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Douglas Sirk

Sunday, June 22, 2003
5:30 a.m. THE FIRST LEGION
Douglas Sirk (U.S., 1950)

Archival Print!


Charles Boyer gives a fine performance in this engrossing account of a Jesuit priest who questions the occurrence of a miracle in his seminary and encounters opposition from on high. No sooner has Boyer convinced an agnostic doctor (Lyle Bettger) to make public the medical facts behind the mysterious cure of an aged priest, than a young woman (Barbara Rush) with a broken back but unbroken faith precipitates a miracle that is far less explicable. Adapted by Emmet Lavery from his play, the script is concerned with a number of themes dear to Sirk—not only with the absurd nature of faith, but with its relationship to the masses and to the individual believer (and doubter). This particular monastery is filled with unlikely priests—including the droll William Demarest and an all-too-human Leo G. Carroll.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Emmet Lavery, adapted from his play. Photographed by Robert de Grasse. With Charles Boyer, William Demarest, Lyle Bettger, Barbara Rush. (86 mins, B&W, 35mm, Courtesy UCLA Film and Television Archive, permission Emmet Lavery Jr.)