Brother Superior: When the heart speaks, Brother Orchid, other hearts must listen.
Brother Orchid (1940)
A brilliant scene from a brilliant movie, Edward G. Robinson as Brother Orchid takes a large step in his gradual transformation from being a mobster disguising himself as a monk into a real monk. Although not a sacramental confession, the scene has always struck me as an example of the shame and redemption that a good confession brings to a sincere penitent. After the scene Brother Orchid is forgiven, the “Brother Superior” wryly admitting that as a young monk he had been guilty of the same sin of paying a child to do some of his work at the monastery. Go here to read about Brother Orchid (1940) an astonishingly moving screwball-comedy-film noir gangster-western-religious flick that makes great Advent viewing as it illustrates the impact of the grace of God on the most unlikely of souls.
And away we go:
I loved watching re-runs of The Honeymooners when I was a kid. I appreciated the fact that they were more broke than my family and, like my parents, they met that circumstance with good humor. In the classic episode above Ralph sold his prized bowling ball to buy a Christmas present for his beloved wife Alice.
The late comedian Jackie Gleason, when asked his religion, would always say “Bad Catholic”. He was once asked by a Paulist priest to appear on his television program and talk about religion which he did, stating to the priest that Catholicism was strong enough to withstand an advocate even as bad as he was.
Colonel Nicholson, unforgettably portrayed by Alec Guiness, in The Bridge On the River Kwai is a fascinating character. Fearless, beloved by his men, he is in many ways an admirable, even heroic, man. Continue Reading
Henry Fonda didn’t resemble Abraham Lincoln, but in his folksy mannerisms and stump speech oratory, he conjures up well the spirit of Lincoln the prairie lawyer in John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). Fonda didn’t want to take the role at first, feeling himself inadequate to play the Great Emancipator. Ford called him up, and in a profanity laced tirade told Fonda that he would not be portraying President Lincoln, but rather Lincoln as a wet behind the ears attorney. Fonda took the role.
Four years later, Fonda would star in the great anti-lynching movie, The Ox Bow Incident (1943): Continue Reading
A film clip from Battleground (1949), a rousing tribute to the heroic stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, which helped turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge. Seventy-one years ago on December 16, 1944 the Germans launched their last desperate offensive to turn defeat into victory. The sermon helps explain to the men why they are there, and why the sacrifices they were being called upon to make were important and necessary.
We should always be mindful of the men and women in our military who are far from their families today, destined to celebrate Christmas often in dangerous situations. May God bless them and keep them, and may we always remember the sacrifices they make for us.