Fascinating account of the founding of the first Christian monastic order...
Opening with the unfortunate destruction of the ancient monastery of Montecassino on Mt. Subiaco during World War II, the film then proceeds to depict how it was founded by the great St. Benedict. During the troubled times when the Roman Empire was breaking up and being overrun by barbarians, famine, and plague, Benedict leaves his privileged patrician heritage because of his Christian conscience. He dedicates his entire life to teaching the Christian disciplines, becoming a Saint in the process and performing several miracles for the greater glory of God. One might expect a rather static, slow-paced film with this subject, but this film moves at a brisk pace with a good deal of action sequences which keep up a lively interest for viewers. Fosco Giachietti plays the title role with gravity, dignity and authority, portraying the humility and dedication of the saint. Alfredo Varelli is a standout as the macho young Marco, a warlike mountain shepherd who becomes Benedict's first adherent and most loyal supporter. Altogether a fascinating account of the founding of the first Christian monastic order, very effective even in the English dubbed version.
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