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Martin Luther (1953)


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I could be wrong and just wasn't able to find it, but it doesn't look like there's a thread for this yet. So while nominations are up, I decided to find out if anyone else here has seen it. The thread for the modern Joseph Fiennes version is here.

So, anyone else seen it? Like it? Don't like it? I've always been partial to this one because it has so much more content to it, and because Niall MacGinnis is such an eloquent and passionate Luther. I realize that just because Luther himself is controversial, some of the A&F crowd may not be able to appreciate this. But, it's a fantastic story. It's fascinating church history. And, the 1953 version sort of keeps track of the big picture.

See, Fiennes is a good actor and all, and I liked him in the role, but ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5P7QkHCfaI&feature=related

... I don't know ... I just sort of doubt that he softly whispered his Diet of Worms speech.

MacGinnis thunders it, and while, by modern day standards he might look a little crazy ...

... his argument actually sounds like a theological logical deduction that you have to follow or be damned. Not quite the same as Fiennes' somewhat uncertain and tenatively soft-spoken interpretation. From what I've read of Luther's real-life personality, he was a little on the rambunctious side. So while it's alright to like both verions (and I do), I have a particularly special appreciation for the old one.

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FWIW, as I recall, we discussed the 1953 and 1973 films a fair bit in the thread on the 2003 film, too.

Yes, the 1953 actor is more confident in his proclamations than the 2003 actor. But the 1953 actor is also more rational and soft-spoken when he wants to be than the historical Luther was. The historical Luther inflamed the passions of the people and then loudly encouraged the princes to suppress the people when the people got out of hand, but neither the 1953 Luther nor the 2003 Luther do this. The 1953 Luther firmly but calmly tells the people to back down from their revolt, while the 2003 film weeps over the bloodshed committed by the princes -- and we can debate which of these deviations from history is the more egregious, but the basic point here is that both of these films shy away from the fact that Luther basically encouraged the violence against the peasants.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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... his argument actually sounds like a theological logical deduction that you have to follow or be damned. Not quite the same as Fiennes' somewhat uncertain and tenatively soft-spoken interpretation. From what I've read of Luther's real-life personality, he was a little on the rambunctious side. So while it's alright to like both verions (and I do), I have a particularly special appreciation for the old one.

It's another case in point of the Aragorn Complex: All modern heroes must be reluctant and self-doubting (see The Prince of Egypt's Moses, Lion Witch Wardrobe's Peter Pevensie, and of course LOTR's Aragorn).

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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