had made scattered television appearances before, but the 3-hour Scarlet and the Black
was his first starring assignment in a made-for-TV movie. Peck plays Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a real-life cleric who, during World War II, rescued thousands of escaped POWs from the Gestapo. Christopher Plummer co-stars as the Rome-based SS official who tries to catch O'Flaherty in the act. The film won several industry and religious awards, and earned three Emmy nominations. Based on J. P. Gallagher's book The Scarlet Pimpernel in the Vatican
, The Scarlet and the Black
premiered on February 2, 1983.