Some startling new material has come down the pipeline this week, and I'm utterly bound to share it with you. Turns out that all sorts of explicitly Christian Hollywood movies have been hidden from view almost since they were made. It's almost as if a 'code' came into force, unspoken but more unwavering than the now notorious Hays Code of the 1930s, which banned directly Christian works of popular art from popular view.
What am I talking about?
Well, three remarkable movies that if you've ever heard of even one of them I'll give you the Dean's Prize from days long ago at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham.
Seriously, have you ever heard of or seen Journey into Light (1951) with Sterling Hayden, Viveca Lindfors and Thomas MItchell? What about The First Legion (also 1951) with Charles Boyer and Barbara Rush? And what about When in Rome (1953) with Van Johnson and Paul Douglas? And I'm not even going to mention Battle Hymn (1957), with Rock Hudson, or The Left Hand of God (1955) with Humphrey Bogart and Gene Tierney.
Go on the internet and look up the first three. Each of them can be found and seen. I think you are in for a surprise. These films are all pure Christianity, pure Gospel, pure Grace. Moreover, they were all top "studio productions" with A-list stars and creators.
Mary and I are in shock, having seen each one recently. And we're mostly in shock because they have been completely unknown to us -- no DVDs, no streaming (except_ The Left Hand of God_); and in the case of the first three, not a mention anywhere.
I am saying they are all "pre-code', because they were banished from sight once explicit Christianity became almost invisible in "mainstream" popular art.
Where have I been?
I mean, Knife in the Water is great. Jules and Jim is great. But still!