The Keys of the Kingdom

Synopsis: A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a priest in a more Christian area of the world, Father Chisholm struggles. He encounters hostility, isolation, disease, poverty and a variety of set backs which humble him, but make him more determined than ever to succeed. Over the span of many years he gains acceptance and a growing congregation among the Chinese, through his quiet determination, understanding and patience.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): John M. Stahl
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
137 min

[Bell Tolling]

- Good afternoon, Monsignor.

- Good afternoon, Father.

How long have you been here

in Tweedside, Father Chisholm?

- Twelve months.

- Ah, yes, I remember now.

It was your particular wish

to return to your native parish.

This is also the native parish

of His Grace, the bishop.

I'm aware that Bishop Mealey

shares with you...

the... distinction

of having been born here.

What age are you now, Father?

Now, no older than Angus Mealey.

No doubt, but life has treated you

somewhat differently.

To be brief...

the bishop and I both

have the feeling that your...

long and faithful years

should now be recompensed...

that you should, uh, retire.

But I have no wish to retire.

I'm sure you will understand that this has

been a somewhat painful experience for me-

this week of investigation.

I find that I must

point out to His Grace...

certain, uh...

peculiarities in the administration

of your parish...

which he can scarcely overlook.

- Peculiarities?

- Some of your sermons, the advice you give...

your approach to...

certain points of doctrine.

Still peculiar after so many years.

Here is a remark that you made

in Holy Week.

"All atheists are not godless men.

I knew one who I hope

may now be in heaven."

But he was a peculiar atheist.

And then,

"The good Christian is a good man...

but I found that the Confucianist

usually has a better sense of humor."

When Mrs. Glendenning,

one of your best parishioners...

whom naturally cannot help

her extreme stoutness...

came to you for spiritual guidance,

you looked at her and said...

"Eat less. The gates

of paradise are narrow."

I'm afraid that you have

lost your command of souls, Father.

I have no wish

to command anyone's soul.

Naturally, I don't presume

to be your judge.

I can only submit my findings

to His Grace...

for his consideration

in reaching a final decision.

Now, if you don't mind,

Father, I will go to my room.

I shall be leaving

the first thing in the morning...

and I have work still to do.

Uh, would you-would you

be good enough to remind Angus-

His Grace, I mean-

that we were boys together?

The bishop has not forgotten.

He spoke about it only last week.

- Well, mention it to him again, will you?

- Of course.

L- I shouldn't like to leave here,

if it could be helped.

Naturally. Good night.

This is my native parish,

you know.

Good night, Father.

"Francis Chisholm- his journal.


"Nothing could have been

more remote from the life I have lived...

"than the beginning of it.

"My father was a master fisherman

in the little village ofTweedside...

"the finest, the most honorable man

I have ever known.

"He was a Catholic, as I was.

"My mother was a Protestant.

"The words, as I write them,

seem divided...

"but never were three souls

more nearly one...

"never were three hearts

as happy and as filled with love...

as ours for each other. "

We're having company

for supper tonight, remember.

Polly's coming up from Tynecastle,

and she's bringing Nora.

- Nora?

- What's wrong with Nora, lad?

She's a girl.

A very proper objection, but

you'll have to learn tolerance, laddie.

Women can't help it

that they're not men.

Alex, I wish you'd let one of the other men

take the accounts to town.

There'll be trouble again.

Last week I knocked

their heads together...

and this week I'll do the same

if they cross me.

To please me, Alex.

Like as not, they'll not say a word,

one way or the other.

I'll be back for supper.

- Good-bye, son.

- Good-bye, sir.

What is there to fear

in the town, Mother?

I'm sorry, Francie.

What did you say?

I said, what is there

to fear in the town?

You and your father

are Catholics, son.

Some people fear Catholics.

Some people hate them.


- It's coming down.

- Aye, it is.

- Well, good night, Mac.

- Good night, and mind what I tell you, me lad.

- Be careful.

- I'll be all right. Don't you worry.

There goes that dirty papist!

We told you Roman scum

to stay away from this town!

[Thunder Rumbling]

It's the storm that's keeping him.

[Loud Thunderclap]

I can't stand it any longer, Polly.

- I'm going with you.

- No, Francie.

You stay here.

Go with her, son.

She may need you.

Thank you, Nora.

Francie. Francie!

I don't want anything

to happen to him.

Hold on to me, Alex.

We'll make it home.



The water!

It's filled my boot!


- Help yourself. Go away.

- No!

- No! No!

- Let go! Let go!

No! No!

Mother! Father!

Go into the house, Nora.

I don't want to go in just yet.

Let me stay with you.

No, please, Nora.


[Stifled Crying]


[Monsignor Reading]

"Although I was not related by blood...

"to either Polly,

her brother Ned or Nora-

"they were distant cousins

of my father-

"they took me to live with them

in Tynecastle.

"Their kindness and affection

once more filled me with happiness...

"and, as the years went by,

I became increasingly satisfied...

"with the fact that Nora was a girl.

"My return to college

after each vacation...

became an increasingly difficult

parting for both of us. "

Well, Francis,

I'm glad you finally arrived.

People were beginning to think

Willie was here to see me off.

I am, in a way.

I want to be sure you go.

Francis, are you sure you have the tickets?

Hello, Willie. Hello, Angus.

You and Francis better get aboard.

First thing you know, we'll be standing

here talking, and you'll miss the train.

And so it's good-bye again.

But it'll be Christmas

before we know it, and I'll be here.

- And go away again.

- For the last time ever.

I'll be graduated in June.

Angus is going on from Holywell

to the seminary.

I'll wish him the best of luck

and come home to you.

- And then-

- And then?

- What is it?

- Nothing.

Tell me.

- You won't come home to me.

- Nora!

If you do, you'll go away again

to the seminary with Angus.

- Please.

- You're going to become a priest, Francis.

Why won't you get that

out of your mind?

- I can't, any more than you can.

- I love you.

- And you love Polly too.

- Of course I do, but-

She just lives for the day

you become a priest.

It's all she talks about

and dreams about and prays for.

It's the reason you went to school

with Angus instead of Willie...

because Holywell

is a Catholic college.

I'm sure Aunt Polly would be very happy

if I were to become a priest.

In fact, I know she would.

But there isn't a chance of it.

How could there be when I feel

about you the way I do?

How strong will your feelings be when they come

up against what Polly wants more than anything?

She's had her way with you. She's wrapped

you around her finger since I can remember.

You're not being

very fair to her, are you?

No, I suppose not.

Well, why don't you

just wait and see?

I'll try.

But sometimes I get so afraid...

and so lonely.

- [Train Whistle Blows]

- [Polly] Francis!


Francis, how could you wait until

the last second to say good-bye to me...

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Joseph Leo Mankiewicz (February 11, 1909 – February 5, 1993) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career, and he twice won the Academy Award for both Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay for A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950). more…

All Joseph L. Mankiewicz scripts | Joseph L. Mankiewicz Scripts

1 fan

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Keys of the Kingdom" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!


    The Keys of the Kingdom



    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.


    Are you a screenwriting master?

    Which film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019?
    A BlacKkKlansman
    B The Favourite
    C Roma
    D Green Book