27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
, 10 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Francis Of Assisi  [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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