Few things inspire such passion and conflict–and such meaningfulness and peace–in our lives as religion. Join us for different looks at faith and religion through the lens of the filmmaker as we start our next film series at OLLI: “Faith and Religion in Film” on April 11. During April through July, we will screen these eight movies, each with differing perspectives on the role of religion in individual lives and in communities and civilizations:
A Man For All Seasons, 1966, introduced by Craig Starr, Rated “Approved”, 120 MINS.
Cast: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, John Hurt
Paul Scofield won a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor and Chief Minister of England under King Henry VIII of England. As Henry breaks with the Pope and asserts his authority as head of the Church of England so he can annul his marriage to Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas walks a fine and dangerous line between his pious devotion to the Catholic Church and his political allegiance to his king.
Elmer Gantry, 1960, introduced by Howard Schuman, Rated “Approved”, 146 MINS
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, Shirley Jones, Patti Page
Burt Lancaster stars as a fast-talking, hard drinking salesman who convinces an earnest Evangelist lay preacher that he can be an effective preacher for her cause. Eventually, though, his past catches up with him, with tragic results.
Amazing Grace, 2006, introduced by Andy Walcott, Rated PG, 118 MINS
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberbatch
A powerful and inspiring true account of one devout idealist’s struggle against the British Parliament and moneyed interests to end the British transatlantic slave trade.
Going My Way, 1944, introduced by John Attig, Rated “Passed”, 126 MINS
Cast: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Youthful Father Chuck O’Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, and when he is assigned to the parish of Father Fitzgibbon, his aging, conventional superior, O’Malley’s worldly knowledge helps him connect with a gang of kids looking for direction, handle the business details of the church-building fund, and win over Father Fitzgibbon.
The Robe, 1953, introduced by Dana Edwards, Unrated, 135 MINS
Cast: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie, Jay Robinson, Dean Jagger, Torin Thatcher, Richard Boone
An epic Hollywood depiction of the Roman Empire during the time of Jesus, as Marcellus, a Roman tribune in charge of the Roman soldiers assigned to crucify Jesus, embarks on a quest afterward to find faith and redemption in the wake of his guilt over what he has done.
The Chosen, 1981, introduced by Howard Schuman, Rated PG, 108 MINS
Cast: Maximilian Schell, Rod Steiger, Robby Benson, Barry Miller, Ron Rifkin
This screen version of Chaim Potok’s moving novel about the importance and clash of differing traditions tells the story of two Jewish youngsters in 1944 Brooklyn – one from a very orthodox and observant family and the other from a liberal and secular one – who form a strong friendship as they deal with parental expectations and their own futures.
Doubt, 2008, introduced by Dana Edwards, Rated PG-13, 104 MINS
Cast: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis
In a Bronx Catholic School in 1964, the winds of modern change, in the person of Father Flynn, are fiercely opposed by the iron-gloved principal, Sister Aloysius Beauvier, who believes in the power of fear-based discipline and the school’s strict customs. When Sister James shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is spending too much time with Donald, the school’s first black student, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to discover the truth and expel Father Flynn from the school, locking herself in a battle of wills with Father Flynn that threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequences.
Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973, introduced by Craig Starr, Rated G, 108 MINS
Cast: Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Bob Bingham, Josh Mostel
Director Norman Jewison’s screen version of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s and Tim Rice’s first rock opera tells the story of Jesus’ final six days through the troubled eyes of Judas Iscariot.
PLEASE NOTE the change in start times for our movies beginning with this series. All movies will now start at 1:30 p.m. instead of 1:00 p.m. (Yes, for our long-time fans, you are right that this is a return to our original start time.)
We’ll see you at the movies!
Craig Starr is chair of the OLLI UO Eugene/Springfield film series subcommittee. He has been an OLLI member for over two years and is a “recovered” attorney, He retired over two years ago from an administrator’s position with a regional law firm, and occasionally teaches at the law school.