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Flying Padre

Posted by martinteller on December 2, 2013

8 minutes documenting the efforts of Father Fred Stadtmuller, a New Mexico Catholic priest whose territory is so spread out that he flies his own plane to reach out to his parishioners.  Seeing this completes my viewing of Kubrick’s filmography.  I am not generally a completist, except for a handful of my favorite directors.  I’ve seen everything ever directed by Satyajit Ray, for instance, and everything I’ve been able to get my hands on by a select few others (I’ve probably seen more Ingmar Bergman than all but a very small group of superfans).  Generally, however, I don’t seek out every last scrap of film by a certain director.  Kubrick makes for a compelling completism goal, however.  One, because his films are so important and beloved (almost all of his features are included on the TSPDT 1000 list).  But mainly because his entire output is available on Blu-Ray… the only other director of note whom I can think of with that same distinction is Jean Vigo, and his films total up to less than 3 hours.

So it’s a fairly easy and worthwhile task to earn yourself the Complete Stanley Kubrick merit badge.  Still, the early shorts are of little interest for any other reason.  His first, Day of the Fight, is somewhat entertaining, but The Seafarers and this one are dull and dry.  They’re director-for-hire jobs and do little to distinguish themselves.  The photography here is quite expertly done, as one would expect.  The material leaves much to be desired.  Most of the scenes feel staged, and even then they contain little dramatic or thematic weight.  The padre is a swell dude, taking a sick baby to the hospital or settling a squabble between two youngsters, but he’s hardly a compelling figure.  The narration by Bob Hite is a generic drone, supplying a human interest story without the interest.  At eight minutes, it’s worth watching to unlock the Achievement, but don’t expect much.  Rating: Poor (42)


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