An old-line Mother Superior is challenged by a modern young nun when they take the girls of St. Francis Academy on a bus trip across the United States.An old-line Mother Superior is challenged by a modern young nun when they take the girls of St. Francis Academy on a bus trip across the United States.An old-line Mother Superior is challenged by a modern young nun when they take the girls of St. Francis Academy on a bus trip across the United States.
Anyway, George really is a pain, constantly complaining about anything and everything that doesn't pass her standards for Contemporary Meaning. Clothes are a big problem. The sisters wear antiquated habits, while the girls' gym outfits are designed for use in the 1940's, which means they have to be tossed into the dustbin of history. By the end of the film, the girls are frugging in miniskirts, and the nuns are wearing knee length midis that enable them to stride about with a sense of purpose.
A moment of high camp is achieved on a desert highway similar to the one Captain America and Billy were to roar up and down the following year. The bus breaks down, and the first passersby turn out to be Hell's Angels. They seem to have been on every Interstate between California and the Mississippi in those days. One of the bikers insults Sister George by calling her a penguin, then threatens her with a switchblade. Later, the leader of the pack asks if she was frightened. "Let's just say I never feared for my immortal soul." To which the biker replies, "Crazy," and moved by her spiritual depth, fixes the bus for her. Presumably we are all seeking the same higher truths, only some do it on Harleys. When asked how she pulled the bikers over to her side, George smirks, "We communicated."
The strangest part is that the object of the nuns' cross-country trip, a "youth rally" in Santa Barbara, is never actually shown. The girls do turn on in a psychedelically lit gymnasium at an all boys' school, and perform this weird tribal dance with the boys that looked group frottage. The producers may have worried that the rally would require too many extras, but the zillions of Indians in the Milton Berle sequence could have easily been converted to Catholic hippies. Anyway, the film ends with the bus roaring down the highway, and a cut to the sisters' "Change of Habit," those knee length skirts which they show off crossing a campus that now looks like The Harrad Experiment. What a disappointment.
- Mar 16, 2006