Elia Kazan’s The Visitors, written by his eldest son, Chris Kazan, and shot in 16-mm, entirely in and around the Kazan country home in Newton, Conn., concerns the ordeal of Bill Schmidt (James Woods), an ex-G.I. who, with Martha (Patricia Joyce), the unwed mother of his baby, is threatened for 16 hours by two former buddies against whom the G.I. brought evidence of war crimes during their tour of duty in Vietnam. —Vincent Canby
Kazan was born Elias Kazancoglu in Istanbul to a Greek father from Kayseri, Turkey and a Greek mother from Istanbul, where her family were cotton merchants who imported cotton from Manchester, England, and sold it wholesale in Istanbul to various merchants, both Greek and Turkish, who took the goods out to the provinces. His family emigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York City, where his father, George Kazanjoglu, became a rug merchant. Kazan’s father expected that his son would go into the family business, but his mother, Athena (née Sismanoglou), encouraged Kazan to make his own decisions. His family name ‘Kazanjoglou’ (an alternate spelling is Kazantzoglou) is Turkish, meaning “The son of a cauldron maker”, where the root word ‘kazan’ means cauldron or boiler. It was and still is common to find people of Greek, Jewish, Assyrian, Armenian, and Kurdish lineage with Turkish family names or where the root words in the names are uniquely Turkish.
Kazan attended… read more
A cold, heartless, and cynical film that is one of the 1st fictional looks at the consequences of Vietnam (with plenty of Straw Dogs inspirations thrown in to boot). However the gritty simplistic direction, exposition-filled dialogue on the issues of war, football, and morality, and the unsatisfactory acting makes this a late career dud for Kazan.