The Trouble with Angels (1966) - full transcript

Coming of age story for two girls, Mary Clancy and Rachel Devery, who find themselves as students at the St. Francis Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls. The story spans three years and follows the girls and their many pranks including setting off fire alarms, smoking cigars in the basement and putting bubble baths in the nuns' sugar bowls. As the girls mature, they gain a greater respect for their teachers and the commitment and devotion required to be a nun, leading one of them to make a life changing decision.

Mr. Grisson?

Good morning, Sister.

Got the fenders fixed. New paint job.
How does she look?

More girls arriving on the 12:02.
Is the train on time?


Really, a child your age smoking!

I'm not a child, madam,
I'm a midget with bad habits.

St. Francisville.

Next stop, St. Francisville
and the Convent of St. Francis.

- Sorry.
- It's all right.

You going to St. Francis, too?

Would I be caught dead
in this Dior creation otherwise?

That's a fact.

- What's your name?
- Rachel Devery.

No, it's not.

It's Fleur de Lis. You're half-French.

How about that? What's your name?

Kim Novak.

- I like it.
- So do I.

But I'm stuck with Mary Clancy.

- Hi. You going to St. Francis?
- Where else?

I'm Kate Davis. This is Sandy Mackey.

And I'm Rachel... I'm Fleur de Lis.

- And this is Kim...
- Listen...

I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea.





Reverend Mother seems to have given me
the wrong list.

Well, no matter.
Anybody can make a mistake.

Even Reverend Mother.

Mr. Grisson, make sure
you have all the bags.

I'm Sister Clarissa.

I'm your physical education instructor
and I teach religion.

Mr. Grisson, just put them
in the back of the bus, please.

All right, girls, form a line.

We already have, Sister.

Then throw out your chests
and breathe in the fresh air.

- Out, out with your chest.
- It's as out as it'll go.

To the bus, girls. On the double.

Girls, there she is.

- It's positively medieval.
- All that's missing is the dragon.

Sandy Beach, Pearl Ring...

Fleur de Lis, Kim Novak.

I'm sorry, Reverend Mother,
we didn't mean it. It was just...

You two may go
to your dormitory. Dismissed.

I'm going to have a little talk
with Miss de Lis...

and Miss Novak.

- Boy, she's a fink!
- President of the club.

The way she talked to us
you'd think we were criminals.

The only difference between this place
and a girls' reformatory...

is the tuition.

And we got enrolled instead of committed.

Dig that crazy accordion.

Come on.

- Hi, Marvel-Ann.
- Drop dead.

- Who's that?
- Marvel-Ann.

My Uncle George is her father.

He's been sending her to the nuns
since she was six.

I told her she was illegitimate,
so she hates me.

Is she?

Lord, no. Uncle George
is very careful about that kind of thing.

I'm dying for a smoke.

- Here you are.
- Thanks.

How did you happen
to get sent to St. Francis?

Well, age and money
were on my parents' side. How about you?

Uncle George said he'd lay odds
the nuns could straighten me out.

And what did you say?

- And I asked him, "What odds?"
- Good thinking.

Boy, I hated to leave New Trends.
It was a blast.

- What kind of school was it?
- Progressive.

Mr. Petrie's the headmaster, and he's a doll.

Sort of like Jack Lemmon, only younger.

- I love Jack Lemmon.
- Naturally.

Then why did your parents take you out?

My father said growing sweet potato plants
and playing the silent piano...

wasn't much preparation for life.

- Besides, I was ghastly in spelling.
- That makes two of us.

You know,
maybe it won't be so bad here, after all.

I mean, you and I are certainly simpatico.


What's the silent piano?

It's a long piece of cardboard
with the keyboard printed on it.

And even if you had a real piano,
you weren't supposed to play it.

One time, my father asked me
how come I didn't play the real piano?

So I told him I wasn't allowed to.

And he said, "Why the hell not?
It's costing me $40 a month for the lessons."

And so I told him:

Mr. Petrie said that I was still crystallized...

and that it wasn't time for me
to come out of my cocoon yet.

Well, it's time now.

It may come as
something of a surprise to you...

but smoking, drinking,
and similar extracurricular activities...

are not permitted at St. Francis.

Get rid of those things.

You may be seated.

For some of you,
this will be your first meal at St. Francis.

I hope you enjoy it.

In the future, of course,
the sisters will not be dining with you.

I'm sure we all share your regret.

For the benefit of the new students...

I will clarify the rules
under which we function...

and introduce you to the sisters.

Sister Ursula.

Sister Ursula is our portress.

It is Sister Ursula's bell
that will call you to chapel, to meals...

and awaken you every morning at 6:00.

- I think I'm going to kill myself.
- Catholics aren't allowed to.

Thank you, Sister.

Sister Liguori is my assistant...

- and teaches mathematics.
- She's fun.

You'll find her methods newer than new.

That's fine, Sister.

Sister Constance.

Sister Constance is our language teacher.

She's a flawless beauty.

Thank you, Sister. Sister Elizabeth.


Sister Barbara.

Sister Barbara is
head of our science department...

and is also a licensed pharmacist.

So if you have any pains or aches,
just go to her.

Sister Margaret, home economics.

Sister Rose Marie.

Sister Rose Marie
teaches English and history...

and helps raise funds
for a small mission outside of Nairobi.

I have just decided to appoint her
as head of our Social Action Committee.

I guess that's for picketing things.

Now, let me see. Sister Celestine.

Sister Celestine teaches music
and conducts the band.

