Following the premature death of his mother, Karol Wojtyla is brought up by his father in the Polish city of Krakow during the first half of the 20th century. An outstanding student with a ... See full summary »
Inspired by his love for Dashiell Hammett novels, nightclub comedian Eddie Ginley puts an ad in the paper as a private eye. The case he gets turns out to be a strange setup and as he digs to the bottom of it his life starts falling apart.
Jon Voight was originally offered the part of Pope John Paul II in this movie, but refused, giving Albert Finney the role instead. Voight finally accepted the role for Pope John Paul II (2005), for which he received an Emmy nomination. See more »
I saw this film more than 15 years ago, yet it has kept within my memory ever since. Not only for Finney's performance (captivating and chamaleonic as usual), but rather for its portrayal of Karol Wojtyla as a strong, committed and cheerful man who finds joy, purpose and projection in his calling into priesthood. The Wojtyla pictured here is far from the intriguing cardinals ("The Body", "Stigmata") or frivolous and manipulative clerics ("Priest", "The third miracle") of recent "religious" films. It's rather more in the great tradition of Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy in "Boys Town"), Father Barry (Karl Malden in "On the waterfront"), and a clear predecessor of Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons in "The Mission") and slained-in-reality Bishop Romero (Raul Julia in "Romero). We can see a man willing to love his people and ready to fight for them, not merely for political reasons but for evangelic and apostolic purposes. A man who sports and camps, and cares for others, and prays. A man who confronts his feelings under the guidance of wisdom, reason and faith, and a man who finally accepts tough challenges and responsibilities with humility and trust. Fortunately for us, since those descriptions are quite close to the real Wojtyla, and the film does a very good job in portraying them to make us realize the real man John Paul II is.
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