Father Arturo Carrera (Sir Dirk Bogarde) leaves the priesthood over the church's indifferent position during the Spanish Civil War, but finds himself attracted to beautiful entertainer Soledad (Ava Gardner).
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Spanish Priest Arturo Carrera (Sir Dirk Bogarde) is troubled by his church's lack of concern for the poor. He decides to leave the church. By chance, the same day the Republicans call on the people to attack the churches and the Priests, so though in plainclothes, he is liable to arrest and execution. Beautiful cabaret singer Soledad (Ava Gardner) hides him for awhile, but both are eventually made prisoner. The plot revolves around a relic taken from his erstwhile church by another Priest that all sides are convinced would assure them victory.Written by
Although it had a press showing in London, this movie was such a huge financial disaster that it never got a release in the UK. See more »
When the prisoners are being marched for several days to be presented to the fascists, the group contains of a substantial number of women. At least two women are shown confessing to Arturo. But when the fascists capture the group, Arturo tells the commander that the group consists of 200 men who should not be killed, no mention of women. When Arturo enters the church to tell the prisoners they are to be executed, the group is all men. The women have vanished. See more »
It's a dirty trick, sticking civilians into the trenches. But, that seems to be the whole art of winning wars these days: successful dirty tricks!
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A flawed masterpiece
Though far from perfect, I could watch this movie again, and perhaps even more than that. It's a fascinating movie, for one thing, pairing two of the most beautiful people who ever lived, in a story with real depth, or at least the promise of real depth, which says a lot in a world where 99 movies out of 100 don't even try. Imagine, complaining that at 37, Ava Gardner was "past her prime." It is wonderful to see Bogarde, whose roles usually had him sneering worldly-wise ironies, showing heartfelt passion for the good and the true. It is equally wonderful to see Gardner in a role far more suited for her than the calculating charmer or the tormented playgirl. She never seemed to be really trying until this one, where perhaps the part touched something deep in her. Their chemistry was superlative, their love scene one of the greats of all time, in my view.
That this portrayal of a love that goes beyond time and place occurs in the context of one of the most astonishingly wicked and absurd wars of all time is another sublimity that seems to have whizzed right by all but one of the previous reviewers. Hemingway showed only that Robert Jordan thought the war was absurd, he didn't show its absurdity, which director Nunnally Johnson managed to do here in both direction and dialog, and against great odds. Like another of my favorites, Viva Zapata, this movie is a flawed masterpiece, better by far than 100 polished banalities. Blame its flaws on the trials of filming in 1960 (still stuck in the 50s), on sloppy editing, on the meaningless title, and the inevitable hurdles that writers and directors have to overcome in the complicated and difficult art of film-making, truly daunting in the case of this film. (Imagine attempting to film a love story between a priest and a prostitute in 50s Sicily?!) Don't blame the the actors, the director, or the beautiful and poignant story.
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