The Angel Wore Red (1960)

95 or 99 mins | Drama | September 1960

Director:

Nunnally Johnson

Producer:

Goffredo Lombardo

Cinematographer:

Giuseppe Rotunno

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designer:

Piero Felippone

Production Companies:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp., Titanus-Spectator
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HISTORY

Working titles of the film were Temptation , The Fair Bride and La Sposa Bella . The opening title card reads: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Ava Gardner, Dirk Bogarde (by arrangement with the Rank Organization) in The Angel Wore Red a Titanus-Spectator Production." The opening credits include the following written prologue: "1936 a city in Spain about to experience the cruelest of all wars... a Civil War." Voice-over narration by Joseph Cotten as the reporter "Hawthorne" introduces "Arturo," the film's protagonist; provides updates on the warring factions and follows the story of the relic's location. As noted in several reviews of the film, the voices of Italian actors Vittorio De Sica and Aldo Fabrizi were dubbed into English.
       The Angel Wore Red was based on the story of a young priest who had forsaken his vows to the Catholic Church during the Spanish Civil War (1936--1939). As dramatized in the film, Spain had become ungovernable due to a number of political factions, which divided the country and in Feb 1936, a Popular Front government, led by the Republicans, often called "Loyalists," came to power. The Republicans were supported by Communists, anarchists and union members and were aided by Communist Russia.
       The Nationalists, often called Falangists, were aided by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, fought the Republicans with the help of the Spanish military. During the war, the Republicans banned religious services, desecrated churches and murdered thousands of priests. By March of 1939, the Republicans fell to General Francisco Franco, who led the Nationalists to victory and became the Spanish dictator in 1939, where he remained in the highest position of authority over Spain ... More Less

Working titles of the film were Temptation , The Fair Bride and La Sposa Bella . The opening title card reads: "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Ava Gardner, Dirk Bogarde (by arrangement with the Rank Organization) in The Angel Wore Red a Titanus-Spectator Production." The opening credits include the following written prologue: "1936 a city in Spain about to experience the cruelest of all wars... a Civil War." Voice-over narration by Joseph Cotten as the reporter "Hawthorne" introduces "Arturo," the film's protagonist; provides updates on the warring factions and follows the story of the relic's location. As noted in several reviews of the film, the voices of Italian actors Vittorio De Sica and Aldo Fabrizi were dubbed into English.
       The Angel Wore Red was based on the story of a young priest who had forsaken his vows to the Catholic Church during the Spanish Civil War (1936--1939). As dramatized in the film, Spain had become ungovernable due to a number of political factions, which divided the country and in Feb 1936, a Popular Front government, led by the Republicans, often called "Loyalists," came to power. The Republicans were supported by Communists, anarchists and union members and were aided by Communist Russia.
       The Nationalists, often called Falangists, were aided by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, fought the Republicans with the help of the Spanish military. During the war, the Republicans banned religious services, desecrated churches and murdered thousands of priests. By March of 1939, the Republicans fell to General Francisco Franco, who led the Nationalists to victory and became the Spanish dictator in 1939, where he remained in the highest position of authority over Spain until 1975. For more information about the Spanish Civil War, see the entry for the 1943 For Whom the Bell Tolls ( AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ).
       Modern sources add Leonardo Porzio and Renato Terra to the cast. According to a 3 Nov 1959 HR news item, the film was to have been shot in Spain, however, due to the unflattering portrayal of Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, Franco declined permission. Portions of the film were shot on location in Rome, Sicily and Monterossi, Italy.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Sep 1960.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1960.
---
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1960
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Sep 1960
p. 6.
Filmfacts
1960
p. 226.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1959
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 1959
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1959
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1960
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1960
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
15 Sep 1960.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1960.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Sep 1960
p. 828.
New York Times
29 Sep 1960
p. 32.
Newsweek
12 Sep 1960.
---
Time
12 Sep 1960.
---
Variety
31 Aug 1960
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch cond
MAKEUP
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief of prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Fair Bride by Bruce Marshall (London, 1953).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Temptation
The Fair Bride
La Sposa Bella
Release Date:
September 1960
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 September 1960
New York opening: 28 September 1960
Production Date:
2 November 1959--early January 1960 in Sicily, Italy
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 August 1960
Copyright Number:
LP16848
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
95 or 99
Length(in feet):
8,906
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19511
SYNOPSIS

In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, anti-clerical Loyalists are in command of a small city where disillusioned priest Arturo Carrera confronts his Bishop. Despairing the church's "empty piety," Arturo forsakes his vows and leaves the cathedral dressed in civilian clothes. That evening, as a rebel air raid sends the city into chaos, Arturo takes shelter in a building where he meets Soledad, a cabaret girl. Meanwhile, the Bishop gives a sacred relic, the blessed blood of Saint John, to priest Canon Rota, ordering him to take the relic to the rebels, who are faithful to the church. Soon after, a Loyalist mob breaks into the cathedral, where they ransack the altars and murder several priests. That night, the Loyalists post descriptions of the two escaped priests, Arturo and Rota, through out the city. Fleeing the police, Arturo slips into a cabaret and takes a private room with Soledad. Unaware that Arturo is a priest on the run, she reveals that she cares little for priests, but does not believe people should harm the church. When soldiers enter the cabaret in search of Arturo, the brave Soledad, realizing his real identity, takes him to her apartment, where Arturo admits that "his faith has failed him." Despite his protests that she not become involved in the danger, Soledad insists she has had a premonition that Arturo is special and must be protected. When soldiers suddenly knock on the outside door, Arturo surrenders to avoid implicating Soledad. Within days, the frantic parishioners have covered the city in graffitti asking for the location of the relic. After cynical Communist Gen. Clave arrives in town, American correspondent Hawthorne, who is writing a story ... +


