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MyFavoriteFilms

Films about religion or religious experiences

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TCM aired THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA this past weekend, and it got me thinking about other miracle-type films.

 

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Tonight I am watching BRIGHAM YOUNG which Netflix mailed to my home today. There are some great bonus features on the disc that I've already previewed...and I before watching the movie, I read some of the user comments on Netflix.

 

This one was particularly noteworthy, written by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about the historical accuracy of the Fox motion picture:

 

It appears that no one writing a review is actually a Mormon so let me clear somethings up. This film is typical of Hollywood film making at the time. In others words taking a historical event and changes the facts to fit the screen play. First Brigham Young took two years of investigating the church before he ever joined. Joseph Smith never had a trail before he was killed in Carthage Jail and Brigham was actuality back east at the time campaigning for Joseph for President. After Joseph was killed the Apostles (including Brigham) gathered together in Nauvoo and spoke to the Saints. When Brigham got up to speak his countenances changed to that of Joseph Smith in looks and voice and everyone there saw it. That happened outside in broad day light. That was a sign to everybody that Brigham had been chosen by the God to be the next prophet. Something Hollywood left completely out. In stead they played this whole story that Brigham was having doubts of his call. Anyone who has study Mormon history knows that this was not so. Further more while on the trek west the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was reorganized with Brigham Young as President. The film also neglected to talk about the Book Of Mormon. As any Mormon will tell you the Book Of Mormon and the Holy Spirit convert people not good speakers. On another note any one who doubts that people were that intolerant of Mormons in the early days of the Church needs to check the history. Because people were that terrible. The Mormons were driven out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois by armed mobs. Look up Governor Boggs Extermination order. Any way while grossly inaccurate in history and motivation for the Saints it is a fairly good film from 1940. But if anyone wants to know about Mormons and what they believe just ask a Mormon. We are more then happy to talk about it or visit mormon.org

 

Written by Netflix customer bzi1495688

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20th Century Fox actually changed the title to BRIGHAM YOUNG - FRONTIERSMAN to emphasize the epic adventure aspect of it and de-emphasize the religious aspect, feeling that it would keep people away from the theaters.

 

Other religious titles coming to mind include:

 

SONG OF BERNADETTE

GOING MY WAY

KEYS OF THE KINGDOM

THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S

JOAN OF ARC

MIRACLE OF THE BELLS

COME TO THE STABLE

THE BISHOP'S WIFE

 

PLUS, the many bibical epics done over the years, often by Cecil B. DeMille.

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I guess my two favorite religious films are Luis Bunuel's *Simon of the Desert*, and Rolando Klein's *Chac, the Rain God*. Roland Joffe's *The Mission* is good too.

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> 20th Century Fox actually changed the title to BRIGHAM YOUNG - FRONTIERSMAN to emphasize the epic adventure aspect of it and de-emphasize the religious aspect, feeling that it would keep people away from the theaters.

 

Yes, they were playing it up as a western-themed epic adventure. Not only was the title altered, but the artwork changed. Now, the new release seems to drop the subtitle and focuses on the relationship of the men fighting for their faith. It cost $2.7 million to make in 1940 and did not originally turn a profit.

 

BrighamYoungFrontiersman.jpg

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This user review seems to touch on the political aspects of why BRIGHAM YOUNG was made by Fox:

 

Look at when it was filmed: 1940. I think the folks who produced this film wanted to tell a story about religious tolerance. Consider what was happening in Europe at the time. They wanted a movie that would condemn religious intolerance (in a commercially acceptable way), but they wanted the film to be uniquely American (a little US boosterism can't hurt), and they wanted it to feel epic, too. The story of the Mormons fit perfectly. About 20 minutes in is the courtroom scene--the heart and theme of the movie. Smith talks economics (pretty pertinent since movie-goers were still dealing with the Great Depression) and Young talks constitutional rights--in particular freedom of worship. No one in the 1840s would have talked about individuals having constitutional rights like that, but in the 1940s it seemed to be a message worth emphasizing.

 

Written by Netflix customer Golden 22.

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*Yes, they were playing it up as a western-themed epic adventure. Not only was the title altered, but the artwork changed. Now, the new release seems to drop the subtitle and focuses on the relationship of the men fighting for their faith. It cost $2.7 million to make in 1940 and did not originally turn a profit.*

 

It was the studio's most expensive production to date. And while it didn't make a profit, it did well at the boxoffice, just about breaking even.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Nov 29, 2010 8:13 PM

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Additionally, Fox (along with the other studios) was in the midst of a biographical cycle, and subjects from the 19th Century could be viewed as nostalgic and safe (especially with the current world situation)-it was not for nothing that the studio had been dubbed by wags as "19th Century Fox".

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My favorite is Stalker, by Andrei Tarkovsky.

 

I also like Andrei Rublev, Winter Light, Diary of a Country Priest and the Seventh Seal.

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*Chocolat* (2000) is for those who worship chocolate. Having chocolate properly mixed with chili powder as shown in the movie is a religious experience. Does that count? :)

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Best scene depicting a religious experience: Frank Morgan telling the story of St. Francis to the dogs in *Tortilla Flat*. The dogs then have a vision of St. Francis! It's an incredible scene, set in the Redwood Forest.

 

Also many beautiful scenes of spirituality in *A Passage to India", and in *The Chosen*.

