The Trouble With Angels (1966)

112 mins | Comedy-drama | 1966

Director:

Ida Lupino

Writer:

Blanche Hanalis

Producer:

William Frye

Cinematographer:

Lionel Lindon

Editor:

Robert C. Jones

Production Designer:

John Beckman

Production Company:

William Frye Productions
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HISTORY

The 27 Sep 1965 LAT noted that the film’s title was changed from Mother Superior, a shortened version of its literary source novel by Jane Trahey, Life with Mother Superior, to The Trouble With Angels. Columnist Hedda Hopper suggested that executives at production company Columbia Pictures “thought there were too many nun stories going about.” The 2 Nov 1965 LAT announced the production as first theatrical film by television producer William Frye, and marked the screen return of Binnie Barnes. The veteran actress was married to Columbia executive Mike Frankovich, and had a long association with star Rosalind Russell, Frye’s former client from his days as a talent agent. Frye chose Ida Lupino as director, with whom he worked on the television anthologies, Thriller (CBS, 1960 – 1962) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS, 1955 – 1960; 1962 – 1964; NBC, 1960 – 1962; 1964 – 1965). As stated in 15 Oct 1965 Var production charts, principal photography began 16 Aug 1965.
       On 22 Oct 1965, LAT reported that organizations from across the country were asking to premiere the picture for fundraising events. The request was granted to Mother Joseph of the Marymount School in Florissent, MO, formerly Ann Bragan, a high-school classmate of Rosalind Russell’s. The premiere was scheduled for 30 Mar 1966 in St. Louis, MO, according to the 23 Mar 1966 Var. A 30 Mar 1966 Var news brief noted that the date was changed to 28 Mar 1966. Russell attended with William Frye, ... More Less

