The Singing Nun
Release year: 1966
Director: Henry Koster
Screenwriter: John Furia, Sally Benson
Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban, Greer Garson, Agnes Moorehead, Chad Everett, Katharine Ross
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best Score
Sunday Classic #292, week 4 2020
Young nun Sister Ann (Reynolds) arrive at Samaritan House in Belgium. Here her music gets attention and leads to offers that to Sister Ann’s religious path to take a detour.
More inspired by than based on the real singing nun, this cheerful take on the story is far from the real story with especially the ending bend to satisfy the pastel-coloured movie. Reynolds (Singnin’ in the Rain, 1952) is by far the best thing in the movie, her caring but slightly naïve Sister Ann being delightful and a pleasure to follow. Her clear singing voice equally pleases on a good soundtrack, where a lot of the melodies are built on the famous Dominique song (if you think you don’t know it, chances are you will recognize it if you hear it!). While Ross (The Stepford Wives, 1975) is good as the troubled young girl Nicole, newcomer Ricky Cordell (Kenner, 1968) cute as her little brother and , here the inspiration for the famous song, Dominique and Montalban (Madame X, 1966) great as the enthusiastic and friendly Father Clementi, it is Reynolds and her struggles with he complications her fame brings her and her calling that makes the movie. You shouldn’t expect big drama, this is a rather low-key and sweet tale about, well, a singing nun.
Inspired by the true story of Soeur Sourire, who had a #1 pop hit in America with “Dominique”. Unfortunately, the lovable nun was a one-hit wonder whose life did not continue happily after her brief blush of chart success. After leaving the church for a full-time music career, she ran into heavy financial problems and eventually took her own life.
Final film made by director Henry Koster (Harvey, 1950)
Debbie Reynolds died only one day after her famous daughter Carrie Fisher who died at the end of 2016.
Picture copyrights: Warner Home Video