Mandeville, LA – In this 1962 film starring Maximilian Schell (Judgement At Nuremberg, A Bridge Too Far) covers the life of St. Giuseppe – Joseph – of Cupertino, that little village in Italy not home of mega-Mac maker Apple. St Joseph was renowned for his supernatural power to levitate while praying in ecstasy to Our Lady and this film captures that with a nice dose of humor thrown in for good measure. Schell is priceless as our Saint, portraying him with the intellect of a child but the sweetness of a man who only thought of pleasing others in his profound humility.
You’ll instantly recognize Ricardo Montalban as the bad friar who thinks Giuseppe is possessed. Montalban will show you the skills that landed him the leads in Fantasy Island and Wrath of Khan. Motalban plays the uppity friar Don Raspi who jealously believes that Saint Joseph must be possessed by Satan as the source of his levitation powers and convinces the Vatican’s inquisitor that an exorcism is in order.
Giuseppe’s mother is played by then Italian film-star Lea Padavoni who steals the show in every scene she appears in including her hilarious reproach of the Abbot at Cupertino during vespers, demanding that he take the dismissed Giuseppe back because she doesn’t want him.
On the real life of St Joseph, Catholic historian Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira writes
“You can imagine the great confidence in Our Lady St. Joseph of Cupertino had to have in order to avoid falling into despair. He was perfectly capable of feeling the scorn that people had for him, and he also probably considered that such a reaction had a basis in reality, that is, that he was unintelligent, ugly, dirty, etc.
So what did he do? He continued on without concern about himself, without discouragement, but thinking only of the glory of God and Our Lady. Isn’t this a beautiful thing? I think that it is incomparably more beautiful than being very intelligent. Doing this, he was imitating Our Lord in His Passion, being despised by the populace and receiving all kinds of outrages for the glory of God.”
This film is great family fare and has nothing objectionable in it unless you crave Hellraiser 6, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and even laughed out loud a few times. I give it 4 Reagan’s.