At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes was a not very successful writer/director when he and movie producer Kirk Edwards ... See full summary »
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
A man in priestly robes, seemingly the long-awaited Father O'Shea, arrives at a little-frequented Catholic mission in 1947 China. Though the man seems curiously uncomfortable with his priestly duties, his tough tactics prove very successful in the Seven Villages, as around them China disintegrates in civil war and revolution. But he has a secret, and his friendship with mission nurse Anne (an attractive war widow) seems to be taking on an unpriestly tone...Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
This film unites Victor Sen Yung with Benson Fong. They played number two son Jimmy Chan and number three son Tommy Chan in the long running Charlie Chan film franchise. Interestingly, they never appeared together in any of the Chan films, and later in the series for some unknown reason, the producers changed Sen Young's character's name to Tommy Chan. See more »
At the very beginning, when Father O'Shea approaches the mission, he is supposedly riding through a thunderstorm. But the sun is brightly shining all through the scene, revealing that the "rain" is contrived by crew members, and the "thunder" is added by Foley artists. See more »
Females are simple biological structures, their bodies pay very little attention to their minds.
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Humphrey Bogart on a most unvoluntary mission as a Catholic priest
This is better than Edward Dmytryk's other Chinese film of the same year from Hongkong, "Soldier of Fortune". Here is another soldier of fortune but of an opposite kind. Humphrey Bogart as a Catholic priest lands in a village somewhere between Sinkiang and Tibet among the mountains, where there is a bandit gang threatening the villages under the chieftain Lee J. Cobb, the perfect crook in all his films. It seems that Cobb and Humphrey have met before, and the best scenes are between these two men, very opposite but matching each other perfectly.
Gene Tierney is the nurse in the village who has the misfortune of falling in love with her priest, while E.G.Marshall makes one of his best performances as the village doctor, married to the equally stalwart Agnes Moorehead, the greatest realist in the film. The villagers also play an important part, the school children, the patients, the local whore-house, the elder of the village - like in "Soldier of Fortune" the ethnic panorama here is of major interest.
The backbone of the film though is the fantastic story. Humphrey plays one of his most complex and intriguing characters and does it more than well in perhaps his last real film and one of his very few in colour. The village is not only threatened by bandits and the civil war of China, (this is 1947), but also by the impending possibility that the mission has to be abandoned. E.G.Marshall and Bogart have many arguments about this. and they are never agreed.
The conclusion is inevitable, and although it's not a happy end it is in a way most satisfactory. It was after all the best of all possible endings.
It's a beautiful film and one of Dmytryk's best. You recognize some of the arguments from "The End of the Affair" where God also played some part, but here he does not intrude, although he is used, but it is rather more common and rational sense that has the last word here than any theology, which actually is better done without.
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