The Left Hand of God 1955 (1955) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: At a Catholic mission in China, long-awaited "Father O'Shea" proves to be a tough guy, disturbingly attractive to mission nurse Anne. Runtime: 87 mins Release Date: 14 Nov 1955
First, this movie was based on a novel written by William E. Barrett - for those of you who are familiar with the movie with Sidney Poiter called "Lilies of the Field", this is another treasure that should be seen. Humphrey Bogart stars in this movie as a priest, the only thing is, he packs a pistol along with his Bible and tends to have his own style in doing things. His character is one of an air force flier, Jim Carmody, downed in China, captured by a warlord and forced to work for him. One of the warlord's men slips up and shoots a priest, sending Bogie over the edge. Since <more>
the priest died, Bogie decides to wear the vestments and become "Father O'Shea", as he sees this as the perfect way to escape out from under the control of the warlord. One problem is, when he gets to the mission, he is now torn between the heavy burden of the clergy vestment he now wears and from saving himself, for with the vestment comes duty. To make matters more complex, Gene Tierney, plays a nurse who is falling in love with this no-nonsense priest.There are 2 other reluctant missionaries, a doctor and his wife - they tend to try to tell Father O'Shea to close the mission, but Fr. O'Shea will have none of that.Fr. O'Shea is certainly making a name for himself in the small section of China he is in. From rattling off his sermon in English to the sleepy Chinese who do not understand, to reciting the sermon in Chinese and watching every Chinese person in attendance awake and hear the words as if for the first time.A great scene with such give & take, is that where Fr. O'Shea meets the oldest man in the village. The old man asks for a blessing and Fr. O'Shea delivers, and then humbles himself to receive a blessing from the old man. Poignant and beautifully carried out.Trouble ensues when one of the warlord's men track Carmody down to the mission and we all know this spells trouble for Fr. O'Shea. Will he run, or will he stay?This is a wonderful movie that instills a sense of duty over personal goals. During the filming of this movie, Bogart was suffering from back pains and illness, but it does not show up in the movie - a constant actor, he pulls off the role of reluctant priest very well. And, Tierney was on the verge of a breakdown, but both portrayed their characters wonderfully. The whole movie is warm.This movie will appeal more to those with Christian values, as it is easier for one to accept and understand as to why Carmody makes the decisions he makes. A priest you can respect.It's really a shame this movie is not yet on DVD. Also, a shame that it isn't shown more.
I saw this movie many years ago and it has resonated with me ever since. I am not qualified to analyze this movie in any scholarly way. I only know i personally believe in the central message revealed at the end of the movie that 'every man has something of what it takes to be a priest in him'. But beyond the religious statement i have always accepted the broader humanistic interpretation to that statement; that being 'that most men have the capacity for good however small'. This is is a message that i feel is timeless and bears constant repeating and if a movie contains this <more>
message in its structure it to also deserves to be timeless and so this movie is with me.
A great movie in the old tradition..I grew up watching this movie with my dad and I always loved it..I saved it on Tivo recently and watched it a few times. I would love to read the book, and I keep wondering what happened to Bogie's character after he left the mission and rode away....did he ever meet the nurse again? How could he just leave her and not return to her? What was his punishment? Did he ever return to the mission or see his "flock again". The actor who played the warlord was really outstanding and almost overshadowed Bogie's acting in this film in my opinion. <more>
Obviously when the film was made the Communists in China had solidified their hold on the country and the warlord days were over, I wonder if the book went into any details on this....
I thought this movie was characteristic of the movies made after the 2nd world war, where goodness overcomes evil, Hitler versus the Allies. The simple faith portrayed by the Chinese villagers and the belief in the Christian church where they and the audience knew that god would triumph in the end was charming and a little naive. Humphrey Bogart played a masterly performance using his considerable acting skills to portray the phony priest who is overtaken by the situation he finds himself in and redeems himself by selflessly offering his freedom to save the villages and mission. A strong cast <more>
of experienced actors along with the Chinese cast worked extremely well in this movie. If you are a catholic it is everything we want from our church. Simple honest faith, alongside men of conviction who believe without a doubt that Christ would and could intervene if he were asked. This film is a testament to Bogart's enormous charisma and plain speaking charm.
