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The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)

Approved | | Drama | 15 December 1944 (USA)
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A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a ... See full summary »

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screenplay), Nunnally Johnson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Father Francis Chisholm
Thomas Mitchell ... Willie Tulloch
Vincent Price ... Angus Mealey
Rose Stradner ... Rev. Mother Maria-Veronica (as Rosa Stradner)
Roddy McDowall ... Francis Chisholm - as a Boy
Edmund Gwenn ... Father Hamish MacNabb
Cedric Hardwicke ... Monsignor at Tweedside (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Peggy Ann Garner ... Nora - as a Girl
Jane Ball ... Nora - as an Adult
James Gleason ... Rev. Dr. Wilbur Fiske
Anne Revere ... Agnes Fiske
Ruth Nelson ... Mrs. Chisholm - Francis' Mother
Benson Fong ... Joseph
Leonard Strong ... Mr. Chia
Philip Ahn ... Mr. Pao - Envoy for Mr. Chia
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Storyline

A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a priest in a more Christian area of the world, Father Chisholm struggles. He encounters hostility, isolation, disease, poverty and a variety of set backs which humble him, but make him more determined than ever to succeed. Over the span of many years he gains acceptance and a growing congregation among the Chinese, through his quiet determination, understanding and patience. Written by E.W. DesMarais <Jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

15 December 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Las llaves del reino See more »

Filming Locations:

Laguna, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Hollywood columnist Erskine Johnson, Joseph Cotten tested for the role of the minister in The Keys of the Kingdom. He also referred to the project as David O Selznick's version although screen credits list no such connection (Newspaper Enterprise Association, "Erskine Johnson's Hollywood," The Sa Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino California, Sunday 1 February 1942, Volume 48, page 20.) See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Father Francis Chisholm (Gregory Peck) is leaving his mission in China after being ordered into retirement, the children are heard singing his favorite hymn as he steps from the car, but when the camera shows the children singing, it is obvious that they are mouthing something entirely different from what is being heard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title card: On a September evening in 1938, Father Francis Chisholm returned to his little church near Tweedside, Scotland.
Father Francis Chisholm: Good afternoon, Monsignor.
Monsignor: Good afternoon, Father.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Closer You Get (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A wonderful, moving film-- for religionists and atheists alike.
15 September 2008 | by morgancharlesSee all my reviews

Although in part this is about missionaries in China and therefore could turn off anyone appalled by either religion or proselytizing (including me), the movie transcends those issues and is one of the great black and white Hollywood films of all time.

Its greatness is carried by its variegated and compelling story, by the exquisite characterizations of its excellent actors, and by Gregory Peck's simple, powerful portrayal of a man who remains true to his character.

Well-written and well-directed, the film requires only a modest suspension of disbelief for one to become enthralled, excited, and moved by this cross-section of history concentrated on the personal life, from childhood on, of a man whose goodness and idiosyncratic talents never leave one with any sense of sanctimony or piousness. Indeed, this man's capacity for survival and warmth help illuminate much of the hypocrisy and pomposity around him.

There are grander, greater movies, of course, but this is a real find, and inspiring whether you are nine, nineteen, or ninety. Watch it alone, or with your family... give yourself to it and you will be rewarded.


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