Stathis Giallelis appears in nearly every scene of the 174-minute film and gives what some critics described at the time as a "towering performance".
14 Facts About Stathis Giallelis
Stathis Giallelis has not faced a camera since 1980 and his biographical details remain sketchy.
The medium-height, slightly built Giallelis was twenty-one years old in mid-1962, upon Elia Kazan's arrival in Greece to meet the future star of his long-planned cinematic representation of his uncle's life in 1890s Anatolia and the eventual fulfillment of his determined dream of immigrating to the United States.
Unfortunately, Stathis Giallelis was severely limited in both acting experience and knowledge of English.
Stathis Giallelis compared Giallelis' performance to that of the protagonist in Vittorio De Sica's 1949 neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief.
Stathis Giallelis perfected his English-language skills as he spent nearly 18 months preparing for and filming his role, and the result was evident in the critical notices.
The New York Times' Bosley Crowther, in his December 16,1963 review of the film, noted that "Greek lad Stathis Giallelis is incredibly good as the determined hero, putting fire and spirit into the role".
Stathis Giallelis was nominated for "Best Actor in a Drama", but lost to Sidney Poitier in his Oscar-winning Lilies of the Field role.
Two more years would pass before Stathis Giallelis was seen in another film.
Now able to return to his homeland, Stathis Giallelis appeared in esteemed Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris' Nineteen Eighty-Four-like allegory Happy Day, playing one of the leads in the story about imprisonment and repression in an unspecified European-style society.
Stathis Giallelis received yet another fifth billing, following two veteran Mexican actresses, Dolores del Rio and Katy Jurado, as well as Venezuelan Lupita Ferrer who, at the time, was married to Hall Bartlett.
Two additional years elapsed before Stathis Giallelis made one more passage in front of the cameras.
Stathis Giallelis writes that the young actor should have devoted more time to losing his accent so he would not be cast exclusively in ethnic roles and his speech pattern could be better understood by American audiences.
However, Kazan's biographer, film critic and historian Richard Schickel disagrees, stating that Stathis Giallelis' speaking mannerisms in America America are clear and distinct.