The First Legion


1h 26m 1951

Film Details

Also Known As
Deep in Your Heart
Release Date
May 11, 1951
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Apr 1951
Production Company
Sedif Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
France and United States
Location
Beverly Hills, California, United States; Riverside--Mission Inn, California, United States; France
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The First Legion by Emmet Lavery (New York, 1 Oct 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

On more than one occasion, Father John Fulton, a young teacher at the Jesuit seminary St. Gregory's Novitiate, has been late to his classes because his passion for music carries him to classical concerts in other towns. When the father rector asks Father Marc Arnoux, John's friend, to speak with the young man, John laments the he feels he does not have a real home, but Arnoux insists that belonging somewhere is unpredictable. Elsewhere in the seminary, Dr. Peter Morell tends to Father Jose Sierra, an elderly man who has been bedridden for three years. Jose's condition has worsened and he now mumbles deliriously about the blessed Joseph Martin. Arnoux visits Jose and recognizes Peter as one of his old students from seminary. After Arnoux explains to Peter that Joseph Martin is a Jesuit and founder of the house, Peter impatiently reminds Arnoux that he was expelled from school and has since lost his faith. Late that night, John packs his bags to leave the seminary then visits Jose to say farewell. In the rector's office, Monsignor Michael Carey, the local Catholic prelate, comes to the seminary to meet Father Edward Quarterman, a Jesuit who has just returned from India. Though the monsignor is cynical about some of the Jesuits' arcane methods, the rector welcomes him as a friend. Many of the brothers then gather in the common room for a screening of Quarterman's travel films. As the lights are dimmed, Jose descends the stairs saying that Joseph Martin told him to find John. All the men are shocked at Jose's sudden recovery, but when Peter assures them that Jose was not given any treatment to prompt such a sudden return to health, they believe that it is a miracle. When John tells Arnoux that he wants to pray but cannot find the words, Arnoux suggests he turn to music and John begins to play the nearby piano. Subsequently, word of the miracle spreads and pilgrims flock to the seminary gates daily. The rector hopes that the attention will help him win his case for Rome naming Joseph Martin a saint. One day outside the seminary, Peter finds his patient, Terry Gilmartin, a young woman unable to walk because of a spinal injury, waiting in her wheelchair for a miracle. Peter insists that she leave the seminary, explaining that he is afraid she will be disappointed. Later, Arnoux, speculating that there might be a scientific explanation for the miracle, visits Peter to see Jose's charts for himself. Peter surreptitiously removes Jose's x-rays and hands Arnoux a limited record of his visits and medicines. Back at the rector's office, several of the brothers accuse Arnoux of investigating the miracle like a "criminal lawyer." The next day when Peter catches Terry faking a high temperature to avoid traveling to Europe with her mother, Peter advises Mrs. Gilmartin, Terry's mother, to take Terry on the trip. Days later Peter visits the monsignor and finds Terry taking her Latin lesson. Once Peter is alone with Terry, she asserts that she will remain in town in hopes of experiencing a miracle. Peter immediately goes to the seminary in search of Arnoux and finds him taking confessions from the novices. Peter enters the confessional and admits to Arnoux that he made Jose walk by invoking the power of suggestion. When they exit the confessional, Arnoux tells Peter he must admit to curing Jose, but Peter insists that Arnoux respect the seal of confession. Arnoux cries "blasphemy" and prays to God to help them both. Days later the rector receives a letter from the Archbishop granting a petition to consider canonizing Joseph Martin. When the rector asks Arnoux to represent their case in Rome, Arnoux refuses and insinuates that the rector was too eager to find a miracle to help his case for canonization. The two argue and the rector becomes so upset that he has a heart attack. Within hours the rector appoints Father Keene as the interim rector and then tells the brothers gathered around him "to have faith is the real miracle" and dies. Outside the rector's room, Peter informs Arnoux that he will tell everyone about the deception. Days later in the rector's office, Keene, anxious to have exclusive control of the seminary, attempts to dismiss Arnoux and Quarterman, but Quarterman hands Keene a cable from Rome giving Quarterman authority over Keene. Quarterman then announces to the brothers that Arnoux will be the new rector. Arnoux is shocked but accepts. Days later Terry sneaks into the seminary, and though she knows it is closed to the public, wheels herself into the chapel. Peter and Arnoux, who are visiting nearby, see her, but by the time they arrive, Terry is already at the altar praying. Peter and Arnoux watch as Terry gazes at the altar, praying, then pushes herself up from her wheelchair, takes several steps and faints. Peter and Arnoux are astounded by the miracle and revive her. Terry recounts that she was praying for Peter when the miracle happened and then she concludes, "God doesn't forget us."

Film Details

Also Known As
Deep in Your Heart
Release Date
May 11, 1951
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Apr 1951
Production Company
Sedif Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
France and United States
Location
Beverly Hills, California, United States; Riverside--Mission Inn, California, United States; France
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The First Legion by Emmet Lavery (New York, 1 Oct 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title for this film was Deep in Your Heart. The following written prologue appears in the onscreen credits: "Four centuries ago St. Ignatius of Loyola, a former soldier, founded a company of priests which he called The Society of Jesus-and which the world has come to know as The Jesuits. This is the story about some of these men in one small corner of the modern world."
       A November 18, 1948 Variety article stated that Joseph Lucachevitch purchased the French film production rights for $50,000 plus a percentage of the profits. Julian Duvivier was to direct the film and Lavery was to write the screenplay but apparently that production was not made.
       A June 4, 1950 Los Angeles Times article states that financing for the production was from both French and American sources. Most of the The First Legion was shot on location at the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA, however, the exterior gate of the seminary, according to a June 7, 1950 Los Angeles Daily News article, was shot at a Beverly Hill, CA home. A June 4, 1950 Los Angeles Times article states that Father Odou, a Jesuit, was technical advisor to the production and according to information contained in the copyright registry, Father Thomas J. Sullivan of Loyola University acted as a technical advisor as well.