Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back when Hollywood still viewed Catholicism

...as a force for good in the world, it produced The Trouble with Angels. Released in 1966, I just recently saw it for the first time. Probably run of the mill kid fluff at the time, I was really impressed with its treatment of Catholicism in general and the religious life in particular.

The plot is simple: two rambunctious girls attend four years at an all-girls Catholic school run by an order of religious sisters. Watching this movie struck a chord with Wifey and me, because my wife was the rambunctious redhead at a school just like this one. My wife started laughing when the eldest retired sister was asleep at the dinner table. (I thought maybe she had died, so I didn't get the joke. But her school was, like in TTwA, also the Motherhouse of the order, so she had elderly nuns asleep at the table all the time.)

Haley Mills plays Mary Clancy, the antagonist of every prank in the movie. Rosalind Russell is stunning as Reverend Mother. The Trouble with Angels is a character study. The charm of the movie lies the growth into maturity of Mary Clancy and her friend Rachel Devery, along with the softening process as Mary begins to see Reverend Mother as less the dragon who thwarts her "scathingly brilliant ideas", and more the strong, devoted woman who quietly but passionately loves her Lord and her girls.

It's a fun movie to watch and the kids enjoy it. Unlike its changing-with-the-times hip and vapid sequel, which should be avoided like bells on Good Friday, I highly recommend The Trouble with Angels.


Kim said...

The Trouble With Angels is indeed a fun film, but it was produced by Columbia Pictures, not Disney.

Mike in CT said...

D'oh! Mea Culpa.

I assumed that Haley Mills only acted for Disney films. Consider it corrected and thanks for stopping by!