We hope some of you new girls
will join the band.

Talent is desirable but not essential.

Think they can use a silent piano player?

You have all met Sister Clarissa...

who is in charge
of our physical education program...

and teaches religion. Thank you, Sister.

There's one more sister
that I would like you to know.

She no longer teaches,
but is very much a part of St. Francis.

Sister Prudence.

Sister seems to be taking a nap.

Some of you may not know
that St. Francis is not only a school...

but the motherhouse of our order.

It's where the young sisters come
for their novitiate...

and the old sisters retire. We also...

As you can hear,
we are sadly in need of a new boiler.

We're very fortunate
that such a lovely estate...

was donated to us by Mr. Walter Gaffney.

But, our order sometimes does not have
sufficient funds for its proper maintenance.

Between the hour of 5:00 and 6:00
every afternoon...

we ask that our students
be as quiet as possible.

This is the time
when all the sisters attend chapel.

It is their hour of prayer and meditation.

The Holy Cloister,
which is the sisters' home...

is off-limits to the entire student body.

We know that you'll respect this.

And now, we will say grace
and have our dinner.

You may remain seated.

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...

bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts...

which we are about to receive
from thy bounty to...


In the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit.

Okay, Paul Revere's passed.

Are you sure all the sisters
go to chapel at 5:00?

Yes, and they won't be back till 6:00.

- I hope it works.
- It did yesterday, didn't it?

Come on.

Maybe we'll be struck dead
if we defile the sanctorum.

We did it yesterday and we're still alive.
Don't be so medieval.

You keep guard.


All right, we're all here.

Cloister Tours will show you
that mystery of mysteries...

where Mother Superior sleeps.

- Isn't this exciting?
- I've never seen where she sleeps.

Neither have I.

- I can't. I'm going to faint.
- Don't you dare. Not here.

- Now I'll show you Mother Superior's room.
- Oh, my Lord.

How do you know
it's Mother Superior's room?

It's got the king-size crucifix, that's how.

- Look, isn't it pretty?
- It sure doesn't look like much to me.

What do you expect for 35 cents?
Hair shirts?

Isn't it fun?

Come on, girls. Time's pressing.

Marvel-Ann, come on.

Next, we'll show you where the sisters eat,
and then the novices.

- Come on.
- Step lively, ladies.

- What's upstairs?
- You'll see that later.

- Now come on, Marvel-Ann.
- I think we've been had.

I've seen enough.
Maybe we better get out of here.

Come on, don't be such a goon.

I hope the sisters' rooms
are better than Mother Superior's.

- Would you stop complaining, Marvel-Ann?
- Get your hands off me!

- Big mouth.
- Now, girls, calm down.

Come on, don't push.

This is the private dining room,
where Mother Superior and the sisters eat.

Come along.

- This must be Mother Superior's chair.
- Oh, yeah, God.

Well, it's not exactly the Jolly Tea Room.

All right, ladies, we're off.
Time's passing, no time to lose.

- Come on.
- That way.

Marvel-Ann, come on.

Try moving.

Now, ladies,
kindly descend to the lower level.

Now, this concludes our tour, ladies.

We hope it's been a memorable experience.

Please tell your friends.
How much did we make?

$1.70. Marvel-Ann still owes us a nickel.

Try and get it. Come on, kids.

Hey, it won't open!

- It's locked.
- Trapped.

- How about that?
- You said we wouldn't be caught!

- How are we going to get out of here?
- Oh, no!

Every man for himself!

Get her!

- Get her off of me!
- Oh, Charlotte!

- Where are we going?
- I'm not particular. Here.


It's an emergency.

Boy, that was fun.

- We must do it again someday.
- Yeah.

Where is the fire?

- Come on, Ginnie-Lou, let's go.
- Watch it, Kate.

I'm sorry.


- Are you sure?
- Yes.

- Mind you, don't burn it.
- You're burning it?

No, don't worry.

Hey, it's starting to snow.

- How's it going, Rach?
- Great. I bet I don't flunk sewing, after all.

How about that?

Maybe you ought to take up
the silent piano again.


Shoulders back. Chests out. Heel-toe.

- What does this remind you of?
- Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

Mary? Rachel? On the double.
Pick it up now, girls.


Shortcut. Heel-toe.

A glorious day.

Quiet, girls. Get ready, you're next.

Now, then. This group, pay attention.

Next we're going to try the sidestroke.

Sidestroke. Ready? Go.

- Priscilla?
- Here.

- Ruth?
- Here.

- Gladys?
- Here.

Aren't you two going in?

I've got an awful cold.

- Rash. It's all over my...
- Never mind.

- Attendance taken, Sister.
- Thank you, Valerie.

Group Three, get ready. Backstroke.

Come along, girls.

Fait accomplished.

How long do you think
we'll be able to get away without going in?

Till we run out of diseases.

But we're supposed to know how to swim
before we get out of here.

We've got three years.

That's a fact.

What have you written so far?

"Dear Mr. Petrie..."

- "Dear Mr. Petrie," what?
- "I'm a captive in a nunnery."

If you wanna get sprung,
you'll have to do better than that.

Anyway, what makes you think
he'll drive here from New Trends?

He said I could call on him
anytime I needed him.

We were very simpatico.

"My parents won't do anything...

"and Mother Superior is prosecuting me."


She said I'm the devil's agent.

She meant you were my stooge.

Tell Mr. Petrie...

that Mother Superior
is stifling your creative flow.

That's a fact.

