Sunday, November 21, 2010


Pick a blog, and I mean any blog, and you’re likely to run across a post dealing with the Pope’s alleged endorsement of condoms. Read them all and draw your own conclusions. But in the midst of all the hoopla, it’s The Deacon’s Bench who scoured the original article which started all of the chattering and dug up a fact which really caught our attention here at the B-Movie Catechism. In short…

What does the Pope watch on TV?

According to the AP, Pope Benedict XVI’s new book will reveal that the Pontiff “enjoys watching TV at home in the evenings with his secretaries and the four women who take care of his apartment, preferring the evening news and an Italian TV show from decades ago "Don Camillo and Peppone" about a parish priest and his bumbling assistant.”

Now, I had never heard of Don Camillo and Peppone, but a quick cruise around the Internet reveals it was a pretty popular series of books, movies, and TV shows in many European countries. And my interest was really piqued when I learned that, along with the priest and his friend/foe the communist mayor (not bumbling assistant, apparently AP can’t even Google correctly), the third major character in the series was the Voice of Jesus which would periodically emanate from the large crucifix in the church, especially when Don Camillo needed chastising for his quick temper. Take this scene, for example, in which the irate Don insists on going through with a procession against the wishes (and threats) of the mayor. While the priest is angry and defiant, Jesus seems a bit relaxed about the whole thing.

That works for me. Thanks for the excellent recommendations, Your Holiness. And it just so happens that the first two Don Camillo movies are available at Netflix, so I know what I’m watching this coming week.

But it got to me thinking (which is always trouble)…

With the scores of remakes of foreign films we’re constantly deluged with here in the States, what would a modern American remake of Don Camillo look like? Well, I have a few ideas.

First off, Don Camillo (inexplicably played by Seth Rogen) would be wracked with conflict about his call to the priesthood AND about the very existence of God Himself. In fact, he would be strongly tempted to leave the priesthood and move in with one of the local prostitutes (played by Jessica Alba) with whom he has fallen in love. This time around, he would be completing the processional as a sign of rebellion against his bishop, who ordered the ceremony be discontinued because it somehow encourages people to question the authority of the Church.

The communist mayor (played by Sean Penn) would no longer be portrayed as an oafish thug, but rather a determined champion of the common man doing his best to deliver the village from the clutches of the despotic power hungry Church AND protect them from the plans of an evil American businessman (played by Alec Baldwin) who recently arrived in the village to exploit the local Maggot Cheese producers.

The dog, who can now speak, would be completely CGI and voiced by John Stewart. The dog would continuously make snarky comments deriding the entire cast for their belief in anything whatsoever, but when confronted about his asinine remarks, would only reply, “What? Nobody takes what I say serious. I’m just a dog.”

The Voice of Jesus would be played by Sara Silverman because, gosh, wouldn’t that be so edgy?

Anyway, that’s my idea of what a modern Hollywood remake of Don Camillo would look like. Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions. Or if you want to come up with a remake of your own, here’s a scene from the second film in the series. Have fun.


Paul S. said...

I actually listened to Father Z read stories from the excellent books on his podcast.
I also managed to order a few from my local library system.
The author has a great sense of humor. By all means read whatever you can find of the books!

EegahInc said...

Wow, thanks for the heads up on the podcast, I'll search father Z's archive.

Enbrethiliel said...


I think you're spot-on about what a modern-day Hollywood remake would do to the Don Camillo stories. Which means it's a good thing that the original stories are source material no modern Hollywood studio would touch!!!

Who would your dream cast be, though, assuming it could be done straight.

EegahInc said...

Well, having watched the first movie now, that's kind of hard. While a few names come to mind for Peppone (James Gandolfini or J. K. Simmons for starters), Don Camino is a tough one. His character demands someone huge and beefy who can alternate between seriousness and mugging it up (without being obnoxious), often in one scene. I can't think of any American actor right now who has both the bulk and the talent. As for the voice of Jesus, he has to be able to deliver insults without sounding snarky or ironic. I hate to say it, but Tom Hanks could probably pull it off.

EegahInc said...

I'm getting slow in my later years. Ron Perlman would be perfect for Don Camillo.

Matt W said...

I've read the Don Camillo books and I think you overlook the friendship, admiration & respect that Camillo and the Mayor have for each other (perfectly understandable once you realise that they served together in the Army & the Resistance against the fascists

EegahInc said...

Hi Matt, at the time I wrote this, I hadn't actually seen any of the movies. Now that I'm actually watched a few, I couldn't agree with you more. Still, I'm not sure if Hollywood would keep that angle in a remake. I almost shudder to think what they would have the pair bond over.