13 February 2005 | abralive
Peter And Paul (1981) Robert Foxworth, Anthony Hopkins
When Cecil B DeMille developed "The Ten Commandments" in 1956, there began a wave of sorts of motion pictures devoted to Biblical themes, which, in order to deliver those themes were of "epic" proportions. With every good intention, these films tried to follow Scripture as closely as they could because there were enough Biblical scholars which could easily prove them wrong in their historical rendering.
Hollywood, as we all know, is not religious. It's reputation for exploiting anything it can for money is familiar to us all. In the case of "Peter And Paul", there are two exceptions.
Proctor and Gamble, one of the most reputable companies in the world was faced with a rumor dilemma in the early 80's. Many will remember the scandalous innuendo accusing P&G of association with a church of Satan. Their evidence was the 60 year old logo on P&G products depicting a circle in which a crescent man-in-the-moon was encircled with a group of stars. Despite Proctor and Gamble's passionate attempts to put and end to these lies, public suspicion still abounded. One more possibility existed to end this insidious slander. This would be the first exception.
"Peter And Paul" is the story of the two major apostles in the New Testament.
Robert Foxworth as Peter is a brilliant performance from beginning to end. I'm tempted to believe that he was absorbed in his character so much that it may very well be the reason he was able to portray Peter so effectively. Why Mr Foxworth did not receive an Emmy for this role, I can't understand.
Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, needs the entire four hours of this picture to really involve himself into his portrayal as Paul. His initial dialog with Jose Ferrer, a brilliant actor, is weak and irritating. The only forceful emotion he shows is when he blows up at Peter and Barnabas (Herbert Lom). His sermons to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem and the Greeks in Antioch are not convincing. Only during his time with Luke and Timothy, does his character become really poignant.
Exception number two. It has been widely speculated that the reason this beautiful motion picture never made it to the big screen is because the producers wanted to literally deliver it "in house". In other words, television touches the heart more than movies ever could. That has always been true and always will be. The dad, mom and kids around the TV who use Tide, Cheer, Prell, Crest, Bounty and the endless assortment of P&G products would be impressed by the announcer stating that "Peter And Paul is sponsored by the products and services of the Proctor And Gamble Company", while the logo of the moon-man and stars was emblazened across their TV screens. It was a beautifully creative idea for all the right reasons, but unfortunately, didn't work. It has also been widely speculated that it was P&G's competitors who started the rumor. A few years later, disgusted with the continued lies and harassment, Proctor and Gamble pulled the logo from their entire product line. Jealous, competitive liars had won.
"Peter And Paul" is an epic whether on the motion picture screen or not. Any professing Christian will be deeply touched by this movie and even non-Christians cannot help but be moved by its message of love and perseverance in the face of strife and suffering.
It is impossible to take the 30 years of history that encompassed that era and relegate it to four hours. The importance of this movie is the message of hope and faith that it conveys and that we can all understand its meaning in our lives today.