The Keys of the Kingdom

( 4 )

Overview

Based on the novel by A.J. Cronin, The Keys of the Kingdom was the first big-budget effort of movie-newcomer Gregory Peck. This is the 137-minute chronicle of a Scottish priest Peck, who is assigned a mission in China. Never very focused in his life or work, the priest finds plenty to keep his mind occupied in his new post; when he isn't coping with the starvation and poverty plaguing his flock, he must contend with China's bloody civil war. Nonetheless, he perseveres, and finds it difficult as an elderly man to ...
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Overview

Based on the novel by A.J. Cronin, The Keys of the Kingdom was the first big-budget effort of movie-newcomer Gregory Peck. This is the 137-minute chronicle of a Scottish priest Peck, who is assigned a mission in China. Never very focused in his life or work, the priest finds plenty to keep his mind occupied in his new post; when he isn't coping with the starvation and poverty plaguing his flock, he must contend with China's bloody civil war. Nonetheless, he perseveres, and finds it difficult as an elderly man to retire. He returns to Scotland, where he finds a new purpose in life; that of ministering to youngsters who, like him, have trouble determining their place in the world. Keys of the Kingdom was one of the last 20th-Century-Fox films produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz before his career-shift to directing; Rose Stradner, Mankiewicz' then-wife, has an important role in the film.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Keys of the Kingdom established Gregory Peck as an important new presence in Hollywood and proved that he could carry a movie -- which he certainly does here. While Keys has a number of assets other than Peck, it also has its share of flaws that work against it. These include its length, which, combined with some inattentive pacing from Lumsden Hare and John M. Stahl, makes for some fairly dull patches throughout. There's also a distinct lack of humor almost throughout, this situation interrupted only by an occasional cynical remark from Thomas Mitchell. Surprisingly, considering that Nunnally Johnson and Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote the screenplay, there's an abundance of stilted dialogue as well. Fortunately, Peck is on hand to mitigate these flaws, and he gives a commanding performance, full of his usual quiet dignity and intelligence, and spiked with a stubbornness and inner fire that make the character truly come alive. The supporting cast is also solid, with especially fine work from Rosa Stradner, the aforementioned Mitchell, and a wonderfully pompous Vincent Price, and Arthur C. Miller's incisive cinematography deserves a special nod. Keys also benefits from its subject matter, and those viewers who respond strongly to stories with an inspirational bent will be especially taken with the film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/15/1995
  • UPC: 086162131431
  • Original Release: 1944
  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gregory Peck Father Francis Chisholm
Thomas Mitchell Dr. Willie Tullock
Vincent Price Rev. Angus Mealy
Roddy McDowall Francis Chisholm (younger)
Rosa Stradner Mother Maria Veronica
Edmund Gwenn Rev. Hamish MacNabb
Cedric Hardwicke Monsignor Sleeth
Peggy Ann Garner Nora as a Child
Jane Ball Nora
James Gleason Dr. Wilbur Fiske
Anne Revere Agnes Fiske
Ruth Nelson Lisbeth Chisholm
Benson Fong Joseph
Leonard Strong Mr. Chia
Arthur Shields Father Tarrant
Edith Barrett Aunt Polly
Sara Allgood Sister Martha
Richard Loo Lieutenant Shon
Ruth Ford Sister Clotilde
Kevin O'Shea Father Craig
H.T. Tsiang Hosannah Wong
Si-Lan Chen Philomena Wang
Dennis Hoey Alex Chisholm
Ethel Griffies Mrs. Glennie
Terry Kilburn Malcolm Glennie
Lumsden Hare Daniel Glennie
J. Anthony Hughes Ned Bannon
Abner Biberman Bandit Captain
George Nokes Andrew
Philip Ahn Mr. Pao
Ruth Clifford Sister Mercy Mary
Joseph Kim
James B. Leong Taoist Priest
Clarence Lung She Wing Soo Hoo, Orderly
Moy Ming Chinese Physician
Hayward Soo-Hoo Chia-Yu
Beal Wong Chinese Captain
Richard Wang Chinese Servant
Oie Chan Grandmother
Technical Credits
John M. Stahl Director
James Basevi Art Director
Bonnie Cashin Costumes/Costume Designer
James B. Clark Editor
William S. Darling Art Director
Eugene Grossman Sound/Sound Designer
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Frank E. Hughes Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Nunnally Johnson Screenwriter
Thomas K. Little Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Producer, Screenwriter
Arthur C. Miller Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Guy Pearce Makeup
Fred Sersen Special Effects
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Family Movie!

    This is a wonderful family movie spanning the life of a priest who is a missionary in a country that doesn't want him - at first. It gives the viewer much to think about in how we treat and judge others. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2003

    A good story

    A.J. Cronin is a great story teller, and this movie version of his book of the same name is worth watching. It is a story of a man who is never really sure of his role in life. So, he just goes forward, a step at a time with great humility. For all of his uncertainty, he accomplishes much. Once asked about his role as the priest in the movie, Gregory Peck replied: ''I was sincere.'' He was, and so is the movie. Taken in the context of movies like the Sand Pebbles and Empire of the Sun, it also gives some insight into the life of Europeans in China leading up to World War II.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews