7.6/10
2,842
39 user 7 critic

The Scarlet and the Black (1983)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 2 February 1983
Vatican efforts, led by Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, to save Allied P.O.W.s and downed Allied airmen as the Nazis invade Rome.

Director:

Jerry London

Writers:

J.P. Gallagher (book), David Butler
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty
Christopher Plummer ... Col. Herbert Kappler
John Gielgud ... Pope Pius XII (as Sir John Gielgud)
Raf Vallone ... Father Vittorio
Kenneth Colley ... Capt. Hirsch (as Ken Colley)
Walter Gotell ... Gen. Max Helm
Barbara Bouchet ... Minna Kappler
Julian Holloway ... Alfred West
Angelo Infanti Angelo Infanti ... Father Morosini
Olga Karlatos Olga Karlatos ... Francesca Lombardo
Michael Byrne ... Reinhard Beck
T.P. McKenna ... Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Count Langenthal
John Terry ... Lt. Jack Manning
Peter Burton ... Sir D'Arcy Osborne
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Storyline

Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty is a Vatican official in 1943-45 who has been hiding downed pilots, escaped prisoners of war, and Italian Resistance families. His diplomatic status in a Catholic country prevents Colonel Kappler from openly arresting him, but O'Flaherty's activities become so large that the Nazis decide to assassinate him the next time he leaves the Vatican. O'Flaherty continues his work in a variety of disguises. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gregory Peck stars as the man who led thousands in a daring escape to freedom - right under the nose of the Gestapo.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title, "The Scarlet and the Black", is a variation on the source book title on which it is based: "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican". Apparently, this movie is also known as "The Vatican Pimpernel". See more »

Goofs

Kappler demands the Jewish community provide 100 pounds of gold. Germany had used the metric system since 1872 and the Italian states adopted metric in the 1860s. Neither used pounds before metric. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Harry Barnett: The simpler a code name, the easier it is to remember and hopefully, the harder for the enemy to break. Now Francesca, you'll be Malta, the Monsignor will be Golf, Father Vittorio will be Vicky, Mr. West - Jeeves, Count Langenthal - Edelweiss, Simon - Doc, and Morosini - Boots. I'll be Tommy and Lt. Manning will be Joe.
Mother Superior: And what is my good name?
Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty: We thought we'd call you Big Mama.
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Alternate Versions

An edited version of approximately 110 minutes (120 minutes when broadcast with adverts) is sometimes shown on TV in the UK. See more »

Connections

References Massacre in Rome (1973) See more »

User Reviews

 
Another Meddlesome Priest
31 March 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Remember Henry II's oblique wish about his former friend Thomas Becket which got carried out? Christopher Plummer tried more explicit methods to get rid of his meddlesome priest all without success.

Although Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, an Irish national attached to the Vatican staff, was providing aid to refugees of all kinds from the Nazis before, this film covers a period between September of 1943 and June 5, 1944 when Mark Clark and the Fifth American Army liberated Rome.

Gregory Peck plays the resourceful monsignor who's got a whole bag of tricks from the land of leprechauns to outwit the Nazis. He develops quite a network of people who house escaped prisoners. When Italy threw out Mussolini and switched sides in World War II, a whole lot of Allied prisoners were freed and roaming the countryside. You might remember the novel and film Von Ryan's Express which detailed that phenomenon. The word got out if you could make your way to the Vatican, Monsignor O'Flaherty could help.

What I like about The Scarlet and the Black is the fact that Peck's chief antagonist Christopher Plummer is shown as a three dimensional character. We see him as the ruthless Nazi who dogs Peck and his operation every step of the way. We also see him as father and husband who's enjoying Christmas in Rome with his family and also acting like any other tourist taking the family to see the sights of the Eternal City.

Peck and Plummer are a pair of well matched antagonists. Presiding over it all is John Gielgud as Pius XII. The criticisms I have of Pius occur before he reached the Papacy in 1939. At the point in time that The Scarlet and Black is taking place, there was very little he or anyone else as Pope could have done. He feared, probably with good reason, an Avignon captivity situation for the Papacy if he appeared to be overtly pro-Ally. And of course the Soviet Union which was his big fear was an Ally.

I would recommend watching this film about a good man who happened to be a priest who stepped up to the plate when no one would and fulfilled a great need. A whole lot of lives were saved because of him.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Italy

Language:

English | German | Italian

Release Date:

2 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vatican Pimpernel See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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