Director’s dream began in a Cincinnati Catholic high school

Director Joe De Francesco and associate producer Wendy Drucker (Photo by Rose Pacatte)

Director Joseph De Francesco never forgot the impression that Stephen Vincent Benet’s epic 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winning poem made when he was a student at St. Gregory’s, a high school diocesan minor seminary in Cincinnati. There he found, and admittedly stole, a recording of the 1953 Broadway performed recitation of the poem by Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson, and Raymond Massey. It was adapted and directed by Charles Laughton. De Francesco still has the record.For his junior year, deciding the … [Read more...]

List of movies about Catholics (Catholic history) in the United States

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Movies about Catholics (Catholic History) in the USA I was asked if I had a list of films about American Catholic history, life, events, and people. Since I didn't, I set out to compile one and asked the help of my good friend and favorite Church historian (and fellow writer at Patheos)  Dr. Pat McNamera.  After reading the list, please feel free to add to it in the Reply section. Thank you!   DocumentariesWomen & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in AmericaArchbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant … [Read more...]

Pianist brings mother’s Holocaust experiences to life

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Live theater is always fresh even when the story breaks your heart. The actors pour themselves into the feat of becoming another and convincing us that their pain, joy, dilemmas, tragedy and triumph are real.Through the kindness of friends, Daughter of St. Paul Sr. Marie Hunt and I were able to experience "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" at the Geffen Playhouse at UCLA.The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater within the playhouse is intimate at only 115 seats, or parlor armchairs, arranged on … [Read more...]

The Pianist of Willesden Lane to open in Boston Nov 23 – Dec 16

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This enthralling and deeply moving true story, starring pianist Mona Golabek, will have a two-week run at the Paramount Center, Emerson College, Boston. It has drama, humor, romance - the whole package. It is about hope, resilience and the power of music.I will post my review in the next week or so but this is an experience that will renew your faith in humanity and inspire your faith because it is how Christians and Jews can be together. It is excellent for children 12+.I cannot think … [Read more...]

War Horse review

Among the many themes that emerge or converge in the films of director, producer, writer Steven Spielberg are lonely children and war, specifically World War II. From the kids in “E.T”: the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) to the Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” (1993),  a black and white film but viewers may remember the little Jewish girl in a red coat, waiting for transport to the Nazi death camps. And from “The Color Purple” (1985) for which he deserved an Oscar, to one of my personal favorite’s, th … [Read more...]

Religious Education Congress 2011: A vibrant human mosaic

The labyrinth ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Ask anyone who participated in the Religious Education Congress March 17-20 how they would describe the event in terms of art, and they will tell you: It’s the people. Ask author/speaker Jesuit Fr. James Martin and he will tell you that the congress -- not Disneyland across the street -- is the happiest place on earth.Charity Sr. Edith Prendergast, who heads the Los Angeles archdiocese’s Office for Religious Education, told me that she loves the con … [Read more...]

Teresa Deevy; Lost Works Return to the Stage

Teresa Deevy 1894-1963 Theater aims to rescue Irish Catholic playwright from unmerited obscurityBy Retta BlaneyNational Catholic ReporterShe had six plays produced at Dublin, Ireland’s Abbey Theater in six years in the 1930s. When her seventh met with rejection, she began writing for radio, despite having been deaf since 19, the result of Ménière’s disease. In 1954 she was elected to the prestigious Irish Academy of Letters. The Irish Timescalled her one of the most significant Irish playwr … [Read more...]

Forbes on Film & Footlights

 My friend and colleague Harry Forbes has launched a new blog:Forbes on Film & FootlightsHarry is a wonderful film critic, and I am glad to see him reviewing the stage, The Great White Way (and other venues), as well.  Be sure to add Harry's blog to your RSS feed (he sometimes gets to the movies before I do!)Harry has a wonderful background (this resume is from the "about" section of his blog): "Harry Forbes has most recently reviewed film, TV, and theater for the Catholic News Se … [Read more...]


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