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The Singing Nun
IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 from N/A votes
Release: 02 Apr 1966 /

The Singing Nun

Genre: Biography, Drama, Family
Director: Henry Koster,
Stars: , ,
Synopsis: Young and inexperienced Sister Ann has just arrived at her next posting at Samaritan House, a Dominican order located in a disreputable neighborhood of Ghent, Belgium. Sister Ann is ...

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Critic Reviews


In the early 60's, a nun, calling herself The Singing Nun, released an album of musical hymns and religious songs that turned out to strike a chord with the public. Just about everyone alive in that era still can recognize the strains of Dominique. Naturally, Hollywood chose to make her story into a movie. What they actually did was make an idealized story into a movie, pretending it is the true story. As such, the story comes off as syrupy and too much everyone's fantasy of the perfect nun. She wants only to work with children; she thinks of nothing but her service to the church, she actually rails against abortion in the film. This makes the movie plodding and very boring in places. It also projects a too-virginal image that gets old very quickly. And, for some reason they felt the need to have an old flame to the pre-habit days around to spice things up just a bit, though she remains true to her faith throughout.

The true story is of Jeanine Deckers, known to the world mostly at Soeur Sourire ("Sister Smile"), who called the film "a film of fiction". In the convent she was known as Sister Luc-Gabrielle and did not like the Sister Smile moniker the record company came up with. In contrast to the perfection of the movie, Jeanine Deckers was a very conflicted personality who did not like the attention of the world and definitely did not hold an attraction to a male record producer as shown in the film. In fact, she left the order in 1965, accompanied by her lover, Annie Pescher, whom she stayed with until their mutual suicide pact in 1985. Gee, if you were an old Dominique fan, I probably burst a few bubbles there.

What I think is interesting is that the true story would probably be the Hollywood choice were it made today. The 1965 film portrayed perfection and idealism. I'm sure a 2002 film would search for the seediest of details and revel in her contradictions. What is sad is that neither version would make a very good film. The excessively sweet Debbie Reynolds/Recardo Montalban version is mostly pretty dull and the true story would undoubtedly resemble yet anther VH1 Behind the Music.

Watch for Katherine Ross in her first year as an actress as about the only real character in the film. The Ed Sullivan cameo is rather interesting as well.

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