Francis Bernardone (Bradford Dillman) is the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, who gives up all his worldly goods to dedicate himself to God. Clare (Dolores Hart) is a young ...
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The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their ... See full summary »
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Francis Bernardone (Bradford Dillman) is the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, who gives up all his worldly goods to dedicate himself to God. Clare (Dolores Hart) is a young aristocratic woman who, according to the film, is so taken with St. Francis that she leaves her family and becomes a nun. By this time (1212 A.D.), St. Francis has a well-established reputation for his vows of poverty. The movie goes on to note miracles (such as the appearance of the stigmata on Francis's hands and feet) and other aspects of his life, up to and including his death on October 3, 1226. Written by
Average Shot Length = ~10.6 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~10.3 seconds. See more »
Several times in the movie, you can see the Basilica of Saint Francis in the background. It wasn't built before 1230, four year after Saint Francis' death. See more »
[Right before the closing title card] Pax et Bonum ("peace and all good [be with you]"). This Latin phrase is the traditional greeting and goodbye of the Franciscans, and it was established by Francis himself. See more »
1961's Francis of Assisi is more a colouring book than a movie, a horribly miscast, painfully bland and often extremely badly written trudge through the saint's life that goes out of its way not to offend anyone but simply bores instead. The locations may be Italian but the aesthetic is pure Hollywood, and Hollywood at its least convincing: Francis' and his followers' march to Rome is filmed like something out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as they hum along to Mario Nascimbene's score and Bradford Dillman charms the birds out of the trees. You almost expect to hear them sing Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Rome We Go. Dillman gives a superficial but inoffensive performance as Francis (inoffensive being the watchword here), often looking like Charlton Heston's undernourished younger brother, Stuart Whitman struggles and loses in almost every scene as Francis' brash aristocratic war-loving friend while Dolores Hart is no more convincing as Clare, which is particularly strange considering that in real life the actress went on to become a nun herself. Cecil Kelloway and Finlay Currie bring some old school professionalism to their small roles, but not enough to give the film much in the way of colour, while Pedro Armendariz's casting as the Sultan inadvertently only highlights how weak the material he has to work with really is. Francis' failed mission to the Holy Land and the breakup of his order are covered in passing, but even they fail to bring any drama to the proceedings, while director Michael Curtiz brings nothing to the party, his old panache presumably having run off with Errol Flynn. It's a rare epic that leaves me with little to say in its favour, but this is certainly one.
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