And I'll tell him
that if I don't get out of here...

I'm seriously contemplating an act of...

- Desperation.
- Yeah.


The only desperation around here,
Mr. Petrie, is that of the sisters...

who cope with that product
of progressive education...

you have inflicted upon us,
namely, Rachel Devery.

I hardly expect you...

to completely accept New Trends'
creative concept of education.

It's an abomination.

- See here, Reverend Mother...
- You see here, young man.

In the seven months
that child has been at St. Francis...

there hasn't been a day
the sisters haven't had to struggle...

with her colossal ignorance
in elementary matters...

as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Not mathematics, mind you, arithmetic.

As for the social graces, I'm convinced...

that your school encourages barbarism...

and concerns itself only with freethinking,
freewheeling, and finger painting.

The finest educational minds in the country
happen to be on our side.

God is on ours.

Then what did she say to him?

I keep telling you,
you don't have to whisper.

Sister Puddy could sleep
through a blastoff. Watch.

- It's incredible.
- I keep testing her. It passes the time.

All right, then what did she say to him?

Mother Superior told Mr. Petrie...

that having met him,
she could understand me.

Whatever that means.

- And I've got to do the pots all week.
- Oh, heck.

Mother Superior said that the detergent
might help to wash away my sins.

- Listen.
- What?

I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea.

"Use Bubble Charms sparingly.

"One capful makes a tubful."

Are these all their sugar bowls?

- Where did you get the stuff?
- I swiped it from Marvel-Ann.

- Won't she miss it?
- No, she never takes a bath.

"...youth quality of stirring innocence...

"invariably reproaches
the world of the adult.

"The exclusively attractive
charm of the young...

"makes nonsense of their sophistications.

"The poet Wordsworth, recalling his youth...

"perceived the child as prophet...

"a witness to the vision
which the world has largely lost.

"The child, he says,
comes from the hand of his creator...

"trailing clouds of glory.
In the morning of his creation...

"he participates in the many-splendored
creativity of his maker.

"He is ingenuous, but ingenious...

"simple, yet profoundly wise...

"a hidden fountain
from which bubbles forth...

"a defiance of the wrinkles of age.

"There is yet another quality...

"which endows the child
with an aura of mystery.

"It is his remoteness.

"He is unfathomable in his privacy,
inscrutable in his design.

"And with the philosophers of old...

"he believes there is not much one can do
but bury a man.

"When the last of his..."

Those two!

Get them!

What do you have to say?

I'm waiting.

Don't you dare.

- It was my idea.
- I'm sure.

- I helped.
- Unquestionably.

Rachel, go to your dormitory.
I'll deal with you later.

- But, Reverend...
- Out!

One of us may have to go.

But I guarantee you it won't be me.

Mary, it's me.

I thought it was the enemy. You better
get out of here or you'll get blasted.

What did Mother Superior say to you?

I wouldn't repeat it in this sacred place.

How long are you gonna be grounded?

I have to do the Stations of the Cross
twice every day.

- How about you?
- Pots.

I think I'd rather do that, but...

Somebody's coming. Flake off.

That's what I like to see. A true penitent.

I'm sure the floor must be cold.

I think you can ponder your sins
just as easily with a little help.

Thank you, Sister.

Pray hard. Math test tomorrow.

Good night, Rachel.

It's about time for the bell, girls.
Now, let's see what you've done.

That's coming along, Priscilla.
Remember, girls, freedom is the key.

Let's keep the charcoals moving.

Sheila, you've got to concentrate.
There is the model.

All right, Rachel.
Let's see what you've done.

Oh, dear.

We'll discuss it later.

All right, girls, hang up your aprons.
Clean up your charcoals.

Let's be neat.

- Are you coming, Mary?
- Yeah.


- I'm sorry, Sister.
- I'm rather sorry you even came to class.

You'll remain and clean it up.



I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea.

I think it's a stinking idea!

- We only want to do a mask of you.
- Just your head.

Honestly, it's like being immortalized.

When you grow old,
you can look at your head...

and remember yourself
in all your youthful beauty.

Suppose somebody comes in?

It's Saturday. Sister Elizabeth
has gone to town for art supplies.

- Are you sure you know how to do it?
- Sure.

And you know what, we can sell
statues of you. We'll split fifty-fifty.

Sixty-forty, or you can go immortalize
somebody else.

It's a deal.

You slobs better not try anything funny.

Me, your own flesh and blood? Really!

Now, put the cap on, Marvel-Ann.
Shut your eyes.


- Hey, it feels awful!
- Quiet please, or we'll crack.


Stick the straws up your nose, Marvel-Ann.

We're going to look simply marvelous.

Yeah, I can't wait for us to harden.

Give me the hammer.

- I'd better get Sister Elizabeth.
- I told you she won't be back until tonight.

Large cast cutters.

Now, Marvel-Ann, I won't hurt you.
Turn your head there a bit, dear.

- Relax, dear.
- Have you got the salve, Sister?

- Yes, coming. How's it going, Mother?
- Fine, Sister, fine.

Thank you, Sister. Thank you.

There, that was a big piece.
We're making great progress.

No, be careful. Turn your head, darling.
I'm working near this area.

Small cutter.

I'm getting near the ear.
You know I'm going to be gentle.

Almost have it now. There.

All done! There. Good girl.

I'll kill them!

All right. Settle down.
Come on, settle down.

I know it's the last day of classes,
but there's still a race to be run.

First, will the winner of yesterday's
daily double please step up?


