The Scarlet and the Black has romance, drama, and humor. It is one of the boldest and most thrilling war films ever produced, TV movie or not. Its plot is based on the real life efforts of Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, an Irish diplomat and fearless crusader stationed in the neutral territory of the Vatican during World War II. An influx of Allied POWs and refugees forces O’Flaherty to choose between his conscience and his life, a choice which means jeopardizing not only his position in the Vatican but also the lives of hundreds of innocent people. The Vatican’s questionable “treaty” with the Nazis is not worth abandoning and rejecting pleas for help, a mission of sacrifice, compassion, and danger that O’Flaherty undertakes with a passion.
An older Gregory Peck becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration as he gives another magnificent performance by capturing the fiery spirit of a modest war hero. Ironically, Christopher Plummer returns to the front of World War II as Colonel Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Rome. Going against his decidedly stern anti-Nazi stance in The Sound of Music, Plummer energizes Kappler’s hatred for O’Flaherty and makes the Colonel’s efforts to defeat an influential priest a powerful display of Nazi antagonism and their desire for absolute control. Kappler and O’Flaherty are eternal nemeses, constantly trying to outwit each other through respective acts of cruelty and heroism.
To be continued…
The Scarlet and the Black is available on DVD wherever movies are sold in Fresno and online; it also can be rented for free from local libraries.