A Nice Suprise
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
This is one of the lesser known popularized films on the Spanish Civil War. Released in 1964, its strong anti-clerical politics, subtle anarchist militancy, and republican sympathies made it less than desirable for established cinema of the time. The main characters, Gregory Peck, who plays an exiled anarchist militant in France (based on Francesc Sabaté Llopart), and Omar Sharif, a Spanish priest, deliver excellent performances; although the viewer may be disappointed that all Spanish and Francophone dialects are spoken in English with only Spanish and French accents on the English dialogue (Peck's character doesn't even have an accent on his English). The cinematography is shot in a beautiful black and white reminding one of the Spanish Civil War photography of Robert Capa. Memorable quotes come from the mother of Pecks character who, being blessed by a priest on her death bed, interrupts saying “God bless the rifles of the fire squad.” This clearly disturbs the priest… There is also nice character development which unfolds in dialogue between Sharif’s priest and Pecks Anarchist. This film is not to be factual or documentary based in its content, but rather is a one more in the very few dramatized films on the civil war, and it’s date, actors, and quality make it a must see classic.