Valerie's been in the winner's circle
three times this week.

She hasn't had much competition
from the rest of you fillies.

This is the St. Christopher medal
today, Valerie.

Couple more medals
and she can start her own church.

- Thank you, Sister.
- You're welcome.

- Congratulations.
- Thank you.

Now, it's a beautiful day at Pimlico.

This is the Preakness...

the second part of the Triple Crown,
and the stakes are high.

Horses are nearing the gate.
They're raring to go.

Pencils ready, girls? Ready?

This could be anybody's race.

They're off and running!

- Isn't she too much?
- She should've been a bookie.

Have a wonderful time.

- Don't forget to take your shots, Charlotte.
- I won't, bye.

Sister Liguori.

See that we're not stuck
with those two for the summer.

I wish you were taking the same train.

Me, too, but mine's not till 3:00.
I hope your vacation's a blast.

- I'll send you some postcards.
- Don't forget.

From Paris, Antibes, and C?te d'Brassier.
That's the Riviera.

I'm coming!

- Goodbye, Rach.
- Goodbye, Mary.

- I nearly forgot. Thank you. Bye.
- Goodbye.

- Goodbye, Mary.
- Goodbye!

Have a good time.

I'll miss you.

- Hello, Sister Prudence.
- All gone.

- How are you?
- Good to see you. Thank you for the...

I adore your hair.

- You look so French.
- Saks, $22.95.

- No.
- Listen.

We went to Monte Carlo
and I met this French boy with a scooter.

French? A scooter?
Why, how old was he? Did he...

Cool it.

- Nice to see you again, girls. Rachel.
- Hello, Reverend Mother.

Mary, get rid of the bird's nest.

Not that one. That one.

Welcome back to Happy Acres.

A number of your parents
have commented on the fact...

that they find you singularly clumsy.

After some observation,
I must conclude they are justified.

Through your parents' generosity...

we have been fortunate
in securing the services...

of Mrs. Mabel Dowling Phipps.

- Not bad.
- Gee, isn't she fantastic?

She will teach you how to walk
and how to dance.

Mrs. Phipps has taught
interpretive dancing...

in a number of very fine girls' schools.

And her photograph once appeared
on the cover of Dance Review.

She comes to us highly recommended.

Is there something you want to say,
Mrs. Phipps?


You'll need $10 for leotards.

Legs apart.

Shoulders back.

Tummies in.

No. Let me show you.

You're all too clumsy, awkward, gawky.

But we'll work on that, won't we? Work.

Discipline. Twice a week.

Then in the springtime
we'll put on a festival.

By then you'll all be as graceful
as young willows.



- Isn't she wild?
- She's a blast.

- We must be willows.
- Willows.

We must be willows.
Slender, limber willows.

The first thing we must learn
is to become fluid.


Reverend Mother, I can't do it.
I just know I can't.

I must insist.

There are no two ways about it.
I'd do it myself but I have a meeting...

with Father Devlin, and I have no idea
what time I'll be free.

Reverend Mother, please.

- Besides, the outing will do you good.
- But Reverend Mother...

I don't know anything about binders.

Brassieres, Sister, brassieres.

Jayne Mansfield.

Rock Hudson.

Come on, let's find you a better one.

Hey, Mary, Rach.
Did you see Valerie? It's really wild. Red.

- Here.
- That's for a cleavage.

Who cares?

- Sister, Charlotte's going to faint.
- Take off her binders.

This one. Two dozen.

That nutty swan
looks just like Sister Elizabeth.

Listen, do you suppose if we watch them...

Did Sister Ursula give you permission
to leave the building?


Yes, what?

Yes, Reverend Mother. Sister Ursula said:

"Go walk in the woods. Breathe the air.

"It's good for you." So we did.

Evidently, Sister Ursula's German accent
amuses you.

I didn't know she was German,
Reverend Mother.

Then surely you didn't know
that during the war...

Sister Ursula kept
34 Jewish children hidden...

for more than two years in the cellar
of a destroyed convent outside of Munich.

And that when this was finally discovered,
she was imprisoned.

She suffered untold indignities, and she...

- Are we dismissed, Reverend Mother?
- Yes.

- What's the matter?
- I hate her.

So, what else is new?

- Come on. Race you to St. Franipalooza.
- Okay.

- Come on.
- I'm coming.

Rach, wake up.

I need something I can stuff in the window.
The snow's coming in.

Rach, wake up.

I said I need something
I can stuff in the window.

I can't stuff His Holiness in a window.

I'm not gonna give you Burt Lancaster.

- Be careful, girls.
- Where shall we put it, Sister?

Put it right back over there.
Don't bump the table.

- That's coming along nicely, dear.
- Thank you, Sister.

However, I don't think
we need any more of these.

Valerie, that's beautiful!

Absolutely beautiful.
Just put it right over there...

- Right over there.
- I'm sorry, Sister.

Charlotte, that's very imaginative.

I don't know what it is,
but it's very imaginative.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

- Sister Elizabeth.
- Reverend Mother.

- Excuse me. May I speak with the girls?
- Of course. Girls.

- Gather around. Quickly.
- This won't take a minute.

Because it's the holiday season...

Sister Rose Marie has baked
double her usual quota of ?clairs.

Sister Rose Marie's mission
is sadly in need of new books.

Therefore, the price of the ?clairs
has been increased to 50 cents.

I knew you'd all be pleased.

Sister put the tray down. It's heavy.

