The Hoodlum Priest

  • 1961
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This rather improbable but ofttimes likable film stars Murray as the real life Father Clark who became famous for his wonderful work in helping juvenile delinquents in St. Louis, as well as trying mightily to rehabilitate ex-convicts. Dullea is a young thief who gets a job in a produce market through Murray after his release from prison. He falls in love...read more

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This rather improbable but ofttimes likable film stars Murray as the real life Father Clark who became famous for his wonderful work in helping juvenile delinquents in St. Louis, as well as trying mightily to rehabilitate ex-convicts. Dullea is a young thief who gets a job in a produce

market through Murray after his release from prison. He falls in love with socialite Henley and they plan to wed. Then the firm's manager accuses Dullea of wrongdoing and summarily fires him, even though he is innocent. Realizing that he has been fired simply because he is an ex-con, Dullea

becomes enraged and seeks vengeance by later attempting to rob his former employer. In the process, a company employee is killed and Dullea is sent to prison to await execution. Murray consoles Dullea in his last moments, telling him: "When I walk out of this gas chamber, I want you to keep

thinking of what I've told you about St. Dismas. Remember, the only person in the Bible who went to heaven right away was a convict just like you." Murray, of course, was referring to St. Dismas, the good thief who was crucified with Christ, Dismas also being the middle name of real-life priest

Clark.

In addition to starring in this film, Murray also served as producer and script co-writer, and he did a fine job in all areas. Shot for less than $400,000, the film nevertheless has the look of a first-class production. Haskell Wexler's crisp black-and-white photography is top-flight. Murray is

properly convincing as the priest as this is a role and a story he obviously relished. Dullea, who made his film debut here, is compelling and sympathetic as the victimized "good thief."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This rather improbable but ofttimes likable film stars Murray as the real life Father Clark who became famous for his wonderful work in helping juvenile delinquents in St. Louis, as well as trying mightily to rehabilitate ex-convicts. Dullea is a young thi… (more)

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