What do you do when you can't run and you can't fight? (by higherall7)
The thematic content of the film compels me to rate it a nine. The themes are similar to what you would find in a Hitchcock film; involving mistaken identity and a man caught up in a perplexing situation where he must use his wits to secure his freedom and get out alive. This film is eightyseven minutes long, but I found it so emotionally satisfying, it seems longer than that, so full and rich it is to me.Humphrey Bogart is perfect as James Carmody, now taking up the robes and vestments of a recently murdered Father O'Shea to effect an escape from Lee J. Cobb's Warlord Mieh Yang. He <more>
comes to a little Chinese mission complete with a Bible and a gun. The thing that is interesting is how his previous life experience and skill set nonetheless prepare him to fulfill the priestly duties of the slain theologian he is impersonating. He is totally believable as a no-nonsense Priest who is as much a graduate from the school of hard knocks as he is from any seminary.The supporting cast of E.G. Marshall and Agnes Moorehead as Dr. David Sigman and Beryl Sigman respectively round out a very competent cast including the beautiful Gene Tierney as Anne 'Scotty' Scott. The Sigmans both in their own way sense something not quite Kosher about this 'Father O'Shea', but it's nothing either of them can quite put their finger on, even though the Doctor discovers this O'Shea plays a mean game of Chess. Meanwhile, Anne discovers herself falling in love with this priest with no one but him to hear her confession.Carmody as Father O'Shea preaches the Sunday sermon in two languages, English and Chinese, leads the school children in song on a little piano and helps Anne jump puddles in a very gentlemanly way. They call it 'chemistry' now, but back when I first saw this movie as a feature on the Bill Kennedy Show on Channel Nine, it was simply old style Hollywood romance. In this movie, the physical attraction is a given, and so the scenes between Bogart and Tierney show two people genuinely caring about each other while still mature enough to respect each other's boundaries.So far, Bogart has taken personal advantage of Father O'Shea's death in order to further his plans for a permanent escape from the Warlord Mieh Yang. But now the arrival of the Warlord into the village where Father O'Shea is domiciled imperils everyone. Decisions spurred by the imperatives of adrenaline provide no real solution. There is nowhere to run and Yang's army is too numerous and formidable to fight. Now that animalistic reactions are ruled out, what does one do?Enter the Left Hand of God...
THE LEFT HAND OF GOD was at the right hand of Red China's dictator . . . (by oscaralbert)
. . . when he outlawed all religions there in the 1950s, since Humphrey Bogart convinced them that ANY self-proclaimed Western Holy Man might be sleeping with a gun under his pillow, ready to lead a peasant uprising at the drop of a hat. There's a saying "that it's all Greek to me," and Big Religion's insistence on relying upon dead languages such as Bogart's atheist fake priest's Latin would leave any Communist in his Left Mind thinking, "Let's dispense with this whole mess altogether." Perhaps their thinking makes some sense. THE LEFT HAND OF GOD <more>
shows that gullible Chinese villagers cannot differentiate between gun-toting American atheists and Bible-thumping American "missionaries." And while the Mormons have documented Jesus sightings in America, there are no Books of any Bible depicting the Nazarene traipsing around China. Is getting Christianity banned in China Hollywood's worst sin? Hardly. BIRTH OF A NATION and GONE WITH THE WIND combined to perpetuate Jim Crow laws in the South for five decades. To add insult to injury, Tinsel Town snubbed SELMA with this year's Oscar nominations. If it weren't for the LEFT HAND OF GOD, we Americans all would have to learn Latin in five or ten years, and I struggled with that expired lingo in school. Mandarin or Cantonese should be easier to pick up in order to survive this Chinese Century.
An excellent sentimental journey (by walter_kailey)
If you like warm feelings and inspirational plots, especially if you are religious, you will love this film. If you prefer PG-13 and above, don't bother. This is solid family entertainment. It has superb acting and writing, and it is very heart warming without being corny or maudlin. Bogart is at his best type cast in his standard role of a cynic from the school of hard knocks who, when put to the test, shows himself to have a heart of gold underneath it all. The extreme poverty and ignorance of Chinese rural people at this time, as well as the very successful inroads made by Catholic <more>
missionaries there during this period are accurately portrayed.