Something for the weekend.  Conquest theme from the 1947 film Captain From Castile.  As all University of Southern California alums know, the work was composed by Alfred Newman who bequeathed all rights in the work to the University to play at football games.

The movie Captain From Castile, based on the novel of the same name by Samuel Shellenbarger, is quite worth watching.  Tyrone Power plays Pedro de Vargas, a nobleman on the run from the inquisition who becomes one of Hernan Cortez’ captains.  Cortez is portrayed by Caesar Romero who steals every scene he is in.  He captures Cortez perfectly:  larger than life, endlessly innovative, always optimistic no matter the challenge, and overflowing with raw charisma.  The film ends before the campaign to conquer Tenochtitlan which is a disappointment.

Throughout the film, the Church and the Catholic faith are treated with complete respect.  Thomas Gomez is brilliant in the role of Father Bartolome de Olmedo, the priest accompanying the expedition, who tells the conquistadors to forego their greed for gold, to treat the Indians with mercy, and to build a land where all can stand equal before Christ.  He chides Cortez at one point for firing on a temple of the Indians saying that when idols are ready to fall they fall of their own accord.  In short, he is filled with Christian mercy and charity, and is in accord with what we know of the priests who during these years worked tirelessly to protect the Indians and made many converts by their good works and charity.

Here is a trailer for the film.  The trailer is in black and white, but the film is in glorious Technicolor and is out on DVD.

7 Responses to Conquest

  1. Bill Bannon says:

    Can you give any non Catholic but fair historians like Latourette from Yale that would substantiate your claim of clergy innocence only ….in the despoiling of the native peoples.
    Or are your authors Catholic only and you distrust non Catholic authors on this topic.
    Niall Ferguson of Harvard in his recent “Ascent of Money” gives a much different picture and states that for decades, 40% of Spain’s budget was funded by the silver removed by the Spanish from Peru after a clergyman presented the native leader with a Bible which the leader threw on the ground…which was then “by the book” excuse to despoil the area
    in view of one of Pope Alexander VI’s “Inter Caetera” which Noonan stated had a boilerplate reference to “the same permissions” given to the Portuguese by Pope Nicholas V in “Romanus Pontifex” whereby the Portuguese could enslave and despoil or rob any natives that resisted the gospel…see Romanus Pontifex online…middle of 4th large paragraph.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Sure Bill, Prescott for one. He is anti-Catholic, but even he recognizes the care that Father Olmedo showed for the Indians during the expedition of Cortez:

    “No one partook more fully of the feelings above described than Hernan Cortes. He was, in truth, the very mirror of the times in which he lived, reflecting its motley characteristics, its speculative devotion, and practical licence,-but with an intensity all his own. He was greatly scandalised at the exhibition of the idolatrous practices of the people of Cozumel, though untainted, as it would seem, with human sacrifices. He endeavoured to persuade them to embrace a better faith, through the agency of two ecclesiastics who attended the expedition,-the licentiate Juan Diaz and Father Bartolome de Olmedo. The latter of these godly men afforded the rare example-rare in any age-of the union of fervent zeal with charity, while he beautifully illustrated in his own conduct the precepts which he taught. He remained with the army through the whole expedition, and by his wise and benevolent counsels was often enabled to mitigate the cruelties of the Conquerors, and to turn aside the edge of the sword from the unfortunate natives.”

  3. Donald R. McClarey says:

    No Bill, I am not going to allow you to dominate this thread with your particular hobby horse. The historical record is clear and you simply choose to ignore it with your peculiar desire to bend it in this area. I am placing you on moderation for the time being since I have no desire or time today to watch you convert this thread to a 50 plus comment thread of Bannon Contra Mundum.

  4. T. Shaw says:

    Bannon, I see Mac describing a priest depicted in a Hollywood movie. Seems 1947 was prior to Hollywood’s conversion to anti-Catholicism, and gratituitous sex and violence.

    I’m afraid your detraction of long-dead priests was an uncharitable and unnecessary reaction to a post on a movie and its music used as USC fight song.

    Anyhow, the movie and the music are entertaining but lacking on any other level.

    No Wait! That was FOX! ‘Nuff said.

  5. Linus says:

    who tells the conquistadors to forego their creed for gold

    I hope this is a typo.

  6. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Yes it was, and I thank you for catching it.

  7. Linus says:

    No problem, thank you for your post.

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