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The Reluctant Saint (1962)

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Joseph of Cupertino, a simple young man thought by many in his village to be an idiot, is pressured to enter a monastery. He does so, and surprises everyone by passing the entrance exam to ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Don Raspi
Lea Padovani ...
Harold Goldblatt ...
Father Giovanni
Carlo Croccolo ...
Giulio Bosetti ...
Brother Orlando
Elisa Cegani ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tonio Selwart


Joseph of Cupertino, a simple young man thought by many in his village to be an idiot, is pressured to enter a monastery. He does so, and surprises everyone by passing the entrance exam to study for the priesthood. But this is only the first of many surprises from the man who would become Saint Joseph Cupertino. Written by Dan Navarro <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

2 November 1962 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Ein sonderbarer Heiliger  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
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Did You Know?


Bishop: It always troubled me, the Trinity. You know, Giuseppe, I could never really understand it. Does it trouble you?
Bishop: No. There are three persons in one God. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Three in one.
Bishop: Yes, but that's for a child. But a small comfort to a Bishop. You see, I'm a peasant, Giuseppe, just like you. A practical man, so I understand only what I feel, and what I see.
Giuseppe: Look, look. One blanket and one, two, three folds. Three folds in one blanket - three persons in one God, like the Trinity.
See more »

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User Reviews

A mentally challenged boy aspires to join the ranks of scholarly priests of the Tridentine period.
8 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When it became the official state religion of the Roman Empire and Byzantium, the priests of the Catholic Church became renowned for being scholarly and erudite. With formal schooling in seminaries required of candidates for ordination, only the most intelligent male students were likely to become priests. Somewhere along the way, the Church's hierarchy seemed to have forgotten that the Apostles were neither very bright nor well schooled. They were simple fishermen, farmers and petty bureaucrats (such as a tax collector).

So how can a mentally challenged young man who felt called to the religious life become a priest during the church's Tridentine period when its priestly hierarchy was dominated by Scholastics? Therein lies the tension and fun of this film.

Guiseppe Desa (I bet you didn't know his real family name) of the town of Cupertino finds favor with God because of his simple but intense devotion. Against all odds and opposition he becomes a priest. And against the vociferous objections of the character of Ricardo Montalban who chose to act as Devil's Advocate, the miracles attributed to the intercession of Fr. Guiseppe are acknowledged.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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