Sunday, September 24, 2023

Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills match wits in “The Trouble with Angels”

The Trouble with Angels (1966) is an American comedy film directed by Ida Lupino and starring Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills. The strong supporting cast includes Binnie Barnes, Mary Wickes, Marge Redmond, Gypsy Rose Lee, Camilla Sparv, and June Harding in her film debut.

The film is set at the fictional St. Francis Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls in Pennsylvania. The school is operated by nuns and headed by The Mother Superior (Russell). When two students arrive, Mary Clancy (Mills) and Rachel Devery (Harding), the Mother Superior and the rest of the nuns at St. Francis have their hands full.

Mary has a will or iron but so does Mother Superior. Who will come out on top in the battle of wills?

June Harding, Hayley Mills, and Rosalind Russell

Ida Lupino (1918 – 1995) was an English-American actress, director, and producer. She appeared in over 50 films and was one of Warner Bros.’s biggest contract players during the 1940s starring in High Sierra (1941), The Sea Wolf (1941), and The Man I Love (1947). After she left Warner Bros., Lupino formed her own production company, producing, writing, and directing films that tackled subjects the big studios wouldn’t touch. During the 1950s, Lupino was the only female director working in Hollywood. She directed several small independent films but really made a name for herself directing for television. Lupino directed episodes of The Twilight Zone (starred in one too), The RiflemanBonanzaGilligan’s IslandIt Takes a ThiefFamily Affair, and Columbo. In 1966, she directed her one-and-only big-budget studio picture, The Trouble with Angels starring Rosalind Russell and Haley Mills.

Rosalind Russell (1907 - 1976) was an American film and stage actress. She was nominated for four Best Actress Academy Awards throughout her career. She won five Golden Globe Awards and a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Ruth in Wonderful Town. Russell was a versatile actress who excelled at both comedy and drama. She was also one of the few actresses of her day to portray lawyers, judges, and psychiatrists. Some of her famous films include The Women (1939), My Sister Eileen (1942), Sister Kenny (1946), Picnic (1955), Auntie Mame (1958), Gypsy (1962), and The Trouble with Angels (1966).

Hayley Mills (1946 - ) is an English actress and at one time was one of the biggest child stars in the world. The daughter of actor John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell and younger sister of Juliet Mills, she got her start in films playing Gillie in Tiger Bay (1959). It was her performance in that film that brought her to the attention of Walt Disney and international stardom. Mills made her American movie debut in Pollyanna (1960), winning the Academy Juvenile Award in the process. Other films she made at Disney include The Parent Trap (1961), In Search of the Castaways (1962), Summer Magic (1963), and That Darn Cat! (1965).


Gypsy Rose Lee and Rosalind Russell

The Trouble with Angels trivia

  • The exterior shots of St. Francis Academy were or St. Mary’s Home, an orphanage in Ambler, Pennsylvania. All of the interior shots were done in a studio in California.
  • Mary Wickes didn’t know how to swim and she was supposed to take swimming lessons for the pool scene with Hayley Mills and June Harding. She didn’t. In some scenes they had to use a double which cost the production time and money.
  • Greta Garbo was offered one million dollars to play Mother Superior. Rosalind Russell was offered the role at a much lower salary.
  • Hayley Mills was nineteen at the time of filming and June Harding was twenty-eight.
  • This was Ida Lupino’s first studio directorial assignment and the last movie she directed. She finished her directing career working in television.
  • Mary Wickes would go on to play nuns in three move movies. She played the same character in Where Angels Go Trouble Follows! (1968), Sister Act (1992), and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).
  • Jim Hutton plays Mr. Petrie and appears in two scenes but is uncredited.


To watch the movie on YouTube, click here.


To join the discussion on October 2, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation with a link to join the discussion on Zoom.


Discussion questions

  1. The film is a comedy but it did have its serious moments. Do you think the film balanced the comedy with the drama?
  2. What did you think of Rosalind Russell’s performance as Mother Superior? Was she a convincing nun?
  3. Were Hayley Mills and June Harding convincing as high school girls? Did they have on-screen chemistry?
  4. There were several great character actors playing nuns in the film. Did you have a favorite nun?
  5. Some critics thought that Mary’s decision to become a nun at the end didn’t make sense. Do you agree?
  6. Did anything about the film surprise you?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...