Also, Sister has arranged...

for our student body to visit
the County Home for the Aged.

Our girls will serve refreshments,
do the dishes...

and entertain with songs and readings.

Naturally, this is all on a voluntary basis...

so, will all of you who plan to participate
please raise your hands?


Those who remain behind
may spend the day in chapel...

meditating on the sin of selfishness.


Blackmail is supposed to be against the law.

Not if it's for charity.

Sorry, Sister.

Last load.
You know how many cakes they ate?

- We're almost out of tea, too.
- Again?

You know, I used to play the Palace.

I used to have red hair
when I was on the stage.

Everyone loved that color. Thank you, dear.

And red roses.

My dressing room
was always filled with red roses.

Thank you, dear.

And when my husband died,
everything was gone.

Money, house, everything.

Everything was gone. my son said he'd come tomorrow.

He has a new car. Well, practically new.

He couldn't come last year
because the children had the flu.

But this year he's coming
and I'm so happy...

You know, they kept my social security?
I didn't know that they would.

They never told me
they would keep my social security.

Thank you, dear.

Do you need any help, Mary?

It's a present.

Isn't he beautiful? His name is William.

Would you like to hear William sing?

- Isn't it lovely?
- Very pretty.

My children said I could come...

and have a Christmas at their house.

But they didn't come.

I had gifts for them.

There may have been a very good reason
why they couldn't come.

But it's Christmas, and they promised.

I did everything for them
when they were little.

Nothing was too hard.

Then do one thing more.


Be happy.

That's the greatest gift
a mother can give her children.

It's the season of our savior's birthday
and there must be no tears.


Go upstairs, now. Powder your nose.

Make yourself look pretty
and come to the party.

I hope I die young...

and very wealthy.

Quiet, Marvel-Ann.

- Did you find out anything?
- No! I mean no.

- Didn't you ask Sister Liguori?
- I couldn't find her.

- You know what I think?
- What?

That there's no such thing as Silent Sunday.
We're the victims of a fiendish plot.

Reverend Mother just made it up
'cause she's sick of all the noise.

My hair!

You'll live.

Where are the two creeps?

That's great!

- Well, it takes practice, you know.
- I imagine.

- Try one.
- Okay.

Where did you get these?

The plumber left them.

What's the matter?

I'm not sure I like them.

So you'll have something you hate
you can give up for Lent.

Yeah. Good thinking.

It's kind of smoky in here.

Give me a paper. Quick.

What's that?

Probably the end of Silent Sunday.

Don't panic, girls. Go out the side door.

The engines will be coming up the driveway.

- Keep calm.
- This way, dear. Go right along.

- Charlotte's going to faint!
- She won't faint. Get her in the air.

Keep calm, girls. Don't run. Please walk.
Walk fast, but don't run.

Don't panic. Remember the drill.

My records!

Keep calm.

Is everybody out of the building?

Sister, the sirens, I hear them.
Go along, please.

Sister Prudence, not this way, dear.

Out this way, the side door. Take Jacko.

Don't run, Sister, walk, please.

Don't come back for anything else.

There must be a fire someplace.

Sounds close.

Want to go see?

I've been giving it some thought.

Watch this.

How about that?

That's a blast.

This is the last, the final, the absolute end.

Your niece, Mr. Clancy,
and your daughter, Mr. Devery...

have committed their last felony
at St. Francis.

For two years now,
the sisters and I have endured...

that which would try the patience of a saint.

And since there's been no word
from the Holy Father in Rome...

that he is about
to bestow sainthood upon us...

I am putting an end to our martyrdom.

- Reverend Mother...
- Never in all my years have I met...

two likelier candidates for San Quentin.

If I could just explain...

There is no explanation
you could possibly offer me...

as to why I should not expel
those two criminals, and that is final!

I realize that Mary
is a high-spirited young girl.

High-spirited, my foot.

I beg you to consider the fact
that Mary is an orphan.

I've had to be both father and mother
to my dear dead brother's only child.

I've devoted myself to her welfare,
and it hasn't been easy.

And although my business affairs
keep me extremely busy...

Mary naturally always comes first.

You were saying?

That there's nothing as important
to me as my little niece's happiness.

And even though my business takes me...

to many different parts of the world...

and my affairs
are extremely time-consuming, I...

I imagine they are, Mr. Clancy.

But please continue.

I'm extremely interested in hearing
all about your devotion to Mary.

My devotion to her.

Well, no matter how busy I am...

I always find time for a little visit with her.

I have a feeling we're going to get bounced.

My father will kill me.

I could live with that, but it's what
my mother's going to do that I can't stand.

- What?
- She'll act like a martyr.

- Hello, Uncle George.
- Don't you speak to me.

Hi, Daddy.

Daddy, sir?

For two cents,
I'd put you in San Quentin myself.


And do you know why you were reprieved?

Because I'm convinced that it would be
a cruel and unchristian act...

to let you two loose
on an unsuspecting world.

The world is not yet ready for you.

Let's go.

One moment.


from now until the end of the term...

and a 1,000-word essay, double-spaced...

on "The evils of smoking...

"and why I gave it up."

I was going to give up smoking anyway.

Never did like it.

Come in.

It's almost midnight, Mother.

Made a pot of tea.
Thought you might like some.

The boiler's out again.

I'll call the plumber in the morning.

We've got a big enough investment
in that boiler to sell shares in it.

Stop making conversation, Liguori.

After all these years, I know when you
have something on your mind. What is it?

All right.

I knew you wouldn't expel them.

