EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WHEN IN ROME (director: Clarence Brown; screenwriters: story by Robert Buckner/Dorothy Kingsley/Charles Schnee; cinematographer: William Daniels; editor: Robert J. Kern; music: Carmen Dragon; cast: Van Johnson (Father John X. Halligan), Paul Douglas (Joe Brewster), Joseph Calleia (Aggiunto Bodulli), Tudor Owen (Father McGinniss), Carlo Rizzo (Antonio Silesto); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Clarence Brown; MGM; 1952)|
|"A sentimental religious comedy
about a con-man that tries to con the viewer
into thinking that it's a good pic about
by Dennis Schwartz
sentimental religious comedy about a con-man that
tries to con the viewer into thinking that it's a good
pic about religion. Clarence Brown ("Idiot's
Delight"/"National Velvet"/"Flesh and Devil") directs
by keeping it lighthearted, moralizing and troubling
because of its bogus Hollywood-like idea of
religion. It's based on a story by Robert
Buckner and is written by Dorothy Kingsley
and Charles Schnee. The competently made but
average tourist travelogue film best gives
the viewer a guided tour of such landmarks in Rome as
the Colosseum, St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, St.
Paul's Outside the Walls, Trevi Fountain, St.
Mary Major and the Vatican. Otherwise it's an
unconvincing weepie melodrama about a Sing Sing
escapee who reforms on cue after counseled by the
forgiving priest he robbed and joins a monastery where
he can't talk and must serve a life penance for his
the 1950 Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome the small-town
jolly priest from Pennsylvania, Father John
Halligan (Van Johnson), leaves
by luxury liner from the Big Apple and shares a
cabin with the affable Joe Brewster (Paul
Douglas). The priest doesn't realize the con man
gambler escaped from prison, but gets the message when
docking in Genoa and Brewster eludes the Italian
police by stealing the priest's uniform, passport and
In Rome, Joseph Calleia plays the English speaking Italian detective inspector, Aggiunto Bodulli, who searches for the phony priest with the reluctant aid of the real priest, the only person in Rome who can identify the swindler. The real priest locates his imposter posing as him in the humble Monastery of the Three Saints, and instead of having him arrested agrees to wait 24 hours. Joe during that time receives Holy Communion, confesses to his priest pal and they go together on the pilgrimage until the police close in.
REVIEWED ON 1/24/2013 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