The story of the simple peasant boy who became known as Saint Joseph of Cupertino stars acclaimed Academy Award-winner Maximilian Schell (1961, Best Actor, Judgment at Nuremberg) as Giuseppe Desa, thought of by many as the village idiot. At a time when scholars filled the ranks of the monastery, Giuseppe longed to be a priest, and his devotion eventually won him a place among the Franciscans at Otranto, where he continued to struggle to meet the ideal. Only when Giuseppe is exiled to the stables does his true nature become recognized by another former peasant-turned-Bishop (played by Akim Tamiroff, Touch of Evil). The young priest's faith was so great that he began to have visions and levitated during prayer, feats which would "elevate" him to sainthood. Newly remastered.
This inspiring religious biography tells the story of Giuseppe Diesa (Maximillian Schell), a peasant boy in rural 17th-century Italy sent off to work in the stables of a monastery after his parents become convinced he's a simpleton. The boy's innocence leads to a profound simpatico relationship with the animals, which impresses a local bishop (Akim Tamiroff) into urging the lad toward religious education and eventual monkhood. Later Giuseppe's spiritual energy causes him to physically levitate while praying, to the concern of a humorless local authority (Ricardo Montalban) who believes him possessed by demons.
The story is based on the life of Saint Joseph of Cupertino, known as the patron saint of pilots because of his miraculous levitations. Director Edward Dmytryk infuses the film with earthy realism and a universal spirituality that transcends religious differences, making this an inspiring story for all viewers. Schell is superb as Joseph, and Montalban great in a pre-FANTASY ISLAND performance as the initially doubtful Don Raspi. Nino Rota (who would later score Franco Zeffirelli's ROMEO AND JULIET) supplies the nicely evocative music.
This film dramatizes the life of St. Joseph of Cupertino, a 17th-century monk who eventually became known as the flying saint for his alleged ability to levitate during intense prayer.
Period Piece |
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