A cavalcade of a priest’s life, played excellently by Gregory Peck, what transcends all the cinemaction is the impact of tolerance, service, faith and godliness.
Where the monsignor (Cedric Hardwicke) comes to out the aged, limping and poor father (Peck), he departs with humility and a new respect after he reads the good father’s journal, first of unrequited love (in youth) and later in unselfish devotion, self-punishing denials and unswerving fealty to his mission as it covers more than a half century. The action (from A.J. Cronin’s bestseller) starts in Scotland, shifts to China and thence back to the land of his birth.
There is a spell of prime-of-life accomplishment as he makes some headway in the far province of Chek Kow, even unto saving the life of the wealthy local mandarin’s son and heir through emergency lancing of the boy’s blood-poisoned arm. But comes civil war, and his mission on the beautiful Hill of the Green Jade happens to fall in direct line of fire between the authoritative army and the Chinese bandits.
1945: Nominations: Best Actor (Gregory Peck), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture