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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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
In the film, Dolores Hart plays an aristocratic woman who becomes a nun. In reality, Hart left Hollywood to become a nun in 1963. 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 »
This film becomes interesting towards the end when Francis goes to Egypt to meet the sultan, and while he is away his order is completely adjusted to worldly demands. None of the other St. Francis films have dared to bring up this problem. Francis is depicted as the incorrigible idealist who is betrayed by the necessity of pragmatism and political realists.
Stuart Whitman is perfect as always, he is always an interesting ornament to any film he acts in, while Bradford Dillman makes more of a type than a character. Old Finlay Currie is excellent as the pope, and so is Dolores Hart as Sister Clare, but none of these can match any of the Italian actors in the Italian films, since this film completely misses the Italian mentality and is all Hollywood. This was Michael Curtiz' last film but one, (his last became "Comancheros", better although more muddled,) and his professionalism gives standard polish to the whole film, but it hardly becomes more than a filmed legend, like glossy sugared saintly illustrations spiced with typical Hollywood sentimentality on top of it. Sorry, the true St. Francis is nowhere to be found in this film.
The only convincing character of some Franciscan credibility is brother Juniper played by Mervyn Johns. He has understood something of the Franciscan mentality, while all the rest is Hollywood, not at its worst but definitely at its most conventional.
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