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Biography of Martin Luther, the 16th-century priest who led the Christian Reformation and opened up new possibilities in exploration of faith. The film begins with his vow to become a monk, and continues through his struggles to reconcile his desire for sanctification with his increasing abhorrence of the corruption and hypocrisy pervading the Church's hierarchy. He is ultimately charged with heresy and must confront the ruling cardinals and princes, urging them to make the Scriptures available to the common believer and lead the Church toward faith through justice and righteousness. Written by
During the Indulgence scene with Johann Tetzel, the camera cuts to a close up of the hand above the torch, where one can see the heat resistant gel on the (presumably the stunt double's) hand in the flame. It is most visible on the thumb. See more »
Do not bite the hand that feeds you, Martin. Our prince pays for your chair in this university. His relics pay for your chair.
And he who pays the piper calls the tune.
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Wow, here's an oddity: a modern-day film faithful to theological history, an uncompromising biography of Martin Luther.
Knowing the film world, I doubt this film was made to glorify God. It probably was made more to make the Roman Catholic church look bad, or to glorify a rebel and a man of the people: "the peoples' liberation" as the back cover of the DVD states.
Whatever the motive, it stays true to history and it's nice to see that for a change. To those unfamiliar with Luther, he was the founder of the Protestant denomination. Luther was monk who saw and heard things he thought were unscriptural and broke off from the Catholic Church in "protest." Hence, the "Protestant" church was formed.
Anyway, not only was the story done well, so was the cinematography. This is one gorgeous movie to ogle, well-filmed with high production values. The scenery, sets and costumes are all first-rate.
Joseph Fiennes (Luther) is a bit wimpy-looking but his character certainly isn't. As the subject of indulgences and other practices begin to transform Luther's ideas of what Jesus' church should be, the story grows in intensity as Luther gets pressured by the Catholic hierarchy as his protest issues become public.
What happens to him and to the masses because of his actions are revealed in pretty dramatic form. Obviously the story is far more complex than two hours can give it but the filmmakers did a pretty good job condensing it to make the time constriction.
Notes: This was Peter Ustinov's last movie. On the DVD, being that is was a fairly expensive one, I am surprised there were no "extras." In all, however, a solid film but it will definitely offend Roman Catholics.
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