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The Keys of the Kingdom

Released Dec 15, 1944 2h 17m Drama List
Reviews 83% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
Orphaned as a child, Francis Chisholm (Gregory Peck) grows up to join the priesthood. He decides to become a missionary in China, and arrives to find the previous church burned down. Undaunted, he presses on, but doesn't initially fare well with the local populace. It's not until the child of a Mandarin falls ill that Chisholm proves his worth. Over time, he collaborates with a trio of nuns, endures several wars and, at the end of his life, returns to Scotland. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

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Steven D. Greydanus Decent Films Peck's star-making turn… earned him a Best Actor nod and established his screen persona as a ruggedly decent, dignified underdog. Rated: B Aug 9, 2006 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy In an era in which Christianity continues to be soiled by money-grubbing evangelists and venal right-wing politicians, it’s refreshing to come across a sincere tribute to the qualities that truly represent religious purity. Rated: 3.5/4 May 8, 2023 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com With the help of an Oscar nomination, Gregory Peck becamea major star after appearing in Fox's religious bio-epic, in which he plays the heroic Scottish priest, Father Francis Chisholm. Rated: B- Dec 13, 2010 Full Review Felix Gonzalez Jr. DVD Review ... a beautiful and uplifting story with uniformly strong performances from its brilliant cast. Jul 10, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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lanfranco c A life dedicated to the others through the faith Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review steve d Peck makes the whole thing work. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review matthew d Explore spirituality through one priest's kindness and humility. John M. Stahl's epic drama The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) is a force of nature. It's grand scope covers a priest's life from childhood to old age over the course of a steady 137 minute run-time. Stahl's direction is really interesting as he finds beautiful ways to depict a priest's crisis of faith, devastating tragedies, reflective moments, and joyous victories. He uses dark rooms to creatively show how bleak things can get. The light feels holy in this spiritual masterpiece long before Martin Scorsese undertook Silence. Legendary Hollywood writers Nunnally Johnson and Joseph L. Mankiewicz adapted A.J. Cronin's classic novel with memorable lines and fresh phrasing. Their reflective style gives The Keys of the Kingdom a serious, yet modern feel. James B. Clark edits massive amounts of footage beautifully to succinctly tell this wonderful story in as short a time as possible. Arthur C. Miller's masterful cinematography finds striking framing of the priest staring at a cross within the church he built during his mission in China as well as the most lovely shot of the ruined church and the priest sitting there lonely in solitude. Alfred Newman's mature score fits The Keys of the Kingdom's serious tone and sweeping nature. Bonnie Cashin crafts lovely priests and nun garments that look real. Guy Pearce's make-up is particularly interesting with his old age make-up to make Gregory Peck look old. Gregory Peck is phenomenal in this mature role for a 28 year old when he acted as Father Francis Chisholm in The Keys of the Kingdom. He earned an Oscar nomination for this role and deservedly so. He's reflective and subtle in his genuine acting. He looks like he's authentically feeling his priest character's conflicted and nuanced emotions throughout The Keys of the Kingdom. Thomas Mitchell is fun as atheist doctor Willie Tulloch. He's an endearing friend and fun foil for Gregory Peck to bounce opinions off of on occasion. He gets several beautiful and haunting lines, especially during the Chinese bombing sequence. Similarly, Vincent Price proves he can act perfectly in any role as he absorbs your attention as the cheerful and opinionated Angus Mealey. You are held in suspense by every word Price dictates with his unusual style of speech that was completely his own. Lastly, I loved Rose Stradner as the Reverend Mother Maria-Victoria. Her harsh coldness makes for a stark foil for Gregory Peck's warm Father Francis. She's fun and intense for such a striking role. I liked all the Chinese actors too. Benson Fong is endearing as Joseph and Leonard Strong is entertaining as Mr. Chia. Finally, Richard Loo is compelling as Lieutenant Shon. Overall, The Keys of the Kingdom's outstanding cast uplift you to a heavenly state. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member The best inspiring movie ever made! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member It Is A 'Classic' of cinema, yes, I Give You That..But It's Also Incredibly Slow, Full Of Longing Looks & Overt Emotional Turmoil, If It Were A True Story It Might Make All That Honey Gift Giving To The Children & Cultural Understanding Of Social Faux-Pars A Little More Genuine. It Felt Tho, All Too Hollywood & Gone-Wind-The-Wind'esk As Gregory Continually Called On God To Replenish The Sinful Of Their Ways, Instil Faith In The Whimsical & Save The Day With Brooding Thoughtfulness.. By The End, I'd Had Enough..& Only The Truly Devoted Film-Noir Gurus Will Appreciate This. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Overly long, and lacking enough conflict to leave any real impact. Gregory Peck holds his own in this early role and makes his idealistic priest a likable, if not a little dull, character. The film is also notable for appearances by a young Roddy McDowall, and Vincent Price minus his famous moustache. 2 1/2 stars Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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Movie Info

Synopsis Orphaned as a child, Francis Chisholm (Gregory Peck) grows up to join the priesthood. He decides to become a missionary in China, and arrives to find the previous church burned down. Undaunted, he presses on, but doesn't initially fare well with the local populace. It's not until the child of a Mandarin falls ill that Chisholm proves his worth. Over time, he collaborates with a trio of nuns, endures several wars and, at the end of his life, returns to Scotland.
Director
John M. Stahl
Producer
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Screenwriter
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Nunnally Johnson
Distributor
20th Century Fox
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Dec 15, 1944, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 21, 2014
Runtime
2h 17m
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