(C, V, A, D, M) Christian worldview extolling giving thanks & praise in all things; brief & bloodless images of war; alcohol use; smoking; stealing, and rebellion themes
PRISON TO PRAISE is the video version of the best selling Christian book of the same name by Merlin Carothers. It encourages viewers to give thanks to God in all things as it tells the story of Carothers in prison shortly after World War II, and his subsequent position in ministry. With a theme of giving thanks in all things, its message still has significance today.
PRISON TO PRAISE tells the story of two men — one an army chaplain and the other a young army private. Private Jim Wilkins collapses during army training. He learns he has a serious heart condition requiring surgery. Jim cannot accept that his army career may be over. He lashes out at his doctor and the army chaplain who attempts to console him. Finally, acting out of desperation and rebellion, Jim attempts to go A.W.O.L. by stealing a superior’s car. He is of course, caught and is sentenced to serving time in the stockade while he awaits his court-martial. It is while he is in prison that Chaplain Carothers begins to tell Jim the story of another army soldier who, like Jim, deserted, was caught and also served time in the stockade. Through a series of flashbacks, Jim learns the story of how Merlin Carothers, a soldier with criminal tendencies and a reckless lifestyle, came to know Christ and eventually, went on to become an army chaplain.
The message of the movie is simple: Trust God to work out everything for good, and “in everything give thanks.” These words of wisdom are repeated throughout the Chaplain’s recounting his own story. T. Sean Foley’s performance is a stand-out among the cast. The movie has ingenious lighting, photography and a keen sense of realism for its contemporary and period setting. Through slow but compounding anecdotal lessons, it shows how to gain peace through adversity. This film serves a useful purpose as an evangelistic tool and should be effective as an outreach vehicle for those “near” Christianity.