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THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Susan Whitney, Sherry Jackson, Sammy Ogg, Gilbert Roland
Director:  John Brahm
Audio:  Dolby Mono
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Features:  Theatrical Trailer
Length:  102 Minutes
Release Date:  April 4, 2006

“Dear child, I will be with you always.  I will never abandon you…my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge.”

Film ***1/2

In 1917, Portugal was a nation newly in the grip of socialism.  The state was dominant and religion was repressed, with many churches relegated to small provincial places like Fatima.  The first World War was raging, Russia was about to attempt to lead its Leninist revolution beyond its borders, and Europe was in chaos.

It was out of this chaos, to the most unlikely of people, in the most unlikely of places, that came the most unlikely of miracles.  For there, in Fatima, in a poor shepherd’s field, a Lady would appear to three children.  And Her message would shake up the entire world.

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima chronicles the extraordinary story of the three shepherd children Lucia (Whitney), Jacinta (Jackson) and Francisco (Ogg), and how they experienced a wondrous vision of a Lady in white, and how they obeyed Her request to return on that day on consecutive months to hear Her message.

They might have been better off if they could have kept it secret, but word leaked out, and soon, month after month, more and more people showed up to be present when the Lady appeared to the children.  Their families, their priests, and certainly their government found their story hard to accept. 

The local magistrate in particular saw the acclamation of a miracle as a seditious act.  He would jail the priest at Fatima, close the church, and even threaten the children with the most horrible punishments imaginable if they didn’t confess to their “lie”.  But the stalwart young souls never denied their Lady, even when facing death.

The Lady’s message was for mankind to cease offending God with its sins, and to pray the Rosary for the conversion of sinners.  She warned of another even more terrible war to come.  She spoke of Russia becoming a threat to world peace.  And She promised a miracle so that all the world would know the children spoke the truth about what they saw.

Hundreds of thousands descended upon Fatima on the day of the promised miracle.  And the sight did not disappoint.  Even people from a hundred or more miles away from Fatima testified they could see the heavenly vision brought forth by the Lady, who also at long last confirmed her identity as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This film is a kindhearted look at this miraculous story, viewing the visions and the miracle with the same childlike wonder as the three little ones from Fatima.  At the time it was made in 1951, many from the multitudes who saw the miracle were still alive and still affirming it with wonder and trembling.  Francisco and Jacinta had gone home to heaven early, as Our Lady had predicted, but Lucia still lived as a nun and still shared the story with the countless pilgrims who would come to the church at Fatima to pay their respects and celebrate the remarkable miracle.

The Miracle of Fatima is not one that can be easily dismissed or explained away…and as such, the words Our Lady had for us linger on in importance.  As William Thomas Walsh wrote in his definitive book on the event, “The future of our civilization, our liberties, our very existence may depend upon the acceptance of her commands.”

Video **

It doesn’t look like much work was done on this film for its DVD release.  The age is apparent in the form of grain, scratches and spots and a tendency toward more muted colors.  It’s watchable, but a bit of a letdown compared to how luminous other great film classics look on disc.

Audio **

Likewise, the audio is passable but unremarkable save for Max Steiner’s Oscar nominated score.  Spoken words are clean and clear, but the overall effect is thin and not very dynamic.

Features *

Only a trailer.

Summary:

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima is an extraordinary film about an extraordinary event…possibly one of the most significant events of the 20th century.  See it.  And believe.

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