The Keys of the Kingdom

1944

Drama / War

3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 84%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2449

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 04, 2021 at 04:38 PM

Director

Cast

Vincent Price as Angus Mealey
Gregory Peck as Father Francis Chisholm
Cedric Hardwicke as Monsignor at Tweedside
Roddy McDowall as Francis Chisholm - as a Boy
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.23 GB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 17 min
P/S 11 / 39
2.29 GB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 17 min
P/S 11 / 51

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

A Singularly Rewarding Life

In his second film Gregory Peck got the first of his Best Actor nominations for playing the pious and devote Father Francis Chisholm in The Keys of the Kingdom.

When we meet Peck he's an elderly priest who's got a visitor in Monsignor Cedric Hardwicke who has come to the Scottish town where he's from and now is a pastor. Hardwicke's there to investigate complaints about him. Peck puts him up for the night in his own room where he keeps a journal that he has faithfully recorded his life. On an impulse, Hardwicke decides it might be good bedtime reading.

When we first meet Peck, elderly and infirm that he is, he looks like he could be the model for Alec Guinness's muddled old reverend in Kind Hearts and Coronets. But as Hardwicke reads Peck's words and we go back over his life, it's been a pious and rewarding one as a missionary in China.

The film is a flashback narrative of his life as a missionary. And the film is held together by the sincere and deeply felt performance of Gregory Peck as Father Chisholm. Peck has some terribly unorthodox ideas as a priest. For one thing he's not preaching that his own denomination has the corner on a good afterlife. Late in the film, some Protestant missionaries come, James Gleason and Anne Revere, and he becomes great friends with both. He's even friends with a self styled atheist in Thomas Mitchell who is an atheist, a medical doctor and a good man indeed. Mitchell's deathbed scene with Peck is quite touching and avoids a lot of the clichés associated with such scenes.

Another thing is Peck and the sisters led by Rose Stradner who later come to help live as simply and modestly as the Chinese around them. They gain some converts, but even more importantly they gain the respect of those around them. This is contrasted when Peck's childhood friend Vincent Price who has become a bishop and takes the phrase Prince of the Church quite literally.

The casting in the film is first rate and 20th Century Fox did a good job in recreating the feel and atmosphere of China which at that point was engaged in expelling the Japanese from their soil. The Keys of the Kingdom got several Oscar nominations including Peck's, but came up short on the statues.

I enjoyed the film a whole lot and I don't think one has to be a firm believer in any Christian denomination to enjoy it. Peck's Father Francis Chisholm may have led an obscure life, but his faith sustains him through all and he leads by sheer example. It's something that a lot of religious leaders fall short of, but not in this case.

Peck's life will surely gain him possession of The Keys of the Kingdom and we could all use a lot more Father Chisholms in this world.

Reviewed by raphael_lim 9 / 10

What a wonderful story!

What a wonderful story of a man, despite much adversity, contributes himself to the Chinese community he loves so much. It is amazing how Peck makes it so effortless (even in his only second film)in portraying a young man to one in his twilight years. He personifies morality and quiet integrity in this film, reminiscent to the role that he would play nearly twenty years later in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

The supporting cast which performs more than ably is led by Cedric Hardwicke playing a monsignor who was initially critical of the Peck character but emerges having respect for him after reading his memoirs (which form the narration for the film. Others include Thomas Mitchell as the irreverent self-proclaimed atheist who does much to provide the witty humour for the film, Edmund Gwenn as Peck's plucky mentor at the seminary who uses the term "ecclesiastical mechanic" to describe priests who are inflexible and bureaucratic, and Rose Stradner as the Mother Superior who falls in love with Peck (you only get a hint of this).

One of the highlights is the film's efforts in portraying the Chinese in a sensitive manner in terms of the customs shown and dialects used. This is very unlike films of its era which tended to portray Asians in a more stereotypical fashion.

Reviewed by morgancharles 10 / 10

A wonderful, moving film-- for religionists and atheists alike.

Although in part this is about missionaries in China and therefore could turn off anyone appalled by either religion or proselytizing (including me), the movie transcends those issues and is one of the great black and white Hollywood films of all time.

Its greatness is carried by its variegated and compelling story, by the exquisite characterizations of its excellent actors, and by Gregory Peck's simple, powerful portrayal of a man who remains true to his character.

Well-written and well-directed, the film requires only a modest suspension of disbelief for one to become enthralled, excited, and moved by this cross-section of history concentrated on the personal life, from childhood on, of a man whose goodness and idiosyncratic talents never leave one with any sense of sanctimony or piousness. Indeed, this man's capacity for survival and warmth help illuminate much of the hypocrisy and pomposity around him.

There are grander, greater movies, of course, but this is a real find, and inspiring whether you are nine, nineteen, or ninety. Watch it alone, or with your family... give yourself to it and you will be rewarded.

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