To all the Catholic priests I’ve known before…

News this morning (yesterday morning by the time I publish this) is that Richard Armitage has a new role coming up…

… and I really like the sound of this. Finally an Armitage project for me to get excited about! He’s going to be playing a Catholic priest, “handsome Father Quart”, who solves mysteries. I know nothing of this story or this character but I am curious and I am quite partial to priests. In fact, priests have been on my mind recently, ever since Herba blogged about “The Thorn Birds syndrome” on her blog last week. It’s as if she felt some priest-announcement in the air. 😉

Due to my father’s work, we were friends with a lot of religious people. We grew up around nuns, we were friends with rabbis and priests. One of our favourite people was a Dutch Melkite (Greek Catholic order) priest who lived on top of a mountain in the Lower Galilee in Israel. Father Jacob, but we called him Uncle Jacob, was like a granddad to us and we visited him and his tiny community regularly. He had this beautiful little chapel hewn into the rock which I think still may be my favourite chapel ever…

Until we saw The Thorn Birds in the early 1980s I had never thought of priests as sexy, but then Richard Chamberlain was on the screen as Father Ralph de Bricassart and we loved it. I think my mum even had a bit of a crush on Father Ralph, I had the same crush. Can you blame us? Just look!

Now that’s a handsome and sexy priest. Will Richard be anything like that as Father Quart? I wouldn’t mind! By the way, not only Richard Chamberlain was sexy in this, I quite liked Christopher Plummer as a cardinal as well.

And my fave actor during my teens, Gregory Peck, has also played priests. It’s been ages since I’ve seen him in Keys of the Kingdom from 1944, one of his first starring roles, where he plays a priest that starts a mission in China. Even though he ages to an old man in the movie, he really is baby-Gregory as a priest. Very cute. 🙂

In the 1980s I also saw him in The Scarlet and the Black, a TV miniseries where he plays a Monsignor at the Vatican who hides POW’s during WWII. That too I haven’t seen in ages… In that one Christopher Plummer was a Nazi Commander, by the way.

Another priest I remember seeing in a movie was Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary’s. I never was much of a Bing Crosby fan, I saw this movie for Ingrid Bergman, whom I do love. In the last picture of this group, they’re petting a kitten. Awww!

There was some comedy in St Mary’s and another movie about a priest (and a rabbi) that had some light-heartedness to it was a faith and romantic comedy called Keeping the Faith, starring Edward Norton, Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman. I actually saw Keeping the Faith again recently and yeah, I still like it. Edward Norton looks very nice in a collar.

From comedy to darkness and Max von Sydow as a priest in The Exorcist. I have only ever seen that movie once (not my genre) and also barely remember it, but I do remember thinking that Von Sydow was good.

Another priest I liked was Jeremy Irons in The Mission, which I saw in the cinema in the 1980s, but also haven’t seen since, I don’t think. In class, in high school, we had to write a poem about a picture and I even wrote a poem about this one from that movie…

mission irons flute

I wonder if I still have that poem somewhere, I remember writing it before I had even seen the movie, I just liked the image so much. That movie also starred Robert DeNiro and Liam Neeson as priests…

… and Liam Neeson as priest reminded me of a movie called Silence that I saw two years ago, which impressed me. Besides Neeson, it mostly starred Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield and also briefly Ciaran Hinds. Ciaran looks very dashing as a priest, I have to say.

That movie was a little grimy and gritty, just like Pilgrimage was, in which Richard killed priests instead of being one…

At least he could already practice with taking Communion…

pilgrimage communion

These are all the Catholic priests that sprung to my mind (I’m sure there must be more but they didn’t pop-up in my head) when I read about Richard’s new role. He’ll be joining this nice line-up of actors before him and  I can hardly wait to see him dressed and act as a priest. He already looks good in a collar (of sorts) after all…


… he’ll be a knock-out in a priest’s robes.

I think I’m going to see if I can track down the book somewhere, my curiosity has been awakened! It feels good to be excited about an Armitage project again. 🙂

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 4

Day 4 – A movie that makes you feel sad

There are a few films that I have watched once but make me so sad/frustrated that I can not watch them again… Sophie’s Choice  is one of them and Schindler’s List  another. Truly excellent movies I both saw long ago but so sad I can’t watch them again.

So, I’m going to pick a movie here that, although it makes me sad, I do go back to it again and again and that is the 2006 movie The Painted Veil with Edward Norton (such a quietly brilliant actor) and Naomi Watts (brilliant in this as well).

The Painted Veil (2)

The Painted Veil is the story (set in the 1920s) of bacteriologist Walter Fane who instantly falls in love with vain socialite Kitty and convinces her to marry him although both of them know that she is not in love with him. They travel to Walter’s post in Shanghai where Kitty starts an affair with a married British vice consul (Liev Schreiber, who is Naomi Watts’ partner in real life).  She is found out, of course, and Walter ends up taking her to an isolated mountainous inland region in China where he has accepted a post to combat cholera. The story is the story of a couple who are really at odds with each other but in the end do slowly find to each other.

The atmosphere of the movie is haunting in a way, there’s a sense of heartache and doom. The music by Erik Satie that is used a few times throughout the movie underlines that, as does the music written by Alexander Desplat (with piano played by Lang Lang).

Kitty is a bit of an airhead and Walter is cruel to her and wants to punish her once he realizes she has betrayed him by exiling her and himself to the inhospitable inlands in China. However, this exile is what saves their relationship when they are almost all alone and must learn to make do with each other. It takes quite a while for them to really connect, for Kitty to appreciate that Walter is not so ‘dry’ as he seems and for Walter to appreciate that Kitty has more to offer than just a beautiful facade. These characters are both so flawed that it feels almost miraculous when they do finally find to each other and that’s what makes this movie so beautiful to me. Overcoming almost impossible odds can lead to something very special; people who seem miles away from each other can ultimately find good qualities in the other and make a profound connection.

The Painted Veil (3)

Then, of course, more things happen that I don’t want to spoil here and by the time when, close to the end, the French song “A La Claire Fontaine” starts playing I am a blubbering mess… each and every time!

It’s not a hit movie and I know some critics found it distant and hard to connect with the characters, but I really have to disagree with that. Yes, there is an iciness in Walter’s and Kitty’s relationship that makes the Antarctic feel warm but it’s the eventual thawing that makes this movie so beautiful to me. Ultimately it’s just heartbreaking and my go-to “it’s OK to wallow in sadness” movie. If you’re not put off by all of this, here’s the trailer:

Ah, and I now also see that the movie can be watched in it’s entirety on YouTube, here’s the playlist (in 12 parts):

(30 Day Movie Challenge – the full list of questions)