A priest arrives at a mission post in china accompanied by a young native girl who has joined him along the way. His job is to relieve the existing priest who is too old & weak to continue with the upkeep of the church. Wh... more »en communist soldiers seize the church they must flee to the border. Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 02/12/2008 Starring: William Holden Frances Nuyen Run time: 125 minutes Rating: Nr« less
An old classic with a theme of Religion vs Communism....still going on today.
Great acting that actually tells a story...no special effects.
An exercise in temptation and sexual frustration.
Mr. T | San Diego, CA USA | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poor William Holden! He never got to make a romantic movie with the beautiful France Nuyen! He almost made "The World of Susie Wong" with her, but she got pulled and the equally gorgeous Nancy Kwan was substituted. Here in "Satan Never Sleeps", France is totally in love with William Holden, but unfortunately for her (and him) he is a Catholic Priest. Williams character goes through some big struggles with temptation but never gives up his vows. Just when he seems to be at the breaking point, an event happens that changes the life of France's character and their relationship. Not a romantically satisfying movie at all. But, I like both Holden's and France's performances so it was worth seeing. You will see more great footage of France Nuyen in this film than any other. She is at her beauty prime!"
CHINA FROM 1927 THROUGH THE 1945 REVOLUTION
Kay's Husband | Virginia, U.S.A. | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
The movie SATAN NEVER SLEEPS and the mass market paperback from Pocket Books, Cardinal edition #C429, were both released in 1962. The movie opened in New York City on Febrary 22, 1962, in what would be Clifton Webb's final motion picture. It was also one of only two movies that Webb made without his trademark mustache.
Pearl Buck was one of the two writers of the script, she knew China well, eventually earning a Masters degree and working as a missonary in China during the years 1914-1933. She was tutored in Chinese with English becoming her second language. Her parents had been Presbyterian missonaires before her with Pearl living in several cities in China including Nanking, Shanghai, and a small rural village named Suzhon, which must have resembled the village of SATAN NEVER SLEEPS. Buck, a Phi Beta Kappa, eventually went on to receive the Pulizer Prize in 1932 and the first American woman writer in 1938 to receive a Nobel Prize in literature.
She and her family were eyewitnesses to at least one shooting battle between Chang Kai-Sheks troops, Communist forces, and assorted warlords in 1927, a battle in which several westerners were killed. At one point, Buck and her family had to go into hiding due to the neumerous bullets that were flying around. Conditions in China continued to be dangerous up to and even after the 1945 Communist uprising.
The movie, SATAN NEVER SLEEPS, carries several issues that Pearl Buck saw and lived through during her earlier life in China. Especially the issue of tug of war between Christianity and aetheism. She also would have lived among the peasants of that time no doubt sharing many episodes that the movie portrays. Whether a viewer appreciates this movie or not it represents a story that has many elements of truth and would have been one not completely objective to Pearl Buck. Her script helps bring sobering reality to the events pictured on the movie screen.
I first saw the movie in 1962 shortly before shipping out to Japan where I was to serve on a military base between Tokyo and Yokohama. I later found out from one of Pearl's books on Japan that she too had lived in that area of the Tokaido Road on one of her family's return trip from China.
The movie remains one of my favorites though I cannot exactly say why, for it is a movie with much travail and human suffering. And to this day China is still a land of much travail. But be that as it may, the movie is one I have watched many times. Maybe it is the dialogue between Holden and Webb, maybe it because in the end, though many innocents have died, the 'devil' returns to the church and represents all the good that must yet remain in China. No doubt about it, it is a film that will leave most watchers with many thoughts and impressions.
Searing Indictment of Red China
MARGOT SHEEHAN | Gotham City | 02/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I came across the DVD release of this film I was surprised at how recently it was made. I saw the film a number of times many years ago (not always on television) and vaguely imagined it dated from the early Fifties. I was also surprised to find it was made by Leo McCarey, who is mostly known for his popular comedies starring the Marx Brothers or a cassock-clad Bing Crosby.
Because it is a story of Catholic missionaries, the plot appears superficially to be a tale of conflict between the earnest, civilized Christian West and the cruel, backwards, self-satisfied Asiatics who regard the Westerners as 'barbarians.' Cultural historians might also describe the film as part of the late-50s/early-60s propaganda campaign designed to encourage American military support of the (Catholic, Westernized) South Vietnamese. However, if the film were no more than all this it would have no relevance today, when Red China has changed its trappings but is mightier than ever. The moral void at the center of the Red Chinese soul is not something than can be described by trade statistics or industrial output or the type of consumer goods now available to office workers in Shanghai. It is a fundamentally a religious problem. The film is more than an allegory, and the Satan in the title is not a figure of speech."
Sin and redemption, temptation and restraint, in China
W. Walker | westminster md | 07/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know how closely this film follows the then recently published novel of the same title by Pearl Buck, but the screen writer might well have been Senator Joe McCarthy. Basically, a morality play in which the Chinese communists are the bad guys and the Western Catholic priests and their Chinese converts are the good guys. It also highlights the not uncommon problem of a woman falling in love with a priest and the intense conflict this can cause to both. I would like to offer my interpretation of the later part of the film, which is where many viewers have a problem. Many don't feel the rape of Siu-Lan was a necessary nor desirable part of the story and can't imagine that she would later willingly accept the rapist as her husband. As I see it, the rape serves 3 purposes in the story. First, it is another indication that the communist army is out of control. Rapes are a common accompaniment of wars, major revolutions and civil wars. Usually, under these circumstances, they are not punished. Secondly, the resulting child serves as probably the deciding factor in the eventual acceptance of Siu-Lan and Father O'Banion(William Holden)of the rapist(Ho San) as Siu-Lan's husband. Ho San is thus rewarded for seeing the light and reconverting from Maoism to Catholicism. He is also being rewarded for saving the lives of Siu-Lan and Father O'Banion in their attempt to escape to Hong Kong. If he had not come along and interjected his own plan for the escape, the others would have died along with Father Bovard in the bombing of his car. Thirdly, the rape serves as another test of the Christian ideal of forgiveness of sins(turn the other cheek). Previously, Father O'Banion was forced to decide whether to strike back when Ho San repeatedly slapped him. At first, he did nothing, but finally punched Ho San. The message is that the practice of this ideal has limits. Apparently, over time and in view of subsequent events, the rape eventually was considered to be within these limits. Although this might seem implausible to many viewers, it wouldn't exactly be the first time in history it has happened."