The Shoes of the Fisherman
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A world living in fear of nuclear holocaust . . . A secret meeting totip the global balance of power . . . And one man of faith . . .With aworld poised on the brink of world war, and a humble priest installed inone of the most powerful international positions as a pawn in a plot forgeopolitical domination, can one man find the strength to bring peace tothe earth? Academy Award winner Anthony Quinn (Alexis Zorbas) stars asRussian bishop and political prisoner Kiril Lakota, who is released toRome in a Soviet bid to control the Vatican. Elected Pope Kiril, thisman surprises the Vatican, the Kremlin and the entire world by holdingto his spiritual principles tempered by winters in a Siberiangulag--despite the massive pressure on him from both global powers andthe Church that he heads, principles that lead him to make changes thatwill rock the world.]]>
- Vintage featurette The Shoes of the Fisherman
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Anthony Quinn is fabulous as the Russian Pope. It's a powerful portrayal, and not the type of role one would normally associate with him. Oskar Werner, in a part based on Teilhard de Chardin, is absolutely superb.
Other notable performances come from Laurence Olivier (as the Soviet Premier), John Gielgud (former Pope), Leo McKern and Vittorio de Sica (Cardinals), and Arnoldo Foa (the Pope's valet).
The part of a journalist (David Janssen), is used as a narrator, to move the plot along, and explain certain Vatican procedures, like how a new Pope is elected. I only wish less time had been spent on his petty romantic problems...the film feels more like an "Airport" movie while these scenes are taking place.
This is a sprawling 60's Hollywood treatment of Morris West's best seller, and I think it succeeds. It's thought-provoking, good for several viewings, and Quinn and Werner are riveting.
Anthony Quinn gives a remarkable performance as Father Kiril Lakota, a Russian political prisoner freed by the Kremlin and dispatched to the Vatican, where he becomes a Cardinal. Quinn's Kiril is soft-spoken and humble, yet all his years of suffering in Siberia have convinced him the Church must champion human rights--even if blood is shed for that very cause. His subtle teachings impress his fellow Cardinals, and, when the current Pope dies, after several insufficient votes during the Conclave, Kiril becomes a darkhorse candidate and is eventually selected--despite his vigorous protestations. Thus concludes the first half of this film, which was fascinating.
The second half of the movie deals with Pope Kiril's coronation and infant papacy; here, unfortunately, the film becomes a bit too farfetched. (Example: On the evening of his selection as Pope, Kiril sneaks out of the Vatican and wanders the streets of Rome. Another example: Kiril's brokerage of a "deal" between Russia and China to avoid a nuclear war.) The Cold War was certainly topical when this film was made in 1968, yet now much of the plot of the second half comes across as contrived and banal--especially Pope Kiril's speech at St. Peter's Square on the day of his coronation.
Despite these flaws, THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN is grand drama and allows the viewer access to the Vatican behind closed doors.Read more ›
Lakota is imprisoned in Siberia for 20 years (17 in the book) and tormented by his jailer, Kamenev. Kamenev, who later becomes the head of the Soviet state, eventually frees Kiril Lakota. Lakota goes to Rome where finds he's been made a Cardinal. He takes his place at the Vatican among his peers. Sometime thereafter, the Pope dies and Lakota, the dark horse, is elected to the Papacy.
The viewer not only learns much about the process of electing a new Pope, but has the opportunity to see inside the physical structure of the Vatican. It is breathtakingly beautiful. There is real footage, including scenes of the crowds in St. Peter's Square awaiting word, the black/white smoke being released from the conclave after a vote, the processional after the election of Pope Kiril, among others. The viewer is privy to the internal conflicts that plague some of the Cardinals, including major characters Cardinal Leone and Cardinal Rinaldi. Each is aware that his shortcomings make him an unlikely papal candidate.
Thrown into the mix is a subplot surrounding unfaithful newsman George Faber, his wife, his mistress, and his job. Then there's the desperate world hunger situation with which the new Pope must contend.Read more ›
The detail of the sets and costumes is brilliant. The scenes featuring the conclave in the Sistine Chapel are some of my favorites, as they really show in some detail what the election of a pope is like (the rules regarding election have been changed somewhat since the film's release) I remember reading somewhere that the director asked permission to film in the real Sistine Chapel, but was refused. The walls of the Sistine Chapel set were composed largely of cardboard. I am uncertain about the accuracy of that account, but it doesn't seem too unbelievable.
The only disappointing parts of the film involve Janssen's TV commentator role. They are silly for the most part (revolving around his marital problems), and seem to serve no purpose but to set a background for the moment when his estranged wife runs into Pope Kiril, who is incognito, in the streets of Rome (you'll see what I mean when you watch the film). I've seen the film many times, and I usually fast-forward through the scenes of marital discord.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Soviets take a catholic bishop imprisoned in GULAG during 20 years from his mining work and allow him to Rome where soon he is elected to be the Pope. Read morePublished 28 days ago by E. Rabinovich
Wonderful movie. I remembered it as a child and enjoyed it more as an adult.Published 1 month ago by Kathy
A wonderful tale of a holy priest. Reminds me of the Life of Saint JP-2Published 1 month ago by L Winston
A beautiful and powerful film, movingly acted by Anthony Quinn and the rest of the cast. After all these years, the film doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Howard C. Wasserman
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