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The Shoes of the Fisherman

Anthony Quinn plays a future Pope of Russian extraction who would, if necessary, strip the Roman Catholic Church of its material wealth in order to avoid nuclear world war. Occasionally awkward script structure and dialog, and overall sluggish pacing do not substantially blunt the impact of the basic story (from Morris L. West's novel), as interpreted by an excellent international cast.

Anthony Quinn plays a future Pope of Russian extraction who would, if necessary, strip the Roman Catholic Church of its material wealth in order to avoid nuclear world war. Occasionally awkward script structure and dialog, and overall sluggish pacing do not substantially blunt the impact of the basic story (from Morris L. West’s novel), as interpreted by an excellent international cast.

It starts with Quinn as a 20-year inmate of a Siberian slave labor camp, and ends with his public Coronation promise as the new Pope to spend the Church’s wealth.

Laurence Olivier, as the Russian premier, had ordered Quinn’s release from religious persecution, and ultimate dispatch to Rome.

Quinn’s performance is excellent. That experience-lined face suggests 20 years of Siberian enslavement, even if the script has him returning to urbane society with a bit too much facility.

Olivier, along with Frank Finlay and Clive Revill, are superior in projecting not unsympathetic Russian politicians.

1968: Nominations: Best Art Direction, Original Music Score

The Shoes of the Fisherman

  • Production: M-G-M. Director Michael Anderson; Producer George Englund; Screenplay John Patrick, James Kennaway; Camera Erwin Hillier; Editor Ernest Walter; Music Alex North; Art Director George W. Davis, Edward Carfagno
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1968. Running time: 162 MIN.
  • With: Anthony Quinn Laurence Olivier Oskar Werner David Janssen Vittorio De Sica Leo McKern