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Directed by Douglas Sirk

United States 1951 86 mins.

One of Sirk’s most unusual and explicitly philosophical films, this adaptation of Emmet Lavery’s 1934 play centers on a Jesuit seminary where an apparent miracle draws hordes of hysterical supplicants and sparks an internal debate over the validity of the alleged visitation. Working in a very different vein from the baroque flamboyance of his later color melodramas (Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows), Sirk’s deep-focus black-and-white style keeps skepticism and faith in a delicate balance. Anchored by Charles Boyer’s superb performance as a lawyer-priest whose integrity turns him into a reluctant detective, the excellent cast includes William Demarest in an unusually substantial and moving role as the go-to parish sorehead, and little-remembered character actor Lyle Bettger as an intriguing, agnostic antihero.

Preservation funding provided by The Louis B. Mayer Foundation and The Carl David Memorial Fund for Film Preservation. 

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.