Streaming Suggestion: “Lilies of the Field”

I’m still Easter-ing, because it’s still Easter. So I wanted to come up with an Easter-y film for recommending this Easter Friday. (Also, yes. I’m done turning “Easter” into less liturgically appropriate parts of speech. Stickler.)

There aren’t actually that many, come to think of it. Especially if you exclude things like Hop and Yogi the Easter Bear – which…UghPleaseDon’tEven. So, after considering a few films only-tangentially-connected-to/in-the-same-general-time-frame-and-locale as the feast in question — The Robe is available, for example, as is Ben Hur($) — I settled on one I’d describe as “Easterish in spirit, if not in letter.” (OK, OK. Seriously. I’m done now. Truly, I am. Sorry.)

Lilies of the Field, available from AMAZON PRIME and HULU PLUS. And IMDB. And for a reasonable price, from YOUTUBE($) and GOOGLEPLAY($) and ITUNES($$) and VUDU($). In fact, I’m pretty sure you can watch it for free on HULU as long as you’re willing to put up with a couple-half-dozen commercials. Which you should be, because it’s definitely worth it.

A down-on-his-luck man’s car overheats in the desert and finds himself on a farm run by nuns.

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Two thoughts as I watched it this time ’round:

First, you know how they say that some actors just have “It?” That whatever the reason may be, the camera loves them? Well, that’s Sidney Poitier down to an Absolute T. My goodness, he’s magnetic. His Homer Smith is such a warm, genuine, energetic and engaging character, and the physicality Poitier brings to the role is a big part of that. And while the repercussions of his Best Actor win in 1964 have been well and deservedly documented, don’t make the mistake of considering it as a “merely” historical achievement. On the level of cinematic performance, it’s a truly worthy bit of acting. Great, great stuff, and a character you will not soon forget.

Second, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I do believe Jerry Goldsmith’s ear-wormy score is the first that I ever truly noticed. Unsurprisingly, really, because it’s fantastic. And because it puts the perfect musical capstone on one of my favorite finales ever. (SPOILERS! there, but oh, so worth it. Gives me goosebumps, even now.)

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.


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