The Singer Not the Song
|The Singer Not the Song|
|Directed by||Roy Ward Baker|
|Produced by||Roy Ward Baker|
|Screenplay by||Nigel Balchin|
|Based on||The Singer Not the Song
by Audrey Erskine-Lindop
|Music by||Philip Green|
|Edited by||Roger Cherrill|
|Distributed by||Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
A priest, Father Michael Keogh (John Mills), is sent by Rome to Quantana, a remote Mexican town which is under the control of a ruthless bandit, Anacleto Komachi (Dirk Bogarde). Anacleto is educated and intelligent, and is "down" on the Church, but he finds in Keogh a man he strangely admires and with whom he can have intelligent conversation. However, he does not allow this to distract him from his goal: to expunge the priest from his fiefdom at any cost.
The film is, first and foremost, a story of good versus evil, with the priest in the role of a redeemer who comes to save the villagers, and the bandito as the devil incarnate intent on owning their souls. Each seeks to drive the other out.
The character of Anacleto is intriguing in that he shows the willingness to become a better person, yet underlying he sees the corruption and hypocrisy in the Church and on those grounds, rather than on evil ones, he cannot bring himself to embrace it. Meanwhile the Church has, since the film was made, revealed to an even more disturbing degree the scandals and outrages over which it has presided and which have occurred within it, rendering more subtle and intriguing the contrast between the two men, whose mutual struggle to drive each other out ends as we might expect—neither wins.
- Dirk Bogarde as Anacleto Comachi
- John Mills as Father Michael Keogh
- Mylène Demongeot as Locha de Cortinez
- Laurence Naismith as Old Uncle
- John Bentley as Police Captain
- Leslie French as Father Gomez
- Eric Pohlmann as Presidente
- Nyall Florenz as Vito
- Roger Delgado as Pedro de Cortinez
- Philip Gilbert as Phil Brown
- Selma Vaz Dias as Chela
- Laurence Payne as Pablo
Richard Burton was going to star in the film at one stage.
When the Rank Organisation insisted that John Mills play the priest, Dirk Bogarde became so incensed that he told director Roy Ward Baker, "I promise you, if Johnny plays the priest I will make life unbearable for everyone concerned". The film failed at the box office, but has since developed a cult following due to its camp homosexual context and over the top performance by the black clad leather pants worn by Bogarde.
- Leo Genn Purchases Old Mexico Story; Rex Reason's Name Restored Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 4 Sep 1954: 11.
- Frank Miller. 'The Singer not the Song', Turner Classic Movies accessed 8 August 2012
- "Burton Will Star in French Movie: Teamed With Mile. Moreau in 'Moderate Cantabile' -- Busy on Screen, Stage, TV". New York Times. 20 January 1960. p. 25.
- Roy Ward Baker Obituary at Daily Telegraph