The Pope Must Die

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Coltrane plays a portly priest appointed Pope due to a clerical mix-up: Father Albini is a smiling front-man for the masons, mafiosi and gunrunners who run the Vatican Bank, while Father Albinizi (Coltrane) is a rock'n'rolling, really rather useless priest holed up in a rural orphanage filled with photogenic bambini. Like John Goodman's King Ralph, Pope Dave I must locate reserves of greatness beneath his unpromising exterior; discover that the love of a good woman is incompatible with his office; and finally waddle back to obscurity. The Vatican he inherits is staffed by chain-smoking, poker-playing prelates with hip-flasks under their robes. Coltrane manages his few moments of Papal grandeur with something approaching true dignity, whether it's sweeping out the money-lenders from the Bank, delivering an impromptu sermon on the hellfire awaiting a jobsworth, or administering extreme unction. There are many good laughs, albeit of a rather simple-minded nature, but even by its own ludicrous standards the plot unravels helplessly towards the end. A pontiff's egg.

Release details

Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Richardson
Screenwriter: Peter Richardson, Pete Richens
Cast: Robbie Coltrane
Beverly D'Angelo
Herbert Lom
Alex Rocco
Paul Bartel
Balthazar Getty
William Hootkins
Robert Stephens
Annette Crosbie
Salvatore Cascio
John Sessions
Peter Richardson
Adrian Edmondson
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