In 1963, before it was established as a popular tourist destination, the poor village of Elounda (Agios Nikolaos region, Crete) was chosen as a shooting location of the Walt Disney Productions movie The Moon-Spinners (1964). Subsequently, a large number of film technicians, laborers, actors, even Walt Disney himself, arrived in the area. The local inhabitants participated collectively in the film’s creation and contributed to Elounda’s metamorphosis into a film setting. Today, more than 50 years after its completion, in the region where it was shot, the film is not forgotten. Instead it is acknowledged as a landmark signaling the beginning of Agios Nikolaos’ transformation from a region facing intractable problems of indigence into a tourist resort that attracts thousands of travelers annually. Based on the concept of mobility and through research in various primary and secondary sources, this essay examines The Moon-Spinners from a variety of perspectives. Firstly,
it approaches the film as a “Runaway Production”, a product of Walt Disney Productions’ strategies and policies. Secondly, it examines the film’s production in relation to the Greek government’s legislative measures taken with the aim of attracting foreign film productions to the country, in a period characterized by intensifying efforts to establish tourism as a significant sector of the Greek economy. Thirdly, it looks into the impact the film’s production had on both the rural environment and the local economy. Finally, it investigates aspects of the film’s (Greek/Cretan) reception: from its condemnation on the grounds of defaming the Cretan people, to the enthusiastic welcome it received upon its return to the region where it was filmed. In conclusion, the movie ceases to be a mere product of a particular era and industry; it becomes a mirror of the needs and wishes of a community in transition.