I Cannot and I Will Not Recant

Posted: 30/05/2013 in 1953

Niall_MacGinnis_in_Martin_Luther_(1953)

Quite frankly I went in to viewing Irving Pichel’s Martin Luther with the expectation of the film being a religio-historic retelling of the story of Martin Luther from the Catholic priesthood through the Reformation. I expected this film to be fully ready for a dull classroom screening or a dreary church viewing.  I expected the dialogue to be cold and rehearsed and to be checking my watch periodically to see how much running time was left to go. Needless to say, I essentially got what I expected with Martin Luther. There’s not a whole lot to say about this film beyond what has already been said. It is a production that, although adequately acted and filmed, is a production of the Lutheran church, with a clear slant and agenda in that direction. It is essentially a script lifted out of a high school textbook, and it makes a hero out of a much more complex man than who is portrayed. I honestly would not expect anything different considering the overall bias of the film, but that does not leave me feeling any more fulfilled in the end.

Is it a bad film? No, it really is not. In fact, given the script that he was working with, I think Niall MacGinnis does a fine job as Martin Luther. The rest of the cast leaves much to be desired however. The roles are generally written very one-dimensionally, and they are overall played as such. Surprisingly however, the cinematography is first rate. Nearly every shot looked rather beautiful thanks to the work of Joseph C. Brun behind the camera. Sadly, it is not enough to save this lackluster event that will be largely rented from libraries for years to come.

** ~AOS

Up next… the British war drama The Desert Rats

 

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