Scene Spotlight: Easter Hymn scene on ‘The Purple Plain’

image courtesy of river valley church

Happy Easter Sunday, friends!

Today’s always a special time for me, a reminder how each day is a gift from the Lord and I’m always thankful for the Christ’ unparalleled sacrifice on the cross on my behalf and every creature living on earth.

Last year, I posted three film recommendations for Easter  if you’re in the mood for some spiritual-themed films to watch not just this weekend, but any other time of the year. I don’t know if people have any Easter movie-viewing traditions the way they do around Christmas. I might watch parts of Ben-Hur Sunday afternoon after church, it’s been a while since I saw it and reading Max’s review recently made me want to see it again.

Another one I might actually watch is David and Bathsheba, which is fitting considering this past Thursday was Gregory Peck’s birthday. I have mentioned that film last year on one of my GP marathon updates, it’s one of Peck’s lesser-known films that was actually pretty huge back in the day, earning five Oscar nominations including Best Screenplay and the biggest box office success of 1951. Though the title role suggests where the film’s focus, that is the romance between the two leads, it’s Peck’s David that carry the whole film. The highlight for me is towards the last 20-min of the film, a solemn sequence of David is praying in front of the Ark of the Covenant, it packed an emotional punch and as Martin Scorsese once said, that scene”…showed Peck’s ability to convey the darkness of the human soul.” I do think that scene is truly the heart of the film. I highly recommend that one if you’re looking for an alternative to The Ten Commandments. 

Ok, now on to the scene spotlight…  this time it’s from Peck’s most underrated WWII drama The Purple Plain.

I’ve mentioned this film before here — Peck played a suicidal squadron leader who found a new purpose in life when he met a Burmese girl Anna, at a Christian missionary camp near his base. In this scene, Forrester is introduced to Miss McNab, the Christian missionary Anna’s family is living with. The most amusing part of the movie is seeing Peck singing the Easter hymn ‘Hallelujah,’ all the while he couldn’t take his eyes off the girl. Definitely a small indie that’s worth your while, it also boasts one of the most-unexpected yet heart-warming movie endings ever.

Have a blessed Easter, everybody! What film(s) are you watching this Easter weekend?

20 thoughts on “Scene Spotlight: Easter Hymn scene on ‘The Purple Plain’

  1. Pingback: - Scene Spotlight: Easter Hymn scene on 'The Purple Plain …

    1. Thanks Novia. You probably get time off for Paskah right? We actually don’t get any day off since it falls on a Sunday 😦

  2. paulaguthat

    This was actually on TCM last week, and I caught most of it. I think it’s one of my favorite Peck movies ever now. Not the usual Peck role. He really does make you believe he’s got nothing to live for until he meets the girl. Then a bunch of other stuff happens…I won’t spoil it for you guys but keep an eye out for it.

    1. Oh glad you saw it. It really is so massively underrated but it featured one of Peck’s best performances I think. I mean, the way he confessed his feelings to the girl, oh it broke my heart every time. I love the tale of survival aspect of it and seeing Gregory look so unkempt and disheveled was quite a change.

  3. Never heard of this one, then again its not really my genre, being both jewish and not that into spiritual films. Anyways my weekend is kind of busy as yesterday i was visiting my dads side of the family for Passover, and today i will be seeing my moms side of the family for Easter.

    1. Oh The Purple Plain is not a spiritual film at all. If you watch the scene, Gregory’s character is obviously not a Christian. I just find it cute to see him sing in a film and it happens to be an Easter hymn!

      Glad to see you participating on both holidays. The church I went to actually invited someone from ‘Jews for Jesus’ to give us a rundown on what a Passover Seder is like.

  4. Ted S.

    I’m not much of a religious person but I do like watching films with religious theme, most of them are pretty entertaining and I don’t feel like they’re preachy about their message. In fact I might finish watching the second disc of Ben-Hur later tonight, I do love that chariot race, still pretty impressive by today’s standard action scene.

    I’ve never heard of The Purple Plain, sounds pretty interesting. Kind of reminds me of Lord Jim starring Peter O’Toole, do check it out if you never seen it. It’s not on Blu-ray yet though.

    1. That’s because you’re an open-minded person, Ted, good for you! Yes I agree that chariot race scene is indeed glorious and still hard to top even today. Because really, it’s not about CGI and what technology could do but more about knowing how to direct a scene. Certainly William Wyler and Charlton Heston were masters at what they do. I might watch that scene tonight, it’s been a while since I watched it but it never fails to take my breath away!

      The Purple Plain is great for fans of war dramas. It’s more character-driven and relies on Peck’s charisma, but he’s got plenty to offer obviously. The romance is also very understated, not overblown like a lot of movies back then.

  5. PrairieGirl

    I’m the last person who is a fan war dramas, but The Purple Plain is more about perseverance and trust than anything and almost all of it occurs outside the normal shoot-em-up war scenario. (Sorry guys, hope I’m not spoiling this for you now by taking out most of the violence, but there is still conflict here ;-D). I think this is one of Gregory Peck best roles.

    1. Yeah I’m with you Becky but this one is not about violence and gore but more about the triumph of hope and the human spirit. Absolutely Peck’s best, too bad not many people have seen it.

  6. FUNK

    Happy Easter!
    Purple Plain is another one I got to see once again, haven’t seen it in ages. Having watched The Greatest Story Ever Told last year, this Easter I watched The Last Temptation of Christ and what a performance by William DaFoe.

    1. Hi Funk, oh I’m glad you’ve seen this film. As for the film you saw this Easter, I don’t think I’ll ever touch that with a ten-foot pole.

  7. filmplicity

    A very worthwhile and appropriate post, as I’ve come to expect from you Ruth, and a lovely choice of a scene from what looks like a fine film. That Gregory Peck is just too handsome to be allowed, and so manly and pensive, so much happening behind those dark eyes. No wonder you admire him. As for Easte-time movies, Irina and I watched The Passion of The Christ on Palm Sunday as the Gospel reading for that day was the Passion. It seemed appropriate and is always a good source of raw material for prayer. Thanks for this contemplative post Ruth, I count on Flixchatter for that 🙂

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