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At the beginning of the movie, William Spence (Fredric March) announces he has been "called" to the church and will become a pastor in the Methodist Church. His soon-to-be mother-in-law, Mrs. Norris (Nana Bryant)), replies that she would have preferred that he'd joined the Episcopal Church. At that time, in Canada, the dominant church was the Church of England, not the Episcopal Church. That is predominantly a US institution born out of the American Revolution. See more »
[upon his new found enlightenment about motion pictures]
He who speaks to only one generation is already dead. And he who listens to only one generation is deaf.
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Being a preacher's kid is never easy. I was one, and so was my wife. This movie portrays in dramatic ways the humanity and humour of being a preacher's family living essentially on hand outs and never quite having the perfect home for the kids. I can relate to Hartzel, the eldest son. Like him I wished my Dad could have been anything else but a preacher. Like Hartzel I found out in many situations just how much Dad would go through for us.
This movie is nostalgic in many ways. It hearkens back to a time when values like vision, and sacrifice were highly esteemed, and were going the extra mile was not an option but an expected way of life. Sometimes, when I look back, I rewind this video and watch it.
It is a human story, wrapped up in the faith of a man and his family, who laid hold of a dream to make God real in every facet of life, and to show people that God cares about all of us. It is a story of trial and adversity and perseverance and triumph. In the end it is not the glory and accolades of man that matter, but of having lived a life well lived and full to brim.
The cast of this film is perfect and very believable. Some of the characters I have known personally in different churches my father pastored. It is as if they are in every congregation. The issues of never owning a home or being able to decorate as you please, or not having enough groceries, and even the leaky roof over our heads, all resonate. I have lived through them myself. These things really happened to the circuit preachers and those who went and started new churches. These things still happen.
It is a good script, and is not in conflict with the book. The book is well worth the read as well. I have both the movie and the book. It sits amongst my most prized possessions.
You will find yourself laughing, you will shake your head in disbelief, you will get ticked off, but in the end you will find yourself appreciating and loving this very human family that attempts to keep loving and keep living out what they believe, to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself.
This movie will reveal just how much and how full a life can be, and how meaningful it is to serve others. Gayle Sayers the Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears said, "God first, others second, myself third." This is exactly what this movie is about. Getting the priorities right and living life to the full.
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