Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tradition on celluloid

The Hermeneutic of Continuity recently provided a much appreciated link to the Midnight Mass sequence in the 1940s film noir Christmas Holiday. Two other films sprung to mind which have good liturgical sequences relatively free of the innacuracies that normally plague representations of the liturgy on the big screen. The first is the opening sequence of the 1955 film The Prisoner starring Alec Guiness. Here we find a Cardinal about the business of pontifical ceremonies before being arrested. Made by Ealing Studios some of the pontificalia was borrowed from a neighbouring Benedictine Abbey. The second movie that springs to mind would be The Cardinal. The opening sequence of an episcopal consecration always seemed too accurate to be true until I discovered that the 'extras'  serving were actually monks familiar with pontifical ceremonies. All three films are well worth seeing particularly for their positive portrayal of the faith.


  1. Do give details of the making of 'The Cardinal'.

    Sharp-eyed viewers of the film may think that the consecration rite is not accurate as it is supposed to be set in the 1930s yet clearly has one aspect of Pius XII's reforms of the consecration rite.

    A free copy of the traditional Ordo Recitandi for 2011 for anyone who can explain the apparent discrepancy.

  2. Don Fracesco Mancini appears as himself as the Master of Ceremonies. He receives a credit. Monks who were studying in Rome at the time recalled monks of Tre Fontane being used for the ceremonial sequences and the consecration being filmed in St Paul's outside the Walls.

  3. We feature quite a number of such films on our blog:

    If you could 'up' us from link to blogroll you'd be reminded regularly!!!

    God bless you!

  4. I've added St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association to the blog roll per your request. Many thanks.


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