Celebrating the white collar

I’m not talking of the TV show White Collar from some years ago with Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay that I really enjoyed at the time…

… I’m talking about this following kind that my dad also used to wear when he used to occasionally perform church services. In younger years it was like a white tie while I mostly remember him in later years (as a guest preacher) when he wore an actual white collar.

I never really thought of the collar as very sexy, until Father Ralph de Bricassart (Richard Chamberlain) from The Thornbirds…

And I’m not alone. Apparently Harry Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley finds white collars very sexy too! Yes, I made gifs…

In these gifs it looks like he’s actually wearing one himself. Premonition for what was yet to come with The Man From Rome project that has started filming in Seville?

The beginning of the book The Seville Communion describes Richard’s character Lorenzo Quart like this:

At the beginning of May, Lorenzo Quart received the order that would take him to Seville. An area of low pressure was moving towards the eastern Mediterranean and that morning it was raining on St. Peter’s Square, so Quart had to skirt the square, taking shelter under Bernini’s colonnade. As he walked up to the Portone di Bronzo, he saw the sentry standing with his halberd in the gloomy marble-and-granite corridor and preparing to ask for his identification. The man, tall and strong with a crew cut, was wearing the red, yellow, and blue-striped Renaissance uniform and black beret of the Swiss Guard. He stared at Quart’s well-cut suit, matching black silk shirt with a Roman collar, and his fine, handmade leather shoes. Definitely not, the guard seemed to be thinking, one of the grey bagarozzi – the officials of the complex Vatican bureaucracy who passed through every day. But neither was the visitor a high-ranking member of the Curia, a prelate or monsignor. They wore a cross, a purple trim or a ring at the very least, and they definitely didn’t arrive on foot in the rain. They entered the Vatican palace by another gate, St. Anne’s, in comfortable chauffeur-driven cars. Anyway, despite grey hair cut short like a soldier’s, the man looked too young to be a prelate. He stood politely before the guard and searched amongst the various credit cards in his wallet for his ID card. Very tall, slim, sure of himself, he looked calmly at the guard. His nails were well kept, and he wore an elegant watch and simple silver cufflinks. He couldn’t have been over forty.

RA Bulgaria on Twitter found the following picture of Richard Armitage as Quart, filming today in Seville…

And there it is in that picture, the white Roman collar on Richard that I’ve been looking forward to! Can’t wait to see more and better images of him wearing it. You can also see a hint of Quart’s shiny “fine, handmade leather” black shoes and the trousers look like they could be part of a “well-cut suit”. We can also see a bit grey in his hair, just as we have also seen in Richard’s birthday video from a month and a half ago…

So, yes, I’ve got to agree with Harry Kennedy here: “There’s something quite sexy about that white collar thing…” and the grey hair… and the black clothes… I know little about the story (I really should start reading the book beyond that first page) but I am so looking forward to seeing more of this white collar look!

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

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 andΒ  I can hardly wait to see him dressed and act as a priest. He already looks good in a collar (of sorts) after all…

TheirLostDaughters-RichardArmitage02

… 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. πŸ™‚