John Flaherty is a young and ambitious American priest who arrives in the Papal sovereign city state of the Vatican in 1944 to take his holy orders as a Catholic priest. After distinguishing himself in combat in the World War II battlefields of northern Italy, he's assigned as the Vatican treasurer. With the Vatican strapped for money during the war, Flaherty soon makes illegal business deals with a corrupt U.S. Army sergeant named Varese, who deals goods on the local black market, which is connected to a ruthless Sicilian mobster named Don Appolini. Appolini agrees to fund Flaherty's operation for profit through his Swiss bank connections. Flaherty's mentor, Cardinal Santoni, the secretary to the elderly but powerful Pope, learns of Flaherty's business deals, but covers for Flaherty in order for them to rise in the ranks of the church against Santoni's rival, Cardinal Vinci. But Flaherty's double life as a black marketeer and priest takes a turn when he falls in love with a young ... Written by
Apparently, producer Frank Yablans's didn't read Jack-Alain Léger's 'Monsignor' source novel before he decided to make this movie, Yablans allegedly "fell in love with the concept" and decided to make the film purely on the basis of an English synopsis of the French book. See more »
At Fr. Flaherty's ordination, the presiding bishop speaks of "several of the young priests we have today ordained" enlisting as military chaplains. The shot then shows him and his fellow ordinands listening to the bishop's address, but all of them are wearing wearing their stoles over their left shoulders. This is the style appropriate to deacons; if they had been ordained, their stoles should be hanging around their necks. See more »
Someone on a game show once named this as his favorite bad movie, citing that hilarious scene in the church when Genevieve Bujold, playing a tramp postulant, realizes that her boyfriend is a priest.
There's nothing good to be said about this film except that it has glorious scenery. It's sad today to see Christopher Reeve healthy and walking - and wasting what little time he was going to have in rotgut like this. As someone raised in the Catholic church, I loved hearing the Latin again. Also with the recent scandals in the church that have come to light, I don't really put much past the Catholic church or the high mucky-mucks. But this movie is really ridiculous.
The performances were okay, given what these poor people had to deal with. The Genevieve Bujold character is a riot; the role is a career-killer. I mean, bare breasts exposed, the woman is asking the Reeve character, "Do you think I'll make a good nun?" The Christopher Reeve character - that of a mafioso priest - is preposterous. I used to love Jason Miller. Not in this. I'm old enough to remember the old pope - were they kidding with that characterization of him?
Alas, today, you really wouldn't watch this with friends for a few laughs (as one of the older posts suggests) because it's just too awful to see young, handsome Christopher Reeve. So probably the best thing some higher-up can do is take this baby out of circulation. If I'm going to watch Christopher Reeve, I'll watch him fly and remember him when he was just starting out, vital, handsome, with it all in front of him.
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