The Left Hand of God
|The Left Hand of God|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Edward Dmytryk|
|Produced by||Buddy Adler|
|Written by||Alfred Hayes
William Edmund Barrett (novel)
Lee J. Cobb
|Music by||Victor Young|
|Editing by||Dorothy Spencer|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release dates||21 September 1955|
|Running time||87 min.|
|Box office||$4 million (US)|
The Left Hand of God is a 1955 drama film made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Buddy Adler, from a screenplay by Alfred Hayes, based on the novel The Left Hand of God by William Edmund Barrett. It stars Humphrey Bogart and Gene Tierney, with a supporting cast including Lee J. Cobb, Agnes Moorehead, E. G. Marshall, and Carl Benton Reid.
In 1947, Catholic priest Father O'Shea (Humphrey Bogart) makes his way to a remote mission in China to take the place of his dead predecessor. There he meets Dr. David Sigman (E.G. Marshall), Sigman's wife Beryl (Agnes Moorehead) and nurse Anne Scott (Gene Tierney), the only Western residents. They run a hospital for the surrounding villagers.
O'Shea delivers his debut Sunday sermon, first in English, then in Chinese to his appreciative parishioners. His work and his respect for local customs soon earn him their respect.
Anne, however, is made uncomfortable by her attraction to him. Beryl suggests to her husband that Anne be sent back to the United States, but he refuses to consider it. Then Beryl suggests that O'Shea go to his Protestant counterpart at another mission, Reverend Martin, for advice. He agrees.
When O'Shea meets Martin (Robert Burton), he makes a startling unsolicited confession. He is not the priest, but rather Jim Carmody, an American pilot flying supplies over The Hump during World War II. When he crashed, he was rescued by a local warlord, General Yang (Lee J. Cobb), and became his trusted second-in-command ... and his prisoner (though Yang thoughtfully had a beautiful young woman imported for him). When one of the general's soldiers killed Father O'Shea, Carmody decided to desert, masquerading as the dead priest. Carmody writes to the bishop, confessing all.
When General Yang tracks him down, he brings his army and insists that Carmody rejoin him. Carmody proposes they settle the matter with their customary game of dice, wagering five years of loyal service against his freedom and the safety of the villagers. After Yang loses, he coerces Carmody into playing again, this time for the Protestant mission. When he loses again, Yang resigns himself to perpetuating the myth of Father O'Shea, who was saintly enough to turn aside a powerful warlord.
Before Carmody leaves the mission, he tells Anne the truth.
- Humphrey Bogart as James Carmody
- Gene Tierney as Anne Scott
- Lee J. Cobb as Mieh Yang
- Agnes Moorehead as Beryl Sigman
- E. G. Marshall as Dr. David Sigman
- Jean Porter as Mary Yin
- Carl Benton Reid as Father Cornelius
- Victor Sen Yung as John Wong
- Philip Ahn as Jan Teng
- Benson Fong as Chun Tien
- Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p. 249
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, 25 January 1956
- The Left Hand of God at the American Film Institute Catalog
- The Left Hand of God at the Internet Movie Database
- The Left Hand of God at the TCM Movie Database
- The Left Hand of God at allmovie