With THE SOUND OF MUSIC/’65 making millions with its story of a singing nun who leaves the convent, a tuneful tale about a singing nun who struggles to stay must have looked foolproof. Heck, there was even a real Singing Nun (Soeur Sourire) to front a not-so-true story, made from drips & drabs of those heartwarming Hollywood tales of unconventional nuns & kindly priests. But M-G-M loaded its production with dead-enders, almost everyone in front & behind the camera is either winding up a career, a contract or simply headed off to TV Land. At least we get to hear that ear-catching tune. ‘Dominique, nique, nique . . . ‘ But there’s something faintly embarrassing to the whole enterprise. All those over-lit sets, over-lit emotions, over-lit uplift, over-lit religiosity (it’s a very bright film), it’s all as phony as M-G-M’s lousy backscreen projection shots.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The real Singing Nun story would make a fascinating cautionary tale. World tours, tax troubles and a double suicide pact. But I don’t see Debbie Reynolds in it.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: In MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS/’74, Ingrid Bergman sends up the whole missionary life with a single, pricelessly funny, politically incorrect line. Or, for a great conflicted nun story, there’s Fred Zinnemann’s THE NUN’S STORY/’59 with Audrey Hepburn.