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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 10 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Francis Of Assisi [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
This movie was filmed mainly on location in Assisi with Bradford Dillman in the staring role of Francis of Assisi and Dolores Hart, who would leave a promising film career to become a consecrated member of the Benedictine Order, who played Sister Claire(Clara & Clare are other spellings). Though with none of the modern cinematography of later films this one stands out for its encompassing of the entire life of Saint Francis of Assisi with no added commentary or interpretation on what Saint Francis may have been thinking.

Mr. Dillman plays Francis as the pious humble man we have come to learn the Saint was and the now Mother Dolores delivered a marvelous interpretation of the ever loving gentle Saint Claire dedicated to God. Despite the Hollywood influence on this movie it still happens to be truly inspirational.

The film also shows in the background in unspectacular low budget Hollywood fashion the ugliness of war and though not all historically accurate it is the closes biography on film I have seen. The film depicts the Saracens that Francis meets as noble and fair-minded but the crusaders as debauched drunkards. While in fact the Saracens, where cruel men who made sure that no Christian would be able to travel in safety or could escape being killed. But they took Francis and his men prisoners, they were beaten and bound and then led before the Sultan. The movie just shows Francis being taken as prisoner and presented to the Sultan.

The movie does show the good reception that was given Francis once his faith and devotion was shown, but it fails to show how later the Sultan Malik-al-Kamil generously granted permission to him and to his companions to go anywhere and freely preach wherever they wished in all his empire. And on his death bed the Sultan converted to the Catholic Faith.

Within the aforementioned backdrop of the crusades and warfare we are shown the the difference between human and divine love shown by Francis and his friend the crusading knight played by Stuart Whitman. And with all the temptations from the outside world and the betrayal of some from within the order Francis founded he stays true to the calling of God that he answered for the rest of life. This is a wonderful introduction to life of Saint Francis despite the script and direction.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Apr 2011, 00:27:33 BST
Bedinog says:
May I first make it clear that I do not belong to politically correct lobby. In recent years, particularly as the voice of radical Islam has made its voice heard and we hear so much about the big, bad Crusades, it is time we acknowledged one or two things. The first is that within a short time of the Prophet's death, militant Arabs had conquered with fire and sword most of the Middle East, including Palestine, and within a hundred years were knocking at the doors of what is now France. The see-sawing of attack and counter attack over centuries happened for a variety of reasons, few of them honourable, and with relatively few concessions to mercy. It is in that context Francis found hmself in Damietta, facing the Sultan, who by most accounts seemed to be, by the standards of the day, a reasonable type.
I would be interested to know the independent historical sources you have for the Sultan's deathbed conversion as the the realtively brief reseach I've done doesn't mention this at all.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2011, 00:55:47 BST
Last edited by the author on 15 Jun 2011, 00:57:16 BST
M. A. Ramos says:
There is a question as to whether the Sultan had a deathbed conversion to the faith as a result of his encounter with Francis. One historian wrote that: Sultan Malik-al-Kamil before dismissing the friar, privately asked him to pray that God would reveal to me the law and the faith that is more pleasing to Him. Illuminato remarked that the Sultan, after hearing Francis fervently preach the Gospel, always had the Christian faith imprinted on his heart."


According to the Little Flowers of St Francis which is a widely read historical account of the first friars lives, Francis prophesied that the Sultan would have a deathbed conversion. After Francis' death he appeared to two friars and instructed them to find the Sultan and teach him the faith. It is also reported in the Little Flowers that the Sultan instructed his sentinels to watch for two friars in the ports. When the friars were found the Sultan received them with great joy. "The friars after instructing al-Kamil in the faith, administered the Sacrament of Baptism to the dying Sultan and 'his soul was saved through the merits of St Francis'". - From the the Fioretti di Santo Francesco d' Ascesi, the princeps edition of the Fioretti (Vicenza, 1476), by Brother Ugolino

Note: Recent historians have found references to the meeting of Francis and Al Kamil in Islamic records of the time. I have not been able to access these and would love to read what is written in these documents.
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