It's a good thing you didn't make book on it.
You might have been taken to the laundry.

To the cleaners, Mother.

It's the point, not the vernacular,
that's important.

I intended to expel them.

I was determined to expel them.
It wasn't an easy decision...

but I had reached it,
and they were going to go.

What they did could have had
very serious consequences.

Yes, I know.

We can't permit anarchy, can we?

We can't remain passive
in the face of utter disregard...

for personal safety and property,
now, can we?

Of course not.

Still, I couldn't do it.

I couldn't expose Mary to that man and his...


She's still a child...

and my conscience wouldn't permit it.

And Rachel?


Rachel has a home
and parents who love her.

She's a follower, not a leader.
She can be guided.

But, Mary...

Mary has a will of iron.

To bend but not to break.

To yield but not capitulate.

To have pride...

but also humility.

This has always been my struggle, Sister.

Can I be less tolerant of Mary
than the Church has been of me?

Don't stay up too late.

- Good night, Mother.
- Good night, Liguori.

- Don't forget to write!
- We'll miss you.

- Peaceful, isn't it?
- Just like heaven.

Now, Mother, haven't you done enough?

It's only a week until the girls return.

Thank you. You just made my day.

All right, I'll give you a hand.

You're a fake, Liguori, and you know it.
You miss them as much as I do.



- Hi.
- Hello.

We went to Mexico and I bought you this.

Thank you.

It had a hat to match, but my father said
it made me look like a chippy.

Whatever that is.

I brought you a holy medal from the Vatican.
It's supposed to protect you.

Thank you.

- You got a new hairdo.
- You, too.

Elizabeth Arden, Rome.

And I had my ears pierced.
Look, 14-carat gold.

- Great.
- And I saw a real bullfight.

- How was it?
- I threw up.

- Oh, dear.
- How was seeing the Pope?


I've got some pictures of Uncle George's
new secretary in a bikini. Black mesh.

- Oh, no.
- Yeah. Come on.

I'm no authority,
but they still sound pretty awful.

As school bands go,
I think they're about par for the course.

Is it vanity that I want them
to win the band competition?

I don't think so, Reverend Mother.

You're absolutely right. It's avarice.

We need that prize money.

I think the girls are doing just fine, Sister.

Although I must admit
I don't know how you stand the din.

I beg your pardon, Reverend Mother?

I said I don't know how you endure this...

You were saying?

I would like to have a few words
with the band, if you don't mind, Sister.

I'm delighted so many of you
joined the band this term.

Even those of you who, unfortunately,
lack musical gifts.

She means us.

The rest of the band's not so hot, either.

As you know,
we are desperately in need of a boiler.

Now, should our band win the prize...

the money will be used
as a down payment...

on a remarkable boiler
I have just seen in a supply catalogue.

I've heard rumors...

that we're going to have stiff competition...

especially from
New Trends Progressive School...

which is not surprising...

considering the little time they devote
to academic subjects and social graces.

Boy, she's got a memory like an elephant.

I know you're all going to work very hard...

to prove that it is possible
to be strong spiritually, scholastically...

and still have a good band.

- Good morning, girls.
- Good morning, Reverend Mother.

Carry on, Sister.

How good do you think
New Trends' marching band really is?

I don't know.

- Don't you think it's important we find out?
- Sure.

What do you think we ought to do,
send out a scout?

What's tomorrow?

- Saturday.
- And what's supposed to happen Saturday?

Sister Elizabeth's taking us to the city,
to the art museum...

and the art museum's
only two blocks from New Trends.

I think it's the most scathingly brilliant idea
you ever had.

How are we going to ditch Sister Elizabeth?

When she's explaining Picasso,
or something...

we'll tell her
we just have to go to the powder room.

That is
the most scathingly brilliant idea ever.


Aside from all other considerations,
such as breaking the rules...

and disappearing for three hours...

so that Sister Elizabeth
had to call in the police to locate you...

don't you think it's highly unethical
to be spying on a competitor?

I suppose it was wrong.

We did it for St. Francis.
We knew how much you wanted us to win.

And we thought if we found out
how New Trends' band played...

it might be good for our band's morale...

and maybe we could win the prize money,
and you could get the new boiler.

That's the truth, Reverend Mother,
whether you believe us or not.

We just wanted to see how good they were.

I must be in my dotage, but I do believe you.

But in the future, please,
will you try to remember...

that St. Francis is not a training school
for counterspies?

How good are they?

- They're just as rotten as we are.
- Except for one thing.

- They have uniforms.
- White slacks with purple stripes...

and jackets with buttons and epaulets.

- And caps with visors. Purple.
- And white leather boots.

- Boots?
- Gorgeous.

Couldn't we have uniforms, too,
Reverend Mother?

Most certainly not.
The band will perform in their gym suits.

- Our gym suits?
- Yes.

But they are awful, Reverend Mother.

It's not as if they were
like the Sacred Heart's.

At Sacred Heart's
they wear short shorts for gym.

They're French.

You'll wear your gym suits.
Nicely starched, of course.

And white, satin chest bands
with our school name...

hand-lettered by the art class.

In gold.

Good night, girls.

Good night, Reverend Mother.

I don't know how to thank you,
Mr. Gottschalk.

You're a very generous man.

Let's put it this way:

You're a very persuasive woman,
Reverend Mother.

- I'm going to light a candle for you.
- I don't know if it'll help.

On the other hand, it can't hurt. Thank you.

Your kindness will be rewarded,
I know it will.

