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The Scarlet and the Black (1983)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 2 February 1983
Vatican efforts, lead by Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, to save Allied POWs and downed Allied airmen as the Nazis invade Rome.

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pope Pius XII (as Sir John Gielgud)
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Father Vittorio
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Capt. Hirsch (as Ken Colley)
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Gen. Max Helm
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Minna Kappler
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Angelo Infanti ...
Father Morosini
Olga Karlatos ...
Francesca Lombardo
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Reinhard Beck
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Count Langenthal
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Lt. Jack Manning
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Sir D'Arcy Osborne
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Storyline

Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty is a Vatican official in 1943-45 who has been hiding downed pilots, escaped prisoners of war, and Italian Resistance families. His diplomatic status in a Catholic country prevents Colonel Kappler from openly arresting him, but O'Flaherty's activities become so large that the Nazis decide to assassinate him the next time he leaves the Vatican. O'Flaherty continues his work in a variety of disguises. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

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Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

2 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vatican Pimpernel  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While serving his sentence in prison, Herbert Kappler divorced his first wife and married his nurse, Anneliese, in 1972. In 1975 he was diagnosed with cancer. As the authorities refused to release him, in 1977 Anneliese carried Kappler out of prison in a large suitcase (he weighed less than 105 pounds at the time). They escaped to West Germany where Kappler died six months later. See more »

Goofs

When Hugh O'Flaherty escapes from the Gestapo by disguising himself as a coal hauler, the SS officer who stops to question him wears rank insignia on the wrong side of the uniform collar. See more »

Quotes

Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty: Colonel, do I get the idea that you're tryin' to put a crimp in my social life?
Col. Herbert Kappler: Damn you and damn your social life, priest!
See more »

Connections

References Massacre in Rome (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Scarlett Pimpernel of the Vatican
31 July 2005 | by (Culver City, CA) – See all my reviews

Ever since I saw this made-for-TV film when it first aired, and then on video many times, I had wondered about the book on which it is based.

The book is entitled "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican," by J. P. Gallagher. It is the story of Irish Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty who was a minor Vatican official during World War II. Right under the noses of Vatican officials who looked the other way, and the German army, he helped smuggle allied soldiers out of Rome to safety in the months before the liberation of Rome. Rome and the Vatican were supposed to be neutral; if the Germans found out that the monsignor was helping the allies, who knows what would have happened.

I was able to find a copy of the book several years ago but have lost it. I do recall though that it had even more incredible stories about how O'Flaherty helped allied soldiers. One of the best (that is not in the movie) was about one American soldier whose appendix burst and he needed it removed. O'Flaherty dressed him as a German soldier, called the German army, they came and took him to their hospital - and O'Flaherty managed to get the soldier out before he even woke up because of the general confusion in the military hospital.

The Scarlett Pimpernel reference, is of course, to the British spy who helped save people from being beheaded during the French Revolution. That's another good book and the movie, with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour, are both excellent (though the movie changed the ending...).


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