A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a ...
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A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a priest in a more Christian area of the world, Father Chisholm struggles. He encounters hostility, isolation, disease, poverty and a variety of set backs which humble him, but make him more determined than ever to succeed. Over the span of many years he gains acceptance and a growing congregation among the Chinese, through his quiet determination, understanding and patience. Written by
E.W. DesMarais <Jlongst@aol.com>
Fox considered Dean Jagger, Franchot Tone, Gene Kelly and Alan Ladd before settling on Gregory Peck for his breakthrough role. See more »
In the scene where Father Francis Chisholm (Gregory Peck) is leaving his mission in China after being ordered into retirement, the children are heard singing his favorite hymn as he steps from the car, but when the camera shows the children singing, it is obvious that they are mouthing something entirely different from what is being heard. See more »
On a September evening in 1938, Father Francis Chisholm returned to his little church near Tweedside, Scotland.
Father Francis Chisholm:
Good afternoon, Monsignor.
Good afternoon, Father.
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What a wonderful story of a man, despite much adversity, contributes himself to the Chinese community he loves so much. It is amazing how Peck makes it so effortless (even in his only second film)in portraying a young man to one in his twilight years. He personifies morality and quiet integrity in this film, reminiscent to the role that he would play nearly twenty years later in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
The supporting cast which performs more than ably is led by Cedric Hardwicke playing a monsignor who was initially critical of the Peck character but emerges having respect for him after reading his memoirs (which form the narration for the film. Others include Thomas Mitchell as the irreverent self-proclaimed atheist who does much to provide the witty humour for the film, Edmund Gwenn as Peck's plucky mentor at the seminary who uses the term "ecclesiastical mechanic" to describe priests who are inflexible and bureaucratic, and Rose Stradner as the Mother Superior who falls in love with Peck (you only get a hint of this).
One of the highlights is the film's efforts in portraying the Chinese in a sensitive manner in terms of the customs shown and dialects used. This is very unlike films of its era which tended to portray Asians in a more stereotypical fashion.
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