Based on J. P. Gallagher's book The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican (published in 1967), the film tells the story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a real-life Irish Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews and escaped Allied POWs in Rome. It was directed by Jerry London.
The movie shows the clash between the Father O'Flaherty (majestically portrayed by Peck) and the gestapo chief (a multi-sided character with a ruthless devotion to his sense of duty) and loving and caring side for his family. The escapees from the Nazi held countries find a refuge in the Vatican where Father O'Flaherty uses to his advantage the diplomatic immunity provided to his state and also his secret organization which hosts these escapees. The interplay between the Gestapo and the Chief keeps us engrossed where in one part of the movie the Father's adorning of various disguises as the sweeper, a nun and even as a Gestapo officer provides a comic interlude to the otherwise serious tone of the movie.