6.7/10
908
24 user 4 critic

Mass Appeal (1984)

PG | | Drama | 14 December 1984 (USA)
A popular Connecticut priest shields a seminary rebel from the wrath of a stern monsignor.

Director:

Glenn Jordan

Writers:

Bill C. Davis (screenplay), Bill C. Davis (play)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Father Tim Farley
Zeljko Ivanek ... Mark Dolson
Charles Durning ... Monsignor Thomas Burke
Louise Latham ... Margaret
Alice Hirson ... Mrs. Hart
Helene Heigh Helene Heigh ... Mrs. Hart's Mother
Sharee Gregory ... Marion Hart
James Ray James Ray ... Father De Nicola
Lois De Banzie Lois De Banzie ... Mrs. Dolson
Talia Balsam ... Liz Dolson
Jerry Hardin ... Mr. Dolson
R.J. Williams ... Boy
Noni White ... Mother
Gloria Stuart ... Mrs. Curry
Maggie Gwinn Maggie Gwinn ... Mrs. Quinn
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Storyline

Father Tim Farley, who presides over St. Francis Church, is arguably the most popular priest within the diocese led by Monsignor Thomas Burke, Father Farley's popularity as witnessed by the size and enthusiasm of the congregation at his church services. Many see Monsignor Burke as autocratic, he having a very narrow and traditionally conservative view of the church in addition. Father Farley often socializes with Monsignor Burke, the two most recently having gone on vacation together to Yugoslavia, but Father Farley sees this socializing more as a professional obligation than a true want, Father Farley who will tell what he considers little white lies to get out of many of those social commitments. Father Farley will tell those little white lies in more circumstances to achieve his desired end, those lies of which his devoted, loyal and devout housekeeper Margaret refuses to be a part. Although not having much to do with the diocese's seminary, Father Farley plea bargains with the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Somewhere between laughter and tears, they found something to believe in.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Algo en que creer See more »

Filming Locations:

Claremont, California, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,945,658

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,945,658
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Third and final cinema movie of director Glenn Jordan. The other two theatrical feature films were The Buddy System (1984) and Only When I Laugh (1981). Jordan predominantly worked in television. See more »

Quotes

Father Tim Farley: You're a lunatic! And Christ NEEDS lunatics. But the trouble with lunatics is, they don't know how to survive.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Dune/Starman/Mass Appeal/Runaway (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty good, but it should have better used its "pulpit"...
27 August 1999 | by dexter-3See all my reviews

"Mass Appeal" is enjoyable on several levels. It works as an examination of the depth of contemporary religious beliefs and their current role in our society, as an indictment of an inflexible system (the Catholic church), and as a comment on the travails of two very different men (ostensibly of the same "cloth") seeking spiritual happiness. Unfortunately, as a "mass appeal" film, not all of the issues are satisfactorily handled, but the film is entertaining nonetheless. Greg Cundiff's excellent review neatly summarizes some key plot issues and holes. For example, I found Ivanek's/Dolson's devotion and desire compelling, but what on earth would make him think that a parish of strangers would listen to his excoriations and then embrace him as their pastor? I agree with Cundiff that the lack of clarity surrounding this fundamental plot point does not help the film. I was also disappointed that Durning's character was unambiguously drawn as the heavy. A more balanced approach may have helped here. Farley's attempt at leading a discussion of the role of women priests is unusually framed, but ultimately leaves the viewer desiring a more compelling resolution to the issue.

Strongly on the plus side, Lemmon is an excellent choice for the lead (whi ch allows him to display his comic and dramatic talents equally). Farley's story is as compelling as Dolson's, and Lemmon squeezes every drop of drama from the script. His final "mass appeal" is quite affecting. Ivanek is intense as Dolson, but Charles Durning's role could be played by anyone. The film is nicely "shot" and has an exhilarating soundtrack at points.

A "7" out of "10."


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