In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, ... See full summary »
Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, expecting to work as nun in Congo with tropical diseases. She says good-bye to her sisters Louise and Marie; to her brother Pierre; and to her beloved father, and subjects herself to the stringent rules of the retrograde institution, including interior silent and excessive humbleness and humiliation. After a long period working in a mental institution, Gaby is finally assigned to go to Congo, where she works with the Atheist and cynical, but brilliant, Dr. Fortunati. Sister Luke proves to be very efficient nurse and assistant, and Dr. Fortunati miraculous heals her tuberculosis. Years later, she is ordered to return to Belgium and when her motherland is invaded by the Germans, she learns that her beloved father was murdered by the enemy while he was helping wounded members of the resistance. Sister ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Members of the Rome Opera ballet corps were hired to play some of the nuns, and complex convent rituals were literally choreographed for them. See more »
In the scene where they are making their vows, the priest blesses each one in Latin. The formula should be "et Spiritus Sancti" and not "et Spiritus Sanctus." See more »
"He that shall lose his life for me shall find it. If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow me." Each sister shall understand that on entering the convent, she has made the sacrifice of her life to God.
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This memorable, worthwhile classic features Audrey Hepburn, who does very well in a rather atypical role, plus an involved, interesting story that contains quite a bit of thoughtful material. Fred Zinnemann tells the story well, effectively highlighting many good dramatic moments, and maintaining the balance among the many rather weighty themes of the movie. Because of the challenge involved in keeping the story interesting and even-handed, it's really more of an achievement than some of Zinnemann's better-known films.
The atmosphere is consistently believable, from the convent scenes to the mission settings to the hospital settings. Sometimes scenic, sometimes grim, they provide a fine backdrop for the story and characters.
Hepburn is very effective in a role that allows her to work with a good range of dramatic material and a good variety of other characters. Many of the other characters are interesting in themselves, and the supporting cast features some fine talent even in some of the smaller roles. The parade of other persons in and out of Sister Luke's life works very effectively, both in developing her character and in depicting what her chosen lifestyle is like.
The story is completely serious, yet never overly heavy, and it treats the characters and their beliefs respectfully - quite a rarity in films that deal with subjects like religion, war, and relations between different cultures. Perhaps the nature of the material will not seem interesting to many viewers - especially those jaded by a continual diet of the comic book-quality characters in present-day movies - but it is a most thoughtfully made and worthwhile film.
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