Maximilian Schell stars as "the flying friar", St. Joseph of Cupertino, in this heartwarming and amazing true story of the humble Franciscan friar who literally rose to sainthood. In the impoverished village of 17th century Cupertino, Italy, Joseph’s peasant mother convinces the reluctant Abbott (Ricardo Montalban) to accept her son into the monastery. With the support of the kindly local Bishop who sees in him a great deal more than others, and by a series of miraculous incidents, the simple but pious Joseph is ordained a priest. Yet some are convinced that it is the devil, not God, who is responsible for Joseph's miraculous powers – until a final miracle reveals to all his true sanctity.
"An amusing, amazing story."
— Time Magazine.
"Quite a remarkable transformation for Maximilian Schell. ... Ricardo Montalban is outstanding."
— Los Angeles Times.
“Filmed on location in Italy with a supporting cast of Italian players, The Reluctant Saint evokes an authentic sense of time and place eluding most period productions of Golden Age Hollywood. It offers an Italian peasant milieu rich with authenticity and persuasive detail. Adding to the authentic Continental feel is the effective score by Italian composer Nino Rota.
Maximilian Schell projects only sweet simplicity, uncomprehending patience and uncomplicated joy as Guiseppe. More important than Giuseppe’s flying, in the film’s schema of values, is the saint’s humble love of obscurity and of animals, both of which mark him as a true son of Francis... In a film in which every supporting player shines, the film’s funniest moments undoubtedly belong to Lea Padovani as Giuseppe’s formidable mother, a woman who is the terror of every man who knows her.”
— Steven Greydanus, Editor, Decent Films.com.
This DVD contains the following language tracks: English with optional Spanish or English subtitles. Shown in Black & White.
Note: Ignatius Press previously released this film on VHS. This new DVD transfer from the original archive copy, courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment, is better and clearer than the previous release, and restores the “lost ending” to this film which was omitted from the VHS release. A must see!
DVDs are not licensed for public group showings, so in order to show any of these films to your parish, school or organization, you must purchase a Site License which includes additional DVDs to sell or give away. Ignatius Press will provide support and additional information to help make this experience for your parish, school or organization a successful and memorable one! Purchase of these DVD packages includes the permission to show the film in a public setting. If you have questions please contact Diane Hanson (see contact information below).