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3.5
8 Ratings

The First Legion

Directed by Douglas Sirk
United States, 1951
Drama

Synopsis

A Jesuit priest (Charles Boyer) undergoes a crisis of faith when he witnesses what may or may not have been a miracle.

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The First Legion Directed by Douglas Sirk

Awards & Festivals

Writers Guild of America

1952 | Nominee: Best Written American Low-Budget (Screen)

Critics reviews

Sirk extends this balancing act with a subdued, deep-focus visual style and the embattled character of Charles Boyer’s lawyer turned Jesuit, whose skepticism threatens both the maybe-miracle and his role with the church. All this measurement concludes in an transcendent ending that Bosley Crowther deemed at the time to be “mentally disturbing,” but more persuasively seems to be Sirk’s marvelous reflexiveness coming on in the end, movingly acknowledging that equanimity can only get you so far.
December 30, 2015
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Regarding priests with such respect of course make Hollywood struggle to portray them entertainingly, to make them seem even human—Hitchcock wrestled with pallid humor (jokes about umbrellas and bicycles and stuff) in I Confess, but to little avail. Boyer has a kind of magnificent gravitas and effortless seriousness rare in a movie star—he can do this stuff in his sleep, but I prefer him when he’s a bit naughty.
December 17, 2015
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THE FIRST LEGION turns on the question of what a miracle might look like, how we might recognize it—and how we might represent it on screen. THE FIRST LEGION, outwardly less energetic and less stylized than Sirk’s color films that would soon follow, is nonetheless equally roused by the expressive challenge of filmmaking.
October 02, 2015
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