Movie Review: Flying Padre (1951)
Flying Padre (1951)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Fred Stadtmueller, Bob Hite, Pedro
Synopsis: A New Mexico priest’s parish is so large he uses a piper cub airplane to visit the various regions.
After a promising start with Day of the Fight, Stanley Kubrick’s second film, Flying Padre, represents something of a retrograde step, not because it is a particularly bad film, but because it is such an ordinary one that offers few clues to the cinematic genius that Kubrick would soon become. He sold Day of the Fight to RKO, who were so impressed they provided him with $1500 to make another movie. The result was Flying Padre, an eight minute short which focuses on two days in the life of Catholic priest, Father Fred Stadtmueller, whose parish in South-East New Mexico was so fast that, to be able to reach all his parishioners, he had to pilot a Piper Cub light aircraft.
It’s little more than typically bland newsreel material which makes no attempt to disguise the fact that many of its scenes – including a mercy dash to take an unwell infant to hospital – are clearly staged for the camera. Kubrick does capture some nice shots of both the New Mexican landscape and the seamed, weatherbeaten faces of some of its residents. Otherwise, there’s little to distinguish Flying Padre from the tens of thousands of other newsreel movies made in the 1950s.
(Reviewed 25th May 2016)