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The Angel Wore Red (1960)

A clergyman leaves the priesthood over the church's indifferent position during the Spanish Civil War but finds himself attracted to a beautiful entertainer.



, (dialogue Italian version)


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Complete credited cast:
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The Spanish priest played by Dirk Bogarde is troubled by his church's lack of concern for the poor; he decides to leave the church. By chance, the same day the Republicans call on the people to attack the churches and the priests, so though in plainclothes he is liable to arrest and execution. A beautiful cabaret singer (Ava Gardner) hides him for awhile but both are eventually made prisoner. The plot revolves around a relic taken from his erstwhile church by another priest that all sides are convinced would assure them victory... Written by bigOther

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SCARLET LIPS, SCARLET DRESS - A woman who might belong to any man! See more »


Action | Drama | War | Romance


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Release Date:

14 April 1960 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Fair Bride  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although it had a press showing in London, this film was such a huge financial disaster that it never got a cinema release in the UK. See more »


In this film set in Spain there are several instances of English written by characters who are not likely to know English, unlike the American war correspondent Hawthorne. See more »


Gen. Clave: It's a dirty trick, sticking civilians into the trenches. But, that seems to be the whole art of winning wars these days: successful dirty tricks!
See more »

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User Reviews

Doesn't hang together
24 August 2008 | by See all my reviews

"The Angel Wore Red" is a 1960 film that takes on the subject of the Spanish Civil War. It stars Dirk Bogarde, Ava Gardner, Joseph Cotten, Vittorio de Sica, and Finlay Currie. The Spanish Civil War is not an easy subject and unfortunately, the film only partially succeeds with Nunnally Johnson's script and under his direction.

A priest, Arturo Carrera (Dirk Bogarde) gives up the priesthood just as the war is starting and finds himself on the run from the Spanish Republicans, who accused the priests of indoctrinating their followers against them. Arturo slips into a cabaret in order to hide and meets Soledad (Gardner), an entertainer. Eventually, he falls for her, and both of them wind up being arrested. Meanwhile, both sides are searching for a sacred relic that is believed to have miraculous powers - it is said to have helped defeat Napoleon. The Bishop entrusted it to someone before the cathedral was destroyed. Each side wants it for its own reasons.

This is a very dark film - darkly photographed, and the sound is strange. I am glad someone else mentioned that it seemed as if it was dubbed. I could easily believe it was in Italian originally and dubbed in English, though that wasn't the case. The acting is excellent. Movie priests always look so darn good - Bogarde makes a handsome, romantic and gentle priest and gives a dynamic performance as a man who hasn't lost his faith in God, only in the church as a way to serve man. Ava Gardner is well cast. Some comments state she was "past it" etc. - though she looks older than Bogarde, which really doesn't make any difference, she also looks appropriate for the role she plays - Spanish, someone who's been around the block more than once, likes the nightlife and is not wealthy. She is not particularly well photographed, and in spots where she is, it's obvious that her beauty hasn't faded. All anyone has to do is see her in 1964's "Night of the Iguana" to realize what great beauty she still had. Vittoria di Sica plays General Clave; it's an odd performance, which is fitting because the man he plays is odd. Joseph Cotten to me is completely wasted as a news journalist in this movie and seems just inserted into the film. He's excellent, but the performance comes from nowhere.

In the end, "The Angel Wore Red" doesn't give us much understanding of the conflict, and the viewer feels almost as if he or she is entering in the middle of something. We're actually entering in the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, but nothing leads us up to it. Props to Johnson, however, for taking on such a weighty subject.

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