In the final days of WW2, in a M.A.S.H. unit in Burma, a severely wounded corporal watches in dismay as fellow soldiers pack-up to return home but a caring nurse and five remaining soldiers bring him solace.
Two nuns from a French convent arrive in a small Connecticut town with a plan to build a children's hospital. They enlist the help of several colorful characters in achieving their dream including a struggling artist, a popular songwriter, and a renowned racketeer.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
The character of the music critic Al Newman, played by Louis Jean Heydt, is named after Alfred Newman, long the head of 20th Century-Fox's music department, who also co-wrote the song "Through a Long and Sleepless Night" for this film. See more »
With snow on the ground, when sisters appear at the hill at 6:30 AM on which they wish to build their children's hospital, and at various times at the song-writer's home, it is light, rather than dark at that hour as it would be in winter. See more »
Sister, I know it's a worthy thing. I'm all for it. I'm for a lot of worthy things. Orphan asylums, insane asylums, old people's homes, sanitariums. But I'm just like everybody else. I don't want them right under my nose. And I'm honest enough to say so.
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I saw this charming, slickly produced film as a young parochial grammar school kid at a theater in downtown Boston (near where my family lived at the time) and remember being tremendously amused at the scene where the two sisters, played by Loretta and Celeste (saddled with having to approximate a French accent), blithely tore up a parking ticket, placed on the windshield of their borrowed open WW II-era Jeep, thinking it was just an advertisement. Sister Celeste tosses the pieces into the air as they drive off from in front of New York's St. Patrick Cathedral where they'd illegally parked. (I doubt that she felt obliged to confess that little venial sin, do you?) There's a lot more to be amused and entertained by, of course, and the behind-the-camera artisans, as well as the well-chosen actors, especially Hugh Marlowe and Elsa Lanchester as well as Misses Young and Holm, all contributed some very professional work. Henry Koster, the director, was an old hand at keeping a project such as this from slipping entirely into a bath of over-the-top sentimentality.
So much has changed since those somewhat more innocent times and a gentle story such as this, with two ladies encased in those heavy, enveloping habits (with only their perfectly made-up faces visible to the world, by the way), is almost inconceivable today. See it and be transported back to a time when goodness, sincerity, and religious beliefs that don't descend into fanaticism were the order of the day, at least in Hollywood movies aimed at the family trade.
One interesting little tidbit: in one scene Hugh Marlowe's character (a song writer) sings the Academy Award-nominated song, "Through a Long and Sleepless Night" (which didn't win - and you'll hear why), and his singing voice was dubbed by Ken Darby, who was chiefly responsible for directing most of the choral work in many of Twentieth's films for many years. I have a suspicion that Mr. Darby probably rejected quite a few male candidates who wanted to join the Fox studio's choir if they didn't sound any better than he did!
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