Although a 1944 film starring Gregory Peck in an Oscar-nominated performance sounds like something right up my alley, I never really thought much to seek out this film, largely because films specifically about priests or pastors often don’t tend to do as much for me as you might expect. Either I disagree with the theology presented, or I’m angered by the portrayal, or I’m bored with the piety. I knew little of this except that the main character was a priest, but I presumed one of the above might be the case.
I actually got far more out of it than I thought I would, though I guess I could still nitpick the theology a bit here and there. Peck is Father Francis Chisolm, who winds up going to seminary after the girl he loved chooses a different path (and a somewhat surprising one for a 1944 film, I have to say), but his methods don’t always please his superiors. His teachers take his dogged questioning as a lack of faith in traditional theology, and later on his superiors worry that he’s too ecumenical – he has friends who are atheists! One superior, however, sees something special in him and appoints him head of a mission in China.