From your mouth to God's ear.

It's time. Here they come.

Mr. Gottschalk!

- I asked you to lend band uniforms!
- What else?

This is a Catholic school, Mr. Gottschalk!

Band uniforms are non-sectarian.

- Thank you, Reverend Mother.
- They're gorgeous!

No candle, Reverend Mother?

Perhaps a small one, Mr. Gottschalk.

We won!

Come in.

Mr. Petrie.

- Those uniforms...
- Were absolutely wonderful, weren't they?

You really must go to our Mr. Gottschalk
the next time you need uniforms.

You know, I didn't think for one moment
that St. Francis could win.

I hoped and I prayed, and our prayers
were answered, weren't they?

I can't begin to tell you
what the prize money means to us.

Would you hold these, please?

Isn't this the most beautiful boiler
you've ever seen?

It's dirt-free, trouble-free,
and blessedly silent.

I know St. Francis gives the impression
of being palatial...

and there are some very lovely things here...

treasures Mr. Gaffney collected
when this was his home...

but the truth is the building is antiquated.

The stone floors are icy.

The hall's drafty all winter long and...

Forgive my carrying on this way.

You've had a long drive,
so I'm sure your business is important.

Please, do sit down.

- You were about to say something.
- I just wanted to...

It really wasn't anything that important.

I just wanted to congratulate
you on your victory, Reverend Mother.

Thank you, Mr. Petrie.

You're welcome.

And incidentally those uniforms,
they were quite...

- remarkable.
- They were, weren't they?

Now, don't you be discouraged.

Someday New Trends may win
the band contest, too.

- Thank you.
- Good night.

I have only one suggestion to make.

Work on your brass section.
It's quite awful, you know.

- Yeah?
- Yes.

Good night...

Reverend Mother.

I'll be back in a little while, dear.
Try and get some rest.

Mary, it'll be such a drag
for you here over Christmas...

- I wish you were coming home with me.
- So do I, Rach.

But I couldn't leave Gargantua here alone.

- Good afternoon, girls.
- Good afternoon, Sister Margaret.

Sister Margaret?

- How are the mumps, Marvel-Ann?
- Drop dead.

That's gratitude for you! Come on.

Merry Christmas.

- It's 9:00, you nut.
- I don't care, go away.

You know you won't have time
to finish that dress before the contest.

I will. I'm not going to be the only one
who's not in it.

We had meatballs tonight,
in case you are hungry.

I don't care if I never eat again.
Now go away.

Boy, what a grouch.

Rach, come on.

No, I'm going to finish it if it kills me.
Now go away.

All right.


Darn old machine.

It did it again.

What are you doing? It's after 11:00.

Sister Margaret said I could stay and finish.

I know, but not this late. It's...

What is it?

A cocktail dress.

However did you manage
to make it come out looking like this?

I didn't. It just happened.

Do you have more material?

All right, rip.

- Mary.
- Rachel wasn't...

She fell asleep. So I thought
I'd let her rest for a few minutes.

Must be after midnight.

It's nearly 5:00, Reverend Mother.

So it is. My, my.

It looks beautiful.

It is nice, isn't it?

I used to do a great deal of sewing
when I was a girl.

I always blessed my mother for insisting
that I learn how to handle a needle.

When my parents died, I was 16 then...

- my uncle who lived in Paris...
- Paris?

Paris was my mother's home...

before she immigrated to Quebec
and married my father.

I lost my parents
within three months of each other.

Flu epidemic.

Anyway, I went to live in Paris.

My uncle arranged for my apprenticeship
with a well-known couturier.

Of course, I was only a seamstress.

But I had visions
of creating my own designs...

in the house of Madeleine Rouche
challenging the great Chanel.

That was my name, Madeleine Rouche.

I remember standing behind the curtains
with the fitters...

when the collections were shown.

The buyers came from all over the world.

Many times, as I watched the models
display the gowns, I'd think...

now I would have done
that one differently...

used a different fabric...

something that had more movement,
more mystery...

I know it's vanity, of course. But I think
I could have made a success of it.

But how could you give it up?

I found something better.

- Congratulations.
- Thank you.


I'm sure you want to contribute the $10...

to Sister Rose Marie's mission fund.

And I know you want Sister Margaret
to have these.

Thank you.

But I absolutely insist
that you keep the entire box...

of lovely threads for yourself.

Thank you, Reverend Mother.



I have a feeling we shouldn't have
cut swimming for three years.

- Think positive.
- Oh, sure.

- What do you think we ought to do?
- Pray.

Sister Clarissa won't let us drown.

I wouldn't count on it.



After you.


I'll let you know if my whole life
passes before me while I drown.

Don't bother, I'll find out for myself.


She can't swim, she's drowning!

That's the idea. Get in.

Hang on, Rach, I'm coming.


I can't swim either.

How's the water, Sister?

I wonder if my father knows
he's paying good money...

to have me educated to be a janitor.

- It's better than doing pots.
- I guess so.

I still think that was a pretty dirty crack
Reverend Mother made.

Which dirty crack of several hundreds
are you referring to?

That anyone who survived
as many exotic diseases as we have...

ought to will their bodies to science.

I told you, you can only get malaria
in the tropics.

If there are anymore St. Francises in here,
I'll kill myself.

Mary, look at this.

I don't believe it.

- Sister Constance is leaving?
- How about that?

I bet her lover,
who went off to war or something...

finally found her here,
and now she's going to give up being a nun.