In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, anti-clerical Loyalists are in command of a small city where disillusioned priest Arturo Carrera confronts his Bishop. Despairing the church's "empty piety," Arturo forsakes his vows and leaves the cathedral dressed in civilian clothes. That evening, as a rebel air raid sends the city into chaos, Arturo takes shelter in a building where he meets Soledad, a cabaret girl. Meanwhile, the Bishop gives a sacred relic, the blessed blood of Saint John, to priest Canon Rota, ordering him to take the relic to the rebels, who are faithful to the church. Soon after, a Loyalist mob breaks into the cathedral, where they ransack the altars and murder several priests. That night, the Loyalists post descriptions of the two escaped priests, Arturo and Rota, through out the city. Fleeing the police, Arturo slips into a cabaret and takes a private room with Soledad. Unaware that Arturo is a priest on the run, she reveals that she cares little for priests, but does not believe people should harm the church. When soldiers enter the cabaret in search of Arturo, the brave Soledad, realizing his real identity, takes him to her apartment, where Arturo admits that "his faith has failed him." Despite his protests that she not become involved in the danger, Soledad insists she has had a premonition that Arturo is special and must be protected. When soldiers suddenly knock on the outside door, Arturo surrenders to avoid implicating Soledad. Within days, the frantic parishioners have covered the city in graffitti asking for the location of the relic. After cynical Communist Gen. Clave arrives in town, American correspondent Hawthorne, who is writing a story about the relic, explains the local legend. Whoever has possession of the relic is said to be impossible to defeat. Despite Clave's own indifference, he orders his soldiers to find the relic to help instill confidence in the Loyalist cause among the townspeople. Although Arturo is unable to provide information about the location of the relic, Capt. Botargas accepts his offer to work for the government and help the Catholic soldiers reconcile their faith with the Loyalist's socialist agenda. After being set free, Arturo seeks consolation, friendship and finally romance with Soledad. One day, after Arturo explains to the soldiers at a public square that the relic cannot bring them victory, Rota, disguised in civilian clothes, tells him he is hiding in the church and begs for help, but Arturo refuses. Later, Soledad announces that she has quit the cabaret and professes her love to Arturo. With equal affection, Arturo explains his feelings are like that of a young schoolboy with his first love, an innocent love. That night Loyalist reinforcements arrive, but are many men short because of desertions caused by fear of the relic being in enemy hands. Meanwhile, Soledad, having learned of Rota's plea from Arturo, goes to the church where soldiers capture her and Rota. Botargas interrogates Soledad about her involvement with Rota and Arturo, threatening torture if she does not comply. Meanwhile Rota, sentenced to execution as a traitor, asks for Arturo to hear his confession. During their meeting, Rota admits that he, like Arturo, did not believe in the relic but after weeks of walking among the people, realizes that it is the people's faith in the relic that gives them hope in God. He then tells Arturo that the priests were all tortured and then killed for refusing to give information about the relic. Moved by Rota's speech, Arturo asks for the relic's location. Arturo finds the relic, but is immediately arrested outside the church. Unknown to his captors, Arturo maintains possession of the relic by hiding it in his clothing. The next morning, Clave sends over two hundred prisoners, including Arturo and Soledad, under armed guard to be a decoy for the advancing enemy. During a break in the march, Arturo tells Soledad he has the relic. That night, as they camp near Soledad's village, they realize that they will face the rebel forces the next morning. While the prisoners pray, Soledad notices Arturo is torn between his love for her and his responsibility as a priest to ease the pain of those suffering around him. Botargas calls for Soledad and reminds her that the priest will reject her to return to his profession. He then offers her freedom in trade for information about the relic. Later, after Soledad finds Arturo accepting the villagers’ confessions, she agrees to Botargas' terms. That night, Soledad admits her arrangement with Botargas to Arturo, but suggests she give Botargas a false location and then take the relic away herself. Arturo agrees to the plan, but when Soledad tells Botargas the false location, he refuses to set her free. In a surprise attack, the rebels begin shooting indiscriminately among the group, wounding Soledad, who then stumbles along the path to her village clutching the relic. When the rebels call into the church where the prisoners are held, Arturo explains to a rebel officer that they are prisoners of the Loyalists. To prove their fidelity to the church, Arturo claims to have had possession of the relic. The officer in charge replies that unless Arturo can produce the relic, he will have to execute all of them after a priest hears their confessions. Meanwhile, a rebel soldier finds Soledad collapsed holding the relic. The following morning, as Arturo prepares the prisoner to meet their fate, he suddenly hears Soledad weakly calling his name and walks out to find that a soldier has brought both Soledad and the relic to the church. After a delirious Soledad, believing she has lost the relic, asks for his forgiveness and then dies, the young officer frees the prisoners. While Soledad is returned to her village in a coffin, Arturo kisses the holy relic and places it in a sacred monument.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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