Man Called Peter, A (1955): Oscar Nominated Biopic of Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Author, Peter Marshall, played by Richard Todd

Oscar-nominated for Best Cinematography, A Man Called Peter is the earnest biopic of Scottish-born Presbyterian minister and famous author Peter Marshall, played by the good British actor Richard Todd.

In his youth, Marshall moves to Washington DC, where he becomes pastor of the Church of the Presidents. His wisdom enables Marshall to communicate with people of all faiths.

In his private life, the pastor gets moral and emotional support from his loyal wife, Catherine Marshall (Jean Peters). At the time of his untimely death, Marshall has become chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

While Marshall and his family are identified by name, the other (largely secondary) political characters are given fictional names; the President, played by William Forrest, has no name.

As Catherine Marshall, Jean Peters gives astrong performance; she is especially impressive in her last scene, when she overcomes her fear of water for the sake of her son (Billy Chapin).

Too bad that director Henry Koster films Marshall’s sermons and life story in a static, pedestrian way.

Oscar Nominations: 1
Cinematography (color): Harold Lipstein

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Color Cinematography Oscar was Robert Burks for Hitchcock’s French Riviera-set “To Catch a Thief.”

Running time: 119 Minutes.
Directed By: Henry Koster
Screenplay by Eleanore Griffin, Catherine Marshall
Released March 31, 1955.
DVD September 6, 2005


Richard Todd as Peter Marshall
Jean Peters as Catherine Marshall
Marjorie Rambeau as Mrs. Fowler
Jill Esmond as Mrs. Findlay
Les Tremayne as Senator Harvey
Gladys Hurlbut as Mrs. Peyton
Richard Garrick as Col. Whiting
Gloria Gordon as Barbara Tremaine
Billy Chapin as Peter John Marshall
Sally Corner as Mrs. Whiting
Voltaire Perkins as Senator Wiley
Marietta Canty as Emma
Edward Earle as Sentor Prescott