27 July 2014 | bkoganbing
Working out your own salvation
By 1951 the blacklist was in full force. But Lionel Stander got to appear in this film St. Benny The Dip because it was an independent production shot in New York City released by United Artists. In 1951 no Hollywood studio would have employed Stander.
Stander along with Roland Young and Dick Haymes who plays the title role play three confidence men whom the police are hot on the trail of. In eluding the cops the three go into a church basement and take three clerical habits. After that they seek shelter in what turn out to be an old closed up mission.
The police do catch them there, but they think they're clergy come to reopen the place. After that the three are trapped in their roles, but each in his own way works out his salvation.
St. Benny The Dip is one of those old sentimental type films that we never get seen made today save for the Hallmark Channel. All three of the leads fit comfortably into parts that are written for them.
This film marked the farewell big screen performances of Roland Young and Freddie Bartholomew who plays a young minister. Young died two years later and Bartholomew just left the business all together.
A lot of laughs, but also a few moments of pathos characterize St. Benny The Dip. Good family entertainment still.