

Nice to add here are some sentences of Maria Karageorgou, the author of the book “Manos Katrakis in Life, on the Stage and the Screen”: Manos Katrakis was a Greek Theatrical actor. This shy lad with the manly bearing, tender soul and explosive temperament went on to a career adventure and misadventure, with 53 years in the theater, more than 100 films to his credit and a number of awards for his screen roles….

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manos-katrakis-the-actor-pericles-balafas

                                     Pericles Balafas:  “Manos Katrakis the actor”

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The album “Betrayed People” / “Prodomenos Laos” /   “Προδομένος Λαός”      

On a website about anti-war-songs I found of course also a page with the title: “Προδομένος λαός ~ Mikis Theodorakis ~ Mίκης Θεοδωράκης” and next to performers as Vasilis Papakonstandinou, Haris Alexiou, Kostas Smokovitis, and Aliki Vouyouklaki is also the name of Manos Katrakis.

prodomenos

The Italian text refers to an interview with Mikis Theodorakis by To Vima, where he sais: “It is so easy to make people believe in something and that makes them so easy to betray……” The content of the texts of the album is timeless, the article explains, and could be sung in the (far) past, but also today, also tomorrow:

“Strictly speaking about dates, the album belongs to the history of yesterday, because it is 1974, but it is clear that is good for both 1821 and for 2013, the present, the future. The year 1974 was the year of the fall of the junta of the colonels…”

“…. Artists who had spent all sorts of trouble, suddenly became aware that they had a lot of friends among colleagues, who had all managed to juggle during the dark seven years.”

I found a video with Manos Katrakis, singing the song “Ελάτε μ`έναν πόθο”:
Ελάτε μ’ έναν πόθο
σε τούτο τον καιρό
πιάστε μαντίλι για χορό
να δέσουν οι καρδιές μας
φωτιά και σίδερο.

Αντάρτες βγήκαν για παγάνα
στη βρύση πλάι στο βοριά
στην κρεμάλα να δούμε όλους
όσους λαβώσανε τη λευτεριά.

Καιρός δεν περιμένει
ποτάμι ακούραστο
πό’ `χει το έμπα του κλειστό
στο έβγα του ματώνει
κι έγιν’ απέραντο.

Ζητάει να προσκυνήσω
βεζύρη και πασά
βράχος μου κλείνει τη μπασιά
πέρα για να περάσω
αίμα η θάλασσα.

Αίμα και θα περάσω
παίχτε τα πίφερα
η λευτεριά `ναι αντίπερα
για τ’ άρματα τα χέρια
κράτα καθαρά.

Στίχοι: Βαγγέλης Γκούφας
Μουσική: Μίκης Θεοδωράκης
Χορωδία & Μάνος Κατράκης

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Films with Manos Katrakis and the music of Mikis Theodorakis

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Synoika to Oneiro (1961) (as Nekroforas)

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Electra (1962), (as The Tutor)

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O anthropos me to garyfallo (1980) (as Nikolaos Plastiras)

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Sources and additional information                                                                                    

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And some beautiful parts of the film Voyage to Cythera (1984), with Manos Katrakis as Spyros. Theo Angelopoulos directed the film, and Eleni Karaindrou composed the (as always) beautiful music for it. It has been Manos Katrakis’s last film.

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Updated: 19 November 2015

Updated: 31 May 2017

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About "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis"

The blog "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis" started in 2010. The not-for-profit activities of the initiator were and are to collect, create and publish information about the MUSIC of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis via YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and this blog. Sources for this information are utterly strictly related with Mikis Theodorakis' Music only. The icon is a bouzouki. It is Greece's national symbol for freedom. During the Regime of the Colonels (Military Junta, 1967-1974) the bouzouki was forbidden. Mikis Theodorakis used this authentic Greek instrument in almost all his compositions, and Greeks were listening to Theodorakis's music in the underground scene, during the Military Junta time.
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