Francesco (1988) from Johnny Web

Imagine the casting conferences they had for this movie.

"OK, who will be our Saint Francis of Assisi, humble servant of god, pacifist, mystic, lover of the poor and diseased, and symbol of the harmony between man and nature"

"Well, JB, we need an actor who is glowing with compassion, who is self-effacing and asexual, and whose eyes reflect a constant inner peace as well as a deep spirituality"

"I have it. I have our man. Let me just throw this out to the crowd. Mickey Rourke"

No more review needed. Mickey Rourke as St Francis of Assisi.

That says it all. The only contender that springs to mind for the worst casting of all time is John Wayne as Genghis Kahn in "The Conqueror". Mickey Rourke? Really, what were they thinking? The Mick never combed his hair, and he whipped it out in public a lot. Francis did those things. Do you think that was the basis for casting him?

To the movie's credit, it was really about the 1200's, and not about the 1960's like Zefferelli's version, and it was a reasonable (if boring) speculation of what this great legend might really have been like as a man. With Edward Norton in the role, this might be a pretty good flick.

I'll tell you one thing - Rourke has several nude or shirtless scenes, and I learned that St Francis had some pretty good pecs on 'im. I guess he was probably our most buff saint. Not to mention our most tattooed. This shed a new light on the dimensions of the man. Mystic, servant of God, gym rat. I guess the vow of poverty doesn't extend to memberships at Gold's

You have to rent this movie just to see a couple minutes of Mick full of beatific grace. Yup, he was full of it all right.

IMDB summary: 5.6 out of 10.

DVD info from Amazon.

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