You always said she was a flawless beauty...

and it was absolutely criminal
for her to be trapped into being a nun.

I'll empty the wastebasket.
You could start padding the posters.

- Okay.
- I'll be right back.

- Good afternoon, Sister Constance.
- Hello, Sister Constance.

- Sister Constance.
- Well, what are you doing?

- Penance in the art class?
- You're going away.

Yes. I don't know how you know about it.

But I am leaving,
right after your class graduates.

- But how can you stop being a nun?
- Stop being a nun?

Wherever did you get such an idea?

- Aren't you?
- Heavens, no.

Mary, this isn't just a club you resign from.

You see, I'm going to the Philippines.

There's a leper colony there
and I'm going to teach the sick children.

But suppose you get it? You're so beautiful.

It's so unfair that
they should send you to a place like that.

But I asked to be sent, Mary.

They need teachers very badly.

The disease is controlled
and much less dangerous than people think.

But suppose you do get it?

Then I'll pray
I'll have the strength to endure.

I want to go, Mary.

- You really do?
- Cross my heart.

- You're really happy about it, aren't you?
- Very happy.

What are you so solemn about?

God's in his heaven.
All's well with the world.

Cheer up.

- You sick, or something?
- No.

Then what's the matter?


- Rach, listen.
- You've got a scathingly brilliant idea?

- No.
- Then what?

There's only four weeks to graduation.

How about that?

I'll miss you, Mary.

I'll miss you, too, you old nut.


I think we ought to get some sleep.

- 6:00 comes awfully fast.
- Yes.

- Good night, Rachel.
- Good night, Mary.

- It's 8:00.
- Bell didn't ring, go to sleep.

It's 8:00,
and Sister Ursula didn't ring the bell.

Oh, no, 8:00!

Maybe Reverend Mother cooked up
another Silent Sunday.

It's Tuesday, you goon.

A little thing like that
wouldn't faze Reverend Mother.

- Good morning, Reverend Mother.
- Sister Ursula didn't ring the bell.

- Honest, Reverend Mother.
- That's true.

There will be no classes today.

There's been a death among the sisters.

Sister Prudence, Reverend Mother?

No, Sister Liguori.

- Sister Liguori!
- Reverend Mother, what happened?

Her heart... She died in her sleep.

Those of you who wish to
pay your respects to Sister Liguori...

may do so after her family has departed.

Will you all dress now, please?
And be as quiet as possible.

How can she be so cold?

Father Devlin, who administered
the last rites, will offer Mass.

Rosary will be recited tonight at 7:00.

- Thank you, Reverend Mother.
- You've been very kind.

Well, Liguori...

this is the last race...

at Pimlico.

All right, girls, quiet down now.

Hands folded in front, hold still,
have a pleasant expression.

Hold it.

Lovely. Now come and
get your bouquets, girls.

There you are, Sister. Thank you.
Take it over there.

All right, girls. Get your bouquets.

That's it.

You look just lovely.

- Sit down.
- Just lovely.

All right, that's it.

- Sister Constance, Charlotte's going to faint.
- You hold her, just a second.

No, she isn't. Here we are, smelling salt.

There. Do you feel better?

- Thank you, Sister.
- Good.

Your attention, girls.

You are all remarkably beautiful.

In a few moments,
you'll go through these doors...

graduate, and begin a new life
away from St. Francis.

I hope that you will remember us with love,
as we shall remember you.

It is our custom at this time,
just before graduation...

to announce the names of the girls
who have decided to enter our order.

The decision to serve God
is not an easy one...

but it is a joyful one.

And I hope you will share this joy
with the two girls...

who are going to remain at St. Francis,
and begin their novitiate.

The girls are: Sheila Michaels...

and Mary Clancy.

- Mary, congratulations.
- Mary?




God bless you all.

Make sure you get all the bags now.
The train will be pulling out any minute.

My love to your parents.

In three weeks, dear.
We'll be looking forward to it.

Bye bye.

Rachel, Mary's very upset
that you won't speak with her.

There's nothing to say.

She's a traitor, she was brainwashed.

- Someday you'll understand, Rachel.
- No, I won't. Never.

Won't you at least say goodbye to her?

She's your closest and dearest friend.

She's made a difficult
and courageous decision.

It wasn't her decision.

Yes, it was.

Rachel, look at me.

It was her decision.

You, of all people,
should know how strong she is.

She didn't yield, Rachel. She chose.

And I'd rather have one like Mary
who chooses, than 100 who yield.

You know, she has so much to give.

All our sisters do,
but Mary will give with joy and laughter.

And defiance, I imagine.

In fact, I have a feeling
that someday, many people...

even those in the highest places...

will know that Mary Clancy came our way.

She has some scathingly brilliant ideas.

- Goodbye, Reverend Mother.
- Not one word for Mary, Rachel?


Rach, please!

You could've told me.
Why didn't you tell me?

You don't know how much
I wanted to tell you.

I hope it's wonderful. Honest, I do.

Boy, you'll make some crazy nun.

How about that?
Uncle George nearly died when I told him.

All aboard!

- Will you write to me?
- Of course!

Just because I'll be a nun
doesn't mean I can't write to you.

- All aboard!
- I got to go.


- Goodbye, Reverend Mother!
- Goodbye, Rachel.

Goodbye, St. Francis!

- Goodbye, Mary.
- Goodbye, Rachel.

All right, young lady.

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.

Who knows, Reverend Mother...

maybe one day Rachel will come back
and join the order.

If she does, I quit.