The 27 Sep 1965 LAT noted that the film’s title was changed from Mother Superior, a shortened version of its literary source novel by Jane Trahey, Life with Mother Superior, to The Trouble With Angels. Columnist Hedda Hopper suggested that executives at production company Columbia Pictures “thought there were too many nun stories going about.” The 2 Nov 1965 LAT announced the production as first theatrical film by television producer William Frye, and marked the screen return of Binnie Barnes. The veteran actress was married to Columbia executive Mike Frankovich, and had a long association with star Rosalind Russell, Frye’s former client from his days as a talent agent. Frye chose Ida Lupino as director, with whom he worked on the television anthologies, Thriller (CBS, 1960 – 1962) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS, 1955 – 1960; 1962 – 1964; NBC, 1960 – 1962; 1964 – 1965). As stated in 15 Oct 1965 Var production charts, principal photography began 16 Aug 1965.
       On 22 Oct 1965, LAT reported that organizations from across the country were asking to premiere the picture for fundraising events. The request was granted to Mother Joseph of the Marymount School in Florissent, MO, formerly Ann Bragan, a high-school classmate of Rosalind Russell’s. The premiere was scheduled for 30 Mar 1966 in St. Louis, MO, according to the 23 Mar 1966 Var. A 30 Mar 1966 Var news brief noted that the date was changed to 28 Mar 1966. Russell attended with William Frye, and co-stars Hayley Mills and Mary Wickes.
       The West Coast premiere was held two weeks earlier, on 15 Mar 1966, in the Canoga Park district of Los Angeles, CA, as a benefit for the Birmingham School in nearby Van Nuys, CA. An article in the 18 Feb 1966 LAT listed actors Dick Van Dyke and Dennis Weaver as chairman of the event, intended to help the school raise the $30,000 needed to complete its $300,000 stadium. Weaver stated that it was “the first world film event held in the (San Fernando) Valley.” The guest list included names from both the entertainment industry and the Los Angeles city government, as reported in the 8 Mar 1966 LAT. The 19 Mar 1966 LAT estimated net proceeds of $12,000.
       On 12 Jan 1966, Var reported that New York City’s Radio City Music Hall would open the Easter weekend with either The Trouble With Angels or The Singing Nun (1966, see entry). Although The Singing Nun was still in post-production, Music Hall executives were able to attend a preview screening of The Trouble With Angels. Three weeks later, the 2 Feb 1966 Var announced the picture’s Easter debut in New York City, although no theater was specified. The Los Angeles opening followed in early May 1966. Critics were unenthusiastic, particularly Bosley Crowther in the 7 Apr 1966 NYT, who described the film as “icky,” and “in poor taste,” while praising Hayley Mills’s performance. Regardless, The Trouble With Angels was listed among the ten highest-grossing films in the 18 and 25 May 1966 issues of Var, and, according to the 10 Aug 1966 Var, earned $3.5 million over the next two months. It also received an award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council (SCMPC), as reported in the 22 Mar 1966 LAT.
       The Trouble With Angels marked the feature film debuts of award-winning stage actress June Harding, and Swedish newcomer Camilla Sparv. The 19 Oct 1965 LAT stated that Harding was chosen from among forty other candidates, based on her impressive guest appearance in The Nurses (CBS, 1965). On 12 Oct 1965, LAT announced that Mike Frankovich signed her to a five-year contract.
       The 24 Jun 1967 LAT reported that a sequel, titled Where Angels Go…Trouble Follows! (1968, see entry) began production in Jul 1967, with Rosalind Russell, Binnie Barnes, Dolores Sutton, and Mary Wickes reprising their roles.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Los Angeles Times
27 Sep 1965
Section C, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 1965
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1965
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
22 Oct 1965
Section C, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1965
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
18 Feb 1966
Section SF, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1966
Section SF, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
19 Mar 1966
p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
3 May 1966
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
6 May 1966
Section C, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
22 Mar 1966
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jun 1967
p. 19.
New York Times
6 Apr 1966
p. 32.
New York Times
7 Apr 1966
p. 44.
Variety
15 Oct 1965
p. 24.
Variety
15 Dec 1965
p. 4.
Variety
12 Jan 1966
p. 17.
Variety
2 Feb 1966
p. 4.
Variety
23 Mar 1966
p. 5.
Variety
30 Mar 1966
p. 4, 20.
Variety
13 Apr 1966
p. 8.
Variety
18 May 1966.
---
Variety
25 May 1966.
---
Variety
3 Aug 1966
p. 3.
Variety
10 Aug 1966
p. 3.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Nuns' habit and hayley mills' ward
Cost coordinator
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Main titles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Life With Mother Superior by Jane Trahey (New York, 1962).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Mother Superior
Release Date:
1966
Premiere Information:
Saint Louis opening: 30 March 1966
Copyright Claimant:
William Frye Productions
Copyright Date:
1 April 1966
Copyright Number:
LP32650
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Pathé
Duration(in mins):
112
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Mary Clancy and Rachel Devery reluctantly enter the convent school of St. Francis' Academy. Although the Mother Superior accurately pegs them as mischief makers and doles out punishment accordingly, she is unable to outsmart them. Running wild through the school and invading the cloisters, the girls substitute bubble bath powder for sugar at the nuns' tables, cause a fire emergency by smoking cigars in the boiler room, and disastrously attempt to make a mask by covering the face of a fellow student with quick-hardening plaster. Through it all, the determined Mother Superior remains confident that she can calm their temperamental natures. She befriends Rachel by staying up one night to teach the youngster how to make a new dress and recalls her own youthful dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Mary is deeply touched by the simple and devout service when one of the nuns dies suddenly, and she is further moved by the sisters' Christmas celebration. By graduation day, the change in Mary is complete; she decides to remain at the academy and join the ... +


Mary Clancy and Rachel Devery reluctantly enter the convent school of St. Francis' Academy. Although the Mother Superior accurately pegs them as mischief makers and doles out punishment accordingly, she is unable to outsmart them. Running wild through the school and invading the cloisters, the girls substitute bubble bath powder for sugar at the nuns' tables, cause a fire emergency by smoking cigars in the boiler room, and disastrously attempt to make a mask by covering the face of a fellow student with quick-hardening plaster. Through it all, the determined Mother Superior remains confident that she can calm their temperamental natures. She befriends Rachel by staying up one night to teach the youngster how to make a new dress and recalls her own youthful dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Mary is deeply touched by the simple and devout service when one of the nuns dies suddenly, and she is further moved by the sisters' Christmas celebration. By graduation day, the change in Mary is complete; she decides to remain at the academy and join the Order. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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