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The White Sister (1923)

A young woman becomes a nun when she believes her sweetheart has been killed, but things get complicated when he returns alive.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Capt. Giovanni Severini
...
Marchesa di Mola
...
Monsignor Saracinesca
Charles Lane ...
Juliette La Violette ...
Madame Bernard
...
Prof. Ugo Severi (as Signor Serena)
Alfredo Bertone ...
Filmore Durand
Roman Ibanez ...
Count del Ferice
Alfredo Martinelli ...
Alfredo del Ferice
Ida Carloni Talli ...
Mother Superior (as Carloni Talli)
Giovanni Viccola ...
Gen. Mazzini
Antonio Barda ...
Alfredo's Tutor
Giacomo D'Attino ...
Solicitor to the Prince
Michele Gualdi ...
Solicitor to Count
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Storyline

Lillian Gish is the daughter of a rich Italian count who is killed in a fall from his horse. Though Lillian stands to inherit a large estate, her older half-sister burns the will and thus inherits the property herself, throwing Lillian into poverty. Fortunately, she is engaged to marry the dashing officer Ronald Coleman, but he is captured by Arabs on an expedition to Africa. Dedicating her life to his memory, Lillian becomes a nun, unaware that her lover has escaped his captors and returning to Italy! The climax takes place against a backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Written by Ed Lengel <egl2r@faraday.clas.virginia.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LILLIAN GISH! What a flood of pleasant memories rushes along at the mere mention of her name! YOU sympathized with her in "The Birth of a Nation." YOU suffered with her in "Hearts of the World." YOU pitied her in "Broken Blossoms." YOU cried over her in "Orphans of the Storm." YOU actually cheered her in "Way Down East." Now when you see her in Henry King's production of "The White Sister" you will be thrilled, captivated, and exalted as never before. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1925 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Die weiße Schwester  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Capt. Giovanni Severini: It was my great love for you - but now - now I know you belong to God alone. I-I will never see you again...
Angela Chiaromonte: Until God's Great Tomorrow.
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Connections

Version of The White Sister (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

Volcanic eruption comes too late to save overlong melodrama from its excesses...
4 August 2011 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

An excess of old-fashioned hokum prevents THE WHITE SISTER from being taken as a serious melodrama when seen today. Henry King's direction is so rambling that the film goes on for more than two hours during which time every conceivable melodramatic cliché is turned on its head.

LILLIAN GISH spends most of her time gazing reverently either at thirty-one-year-old RONALD COLMAN (as an Italian soldier Giovanni, in his first film) or heavenward toward the God she has married when she thinks that her soldier lover is dead, killed in Africa. Meanwhile, she has lost all her property when her cruel half-sister destroys their father's will, thus inheriting his entire estate and leaving her penniless to fend on her own.

And just when you think Gish has suffered enough, along comes Colman back from the dead, imploring her to cast away her vows so they can be reunited as lovers. The saintly Gish spends most of her scenes with Colman gazing toward a heavenly ceiling with tears in her eyes, unable to return his earthly passion. "God is love," she tells him.

The human suffering increases once the story reaches its climax, with Mt. Vesuvius erupting on a sleeping village, saved from hot lava by Colman who wakens the townspeople in time but who ends up swallowed by rising waters. Gish is left to contemplate her lost love, hoping to be reunited when her time comes.

It's a thoroughly old-fashioned story only partially redeemed by good camera work, a good score (on the TCM print), and Ronald Colman's earnest performance as the young man deeply in love.

Recommended only for fans of silent films who will undoubtedly enjoy all 145 minutes of the original version. Modern viewers will find it all terribly dated and overwrought.


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