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THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA is a beautiful film, and very interesting. Great color, good acting by the kids, and this is one of Gilbert Roland?s best films. It also shows what life for the general public is like in the police state of a socialist dictatorship, in which only people who work for the government get the ?socialist? benefits.

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Yes, Warners' FATIMA drips in Technicolor...I am glad TCM screened it. If they ever acquire SONG OF BERNADETTE from Fox, this would make a great primetime double-feature.

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Most of my favorites -- *Ordet*, *Simon of the Desert*, *Diary of a Country Priest*, *A Man Escaped* -- have been mentioned.

 

I'll add: *The Passion of Joan of Arc*, *Day of Wrath*, *Mouchette*, *Stars in My Crown*, and *A Matter of Life and Death*.

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I like to talk about 2 movie opposites (fact and fiction). The first is probually the most accurate movie detailing what happened, "The Passion of the Christ" (2004). This movie shows how brutal the Romans were and scourging is as barbaric as it comes. Scourging is not a pretty sight and can not be suger coated.

 

The next movie "The Da Vinci Code" (2006) is a work of mostly fiction with a little (but important) truth. The story of Mary Magdalene is taken out of context (like a ton of other stuff). Dan Brown was right that she was an apostle, probually the *head apostle,* and this what sets people back then and today on fire.

 

Man always having problems with women being an intellectual equal to themselves and this is what Jesus *loved* about her. Yes feminist, there was one back then that loved a woman for her brains!

Her being married is absolute nonsense. That space in between in The Last Supper is what I call "an interchangable missing man, in other words John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene sat equally on the right side. This could NOT be said during that time period unless on wants to be burned at the stake for heresy.

 

Something to think about, there was originally *13* apostles but we all know about the number 13, DUH -- Judas!

 

Unlucky as always.

 

TCM Administrator, my posting is to compare fact and fiction between 2 seperate movies I've watched, nothing more.

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}

> *Chocolat* (2000) is for those who worship chocolate. Having chocolate properly mixed with chili powder as shown in the movie is a religious experience. Does that count? :)

 

Counts for me. I use Belgian dark chocolate, and my own blend of dried and ground chilis, to make Christmas chocolates for friends.

 

Prince Saliano, good call with Ken Russell's *The Devils*. One of the most powerful (and painful) films ever made. Don't know why I didn't mention it.

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Tip when making chili: a secret ingredient that makes it delicious is about a teaspoon -no, dammit, let's throw caution to the winds - a tablespoon of cocoa. Real cocoa powder, no sugar added. Add it to the chili around the same time you'd add the chili powder.

 

And now, back to our regular programming: I'm surprised no one's mentioned the 1940 film, starring Joan Crawford and Frederic March, *Susan and God* . Now I really have no business talking about this movie, because I still haven't seen it myself yet. Seems everytime TCM airs it I'm busy or something. Still, judging by its title and what I know about it, it would qualify as a "religious experience" film. Wouldn't it? (I understand there's a scene where Joan is in the kitchen making chili, and decides to add some cocoa to it.)

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You just did. Might I include A Man Called Peter and I'd Climb the Highest Mountain? Both are Fox films and also about real clergymen. The first one is well known; the second stars Susan Hayward and William Lundigan and is set in 1890's Georgia.

 

I wrote about the Fatima movie on the thread I started about Strangest Movie Experiences. I still think it?s the same movie I saw way back when.

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Although not a traditional religious film, Lost Horizon had the most profound impact on me. The first time I saw it as a child about age 10 on syndicated TV, I couldn't even eat dinner afterward, I was so affected by Ronald Colman's incredible desire to get back to Shangri La. I've seen the restored version since then, and get chills over some of the things the High Lama says, which are prophetic (he predicts the development of the Bomb). I am still impressed by the incredible sense of longing and melancholy in Colman's performance as he is torn between this ideal world and the pressures to go back to society. By the way, I ultimately went to divinity school and never was ordained, but that film still evokes that longing and desire for something deeper in life.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Tip when making chili: a secret ingredient that makes it delicious is about a teaspoon -no, dammit, let's throw caution to the winds - a tablespoon of cocoa. Real cocoa powder, no sugar added. Add it to the chili around the same time you'd add the chili powder.

 

I thought that was my secret until Capuchin made his winter chili. :) He adds a tablespoon for each two pounds of meat.

 

I also like to mix cocoa powder with sour cream and add it to each bowl just before serving.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Tip when making chili: a secret ingredient that makes it delicious is about a teaspoon -no, dammit, let's throw caution to the winds - a tablespoon of cocoa. Real cocoa powder, no sugar added. Add it to the chili around the same time you'd add the chili powder.

>

:) Got it covered - I use one or two squares of baker's chocolate, depending on how much chili I am making. It melts right in. Cocoa powder is fine, too.

 

rosebette, I, too, was much affected by *Lost Horizon* when I saw it as a teen. It is certainly a spiritual film.

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}

> I thought that was my secret until Capuchin made his winter chili. :) He adds a tablespoon for each two pounds of meat.

>

 

I consider good chili a religious experience. I'm sort an amateur archeologist/anthropologist, with my main interest being the Central America/Mexico cultures. Historically, chocolate and chilis were often paired. Chicken mole, although it was invented by the Spanish, during the conquest, is another good example of the combo. I think that is what inspired me to add chocolate to my chili recipe. I buy 5-8 varieties of dried chilis, and grind them myself. I don't use chili powder.

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