Messenger of Peace (1947)

87 mins | Drama | October 1947

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HISTORY

This film was produced as part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Centennial observation and released in Oct 1947 under the title Messenger of Peace . Contemporary sources state that in Dec 1948, The Lutheran Laymen's League contracted with Astor Pictures Corp. for world-wide theatrical distribution of the film, which was released in 1950. In 1951, Astor changed the film's title to Country Parson . Henry Rische, writer of the original story, was pastor of the First Lutheran Church in Dunsmuir CA. According to an article in The Lutheran Layman , the magazine of the Lutheran Church, the story was based on the experiences of one of Rische's friends. The Lutheran Laymen's League is a men's association affiliated with the Lutheran Church--Missouri ... More Less

This film was produced as part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Centennial observation and released in Oct 1947 under the title Messenger of Peace . Contemporary sources state that in Dec 1948, The Lutheran Laymen's League contracted with Astor Pictures Corp. for world-wide theatrical distribution of the film, which was released in 1950. In 1951, Astor changed the film's title to Country Parson . Henry Rische, writer of the original story, was pastor of the First Lutheran Church in Dunsmuir CA. According to an article in The Lutheran Layman , the magazine of the Lutheran Church, the story was based on the experiences of one of Rische's friends. The Lutheran Laymen's League is a men's association affiliated with the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Apr 1950.
---
Film Daily
22 Mar 50
p. 8.
Harrison's Reports
8 Apr 1950.
---
International Photographer
Jul 47
p. 18-19.
The Exhibitor
29 Mar 1950.
---
Variety
Mar 50
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Lutheran Laymen's League adv
Asst to Mr. Eggers
Clergy adv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Country Parson
Release Date:
October 1947
Production Date:
late April 1947 at RKO Radio Studios
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,792
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

As pastor Armin Ritter prepares to retire and turn over his church to his successor, the son of a fellow pastor, he reflects on his life: Upon graduating from seminary school in St. Louis, Ritter is called to Norwald, a backwoods community with no church or parsonage. However, with help from the community, Armin constructs a small church, and marries Evangeline Lockley, one of the local helpers. Over the years, he advises people with various problems and, notably, helps to reform alcoholic carpenter Peter Kerl. He also has to deal with the town's figurehead, Jacob Torgel, who regards the church as his personal chapel and walks out when Kerl is allowed communion. Armin also helps Torgel's daughter Magda, who is disowned by her father when she marries Ted Horner, a reformed "moonshiner." Torgel returns to the church, however, after he attempts to make a new trail through the hills and breaks a leg, then is rescued by Kerl and Horner. Armin and Evangeline have two sons, Ben and Carlie, and a daughter Jeanie. The years pass and Armin is transferred to a larger community, White Plains, which has a church, but few churchgoers. After making himself known and gaining the respect of the community, he is rewarded by the rapid growth of the congregation. The last time his parents see Ben is when he is on leave from the Army during World War I and is able to attend his sister's seventeenth birthday party. Ben returns to duty and, soon after, Armin and Evangeline receive the tragic news that he has been killed in battle, sacrificing his life for another. Sustained by his faith, Armin carries on serving his ... +


As pastor Armin Ritter prepares to retire and turn over his church to his successor, the son of a fellow pastor, he reflects on his life: Upon graduating from seminary school in St. Louis, Ritter is called to Norwald, a backwoods community with no church or parsonage. However, with help from the community, Armin constructs a small church, and marries Evangeline Lockley, one of the local helpers. Over the years, he advises people with various problems and, notably, helps to reform alcoholic carpenter Peter Kerl. He also has to deal with the town's figurehead, Jacob Torgel, who regards the church as his personal chapel and walks out when Kerl is allowed communion. Armin also helps Torgel's daughter Magda, who is disowned by her father when she marries Ted Horner, a reformed "moonshiner." Torgel returns to the church, however, after he attempts to make a new trail through the hills and breaks a leg, then is rescued by Kerl and Horner. Armin and Evangeline have two sons, Ben and Carlie, and a daughter Jeanie. The years pass and Armin is transferred to a larger community, White Plains, which has a church, but few churchgoers. After making himself known and gaining the respect of the community, he is rewarded by the rapid growth of the congregation. The last time his parents see Ben is when he is on leave from the Army during World War I and is able to attend his sister's seventeenth birthday party. Ben returns to duty and, soon after, Armin and Evangeline receive the tragic news that he has been killed in battle, sacrificing his life for another. Sustained by his faith, Armin carries on serving his congregation. Eventually, Armin is retired on a pension and receives a heart-felt, farewell tribute from a host of friends. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.