Following on from the surprise success of The Singing Nun, The Trouble with Angels is another convent-based tale. The film was the last movie to be directed by ex-pat and ex-actress Ida Lupino, who’d given up being ‘a poor man’s Bette Davis’ to successfully direct the likes of The Hitch-Hiker and The Bigamist in the early 50s. This comedy stands as testament to one of the pioneer female directors but also to the enduring ability of Rosalind Russell, best remembered for her breathtaking performance opposite Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. Russell also starred in a 1968 sequel to The Trouble…, entitled Where Angels Go – Trouble Follows.
The Mother Superior (Russell) at St Francis Academy likes to maintain order, but she spots two potential troublemakers when new girls Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills) and Rachel Devery (June Hardin) arrive on the scene. Indeed, Mary’s soon causing all manner of mischief in the convent school, placing bubble-bath powder in the nuns’ sugar bowls, smoking in the boiler room and generally encouraging the other girls to misbehave. Mother Superior toys with the idea of expelling her, but decides that there’s something about Mary.
As time passes, her judgement proves correct. Mary starts to become one of the most dedicated girls in school, involving herself heavily in school activities. Mary’s temperament changes even further when, following the death of one of the nuns, she’s deeply moved by the funeral service. As graduation day draws near, Mary must decide whether to move on or stay and join the religious order.
Writer: Blanche Hanalis, based on the novel Life with Mother Superior by Jane Trahey Cinematography: Lionel Lindon Music: Jerry Goldsmith Director: Ida Lupino
USA | Columbia | 112 minutes | 1966
Director: Ida Lupino
Script: Blanche Hanalis, Jane Trahey,
Margalo Gillmore as Sister Barbara
Binnie Barnes as Sister Celestine
Mary Wickes as Sister Clarissa
Camilla Sparv as Sister Constance
Jim Hutton as Mr. Petrie (uncredited)
Hayley Mills as Mary Clancy
Jim Boles as Mr. Gottschalk
June Harding as Rachel Devery
Rosalind Russell as Mother Superior
Marge Redmond as Sister Liguori
Dolores Sutton as Sister Rose Marie
Portia Nelson as Sister Elizabeth
Marjorie Eaton as Sister Ursula
Barbara Bell Wright as Sister Margaret
Judith Lowry as Sister Prudence
Barbara Hunter as Marvel-Ann
Bernadette Withers as Valerie
Vicky Albright as Charlotte
Patty Ann Gerrity as Sheila
Vicki Draves as Kate
Wendy Winkelman as Sandy
Jewel Jaffe as Ginnie-Lou
Gail Liddle as Priscilla
Michael-Marie as Ruth
Betty Jane Royale as Gladys
Ronne Troup as Helen
Catherine Wyles as Brigette
Gypsy Rose Lee as Mrs. Phipps
Kent Smith as Uncle George
Pat McCaffrie as Mr. Devery
Harry Harvey as Mr. Grisson
Mary Young as Mrs. Eldridge
Mews Small as Nun (uncredited)
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