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Film / The Trouble with Angels

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"One of us may have to go. But I guarantee you, it won't be me."
Mother Superior, to Mary

The Trouble with Angels is a 1966 comedy film about the adventures of two teenage girls in an all-girls Catholic school run by nuns. The film was directed by Ida Lupino and stars Hayley Mills as rebellious teenager Mary Clancy, Rosalind Russell as the stern-but-reasonable Mother Superior, and June Harding as Rachel Devery, Mary's clumsy partner in crime. The film's cast also includes Marge Redmond as math teacher Sister Liguori, Mary Wickes as gym teacher Sister Clarissa, and Portia Nelson as art teacher Sister Elizabeth.

The film was based on Jane Trahey's book Life with Mother Superior, about her own high-school years at a Catholic school near Chicago in the 1930s.



  • Anyone Can Die: Sister Liguori dies unexpectedly.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rachel. But more so, Marvel-Ann.
  • The Cameo: None other than Gypsy Rose Lee in a small role as an interpretive dance teacher.
  • Catchphrase: "I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mother Superior.
    (finding Sister Clarissa rescuing the girls from the pool in full habit) "How's the water, Sister?"
  • Darkand Troubled Past: Sister Ursula, the German nun who survived the holocaust after being caught hiding Jewish children from the Nazis in Munich.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Mary: (seeing the school) "'s positively medieval!"
    Rachel: "The only thing missing is the dragon."
    (cut to Mother Superior)
  • Hilarity Ensues: The result of most of Mary's "scathingly brilliant ideas".
  • Ice Queen: Mother Superior.
  • Ill Girl: Charlotte with her fainting spells. Plus Marvel-Ann has mumps over one Christmas.
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  • The Klutz: Rachel.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Reverend Mother, but always for the most benevolent of reasons.
  • Not So Above It All: After reprimanding Mary and Rachel for spying on a rival school band, Mother Superior can't resist asking what they found out.
  • Not So Different: The Reverend Mother says it's one of the reasons she decided at the last minute not to expel troublemaker Mary: both are strong willed, and Reverend Mother says she can't be less tolerant of Mary than the Church has been of her. Also because she sees that Mary's father is a rich playboy who's been messing around with the interns since his wife died, and doesn't want to release her into that environment.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Basically the fuel for the entire movie.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mother Superior
  • Running Gag: Charlotte is always on the verge of fainting.
  • Sequel: Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968), which has Mother Superior butting heads with a younger, more progressive nun as they chaperone a group of girls on a cross-country bus trip.
  • Shout-Out: Mary adopts the name of Kim Novak. In the book, it's Fay Wray.
  • Stern Nun: Mother Superior.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kate Davis and Sandy Mackie, who went along with Mary and Rachel's first prank, are not seen again for the rest of the movie. Likely they are avoiding Mary and Rachel so they won't get into more trouble.


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