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The Greatest Gift (1942)

Passed  |   |  Short, Drama  |  5 September 1942 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 86 users  
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Medieval French legend tells of monks who devote the cold nights of winter to making gifts they offer to Our Lady when spring comes. On the night snowfall blocks the pass to Italy, the ... See full summary »

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Medieval French legend tells of monks who devote the cold nights of winter to making gifts they offer to Our Lady when spring comes. On the night snowfall blocks the pass to Italy, the monks find a nearly frozen juggler, Bartholomew, and take him in. Fr. Cyprian invites him to stay for the winter. He proves inept at most tasks, is embarrassed by their hospitality, and is too poor to pay. Plus, his vagabond life draws the suspicion of young Fr. Fabian. When spring arrives, Bartholomew is anxious to leave, but Fr. Cyprian asks him to stay while they offer their gifts to Our Lady. The juggler has nothing to give. Should he just slip away? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Plot Keywords:

winter | spring | gift | monk | juggler | See All (30) »

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Short | Drama

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Passed | See all certifications »
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5 September 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

MGM Miniatures (1941-1942) (#6): The Greatest Gift  »

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(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Version of Startime: The Young Juggler (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spiritual fable marred by some odd casting...
23 September 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

THE GREATEST GIFT is a simplistic fable about a juggler (EDMUND GWENN) who is on his way to earn money at an Italian fair when he falls ill and is taken in by some monks who nurse him back to health.

They are preparing for a festival honoring the Virgin Mary and each is making a suitable gift for an offering. Encouraged to stay until the fair is over, Gwenn is unable to think of anything he can offer except for his juggling apparatus. This idea is scornfully rejected by HANS CONREID and LUMSDEN HARE, so he uses another approach that seems to work a miracle.

Unfortunately, Edmund Gwenn seems a bit out of place as the juggler, donned in a page boy dark wig that only accentuates his inappropriate age. And Hans Conreid, as the skeptic, looks oddly out of place in the monastery setting when he's associated mainly with wild and wacky comedy roles.

But with these reservations aside, it's a watchable enough short subject that is heartwarming if a bit overly sentimental in its tale of Christian faith.


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