The Scarlet and the Black

During Lent, my husband and I choose good, strong Catholic movies for family viewing. These movies include saint biopics, documentaries and stories replete with strong, solid role-models. For a recent family movie night, we chose The Scarlet and the Black as a perfect fit for our Lenten practice.

And my children (9, 12, and 13 years of age) agreed wholeheartedly after viewing this classic movie about the triumph of good over evil; of God’s triumph against the human evil that springs from Satan’s influence.

For those who have never heard of The Scarlet and the Black, this movie has Gregory Peck as Irish Vatican-diplomat Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a solid crusader for the Good. Living in Rome in the midst of World War II, Peck’s character braves the anger and terror of the Nazi war machine, summed-up in the character of Gestapo Colonel Kappler (played to perfection by Christopher Plummer), to save Jews and others hunted by the resident Nazis.

Plummer’s Kaplan is sadistic, arrogant and sure that he is a Caesar reincarnated. Peck’s O’Flaherty is an Irish-brogued St. Michael who will protect the innocent at all costs to himself. Peck’s signature charm is prevalent throughout this movie (which has a healthy dose of humor to keep the plot from being too depressing).

This story is based on actual events in Rome during the Nazi occupation, which makes this film even more valuable for today’s audiences — it’s good to see when good triumphs after individuals sacrifice to fight evil. Make sure to watch the movie all the way through in order to see “what happened after”; it will make you glad you did.

Supporting characters include Sir John Gielgud in a stunning portrayal of Pope Pius XII, whose clandestine assistance to O’Flaherty’s work is well-documented.

I highly recommend this movie for the whole family (ages 8 and older), especially beneficial for those studying the Church’s role during the Holocaust crimes , a time that is often masked in false portrayals by the secular revisionists.

I wrote this review of The Scarlet and the Black for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

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