Saturday 14 May 2011

Our Lady's Month IV - The Miracle of Fatima (1952)

The Miracle Of Our Lady Of Fatima is a feature film made in 1952. It starred Susan Whitney as Lucia dos Santos, Sammy Ogg as Francisco Marto, and Sherry Jackson as Jacinta Marto. Neither of the three had particularly notable prior or subsequent careers. Sammy Ogg went on to become a Protestant minister. Gilbert Roland, already a divorcee at the time, was cast in the entirely fictional role of Hugo, a kindly agnostic friend of the three children, who rediscovers his faith in God through the Miracle of the Sun. The musical score by Max Steiner received an Academy Award nomination and the soundtrack includes several traditional hymns.

An obvious error in the introduction to the film is the date of 15th May, 1917, when the first apparition took place on 13th May, 1917. The film is unremarkable for the quality of its script and acting but is, nevertheless, a reverent pastiche of the story of Fatima, albeit one that largely omits Our Lady's message, for example, "in the end God will triumph" rather than "my Immaculate Heart". While it can certainly be classed as a 'Catholic' film, it is one created for a general audience.

When the film was shown to Sr. Lucia she is reported not to have liked the film. I don't disagree but as a portrayal of Our Lady, it is an example of the better forms that were once observed. The voice of Our Lady - and oddly of Sr. Lucia as an older nun - was that of Angela Clarke. The figure of Our Lady is throughout indistinct but dignified. The conclusion of the film is a presentation of a ceremony at the Fatima of the day together with a rather odd reunion between Sr. Lucia and Hugo.


Charlie said...

This aspect of Roman Catholicism leaves me cold. I can appreciate a strong devotion to Mary like at Walsingham but dont we need to take a more realistic stance on phenomena such as this? I am sure that the film is uplifting and spiritual but I have to question the need for supernatural exhibitions. Surely people can be brought to a more considered belief such as that which Newman developed.

JFE said...

I get the impression that you don't actually like the film... John E