The Nun's Story (1959) watch online HD
- Rating 7.6
- Votes 918
Trailers "The Nun's Story (1959)"
This was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite of her films. It was also one of her most financially successful.
The role of Sister Luke was suggested for Ingrid Bergman but Bergman herself said she was too old for the role and instead proposed Audrey Hepburn.
Audrey Hepburn met the real Marie-Louise Habets - inspiration for the novel and film - while she was preparing for the role. The two actually became great friends and Habets later nursed Hepburn back to health after her near-fatal horse-riding accident on the set of Menantis pikta (1960).
Fred Zinnemann was strongly opposed to the studio's demand that there should be music over the final scene. Zinnemann felt that music would detract from the depth and grace of Audrey Hepburn's performance in this pivotal scene. Jack L. Warner felt otherwise but eventually relented. The scene remains one of the most memorable and famous from this acclaimed film, precisely for its restraint. When the film previewed in San Francisco with only Gregorian Chant as its score, Warner felt the results were disastrous, especially after the studio had gone to the expense of sending Waxman to Rome for three months.
An often-reported legend surrounding this movie is the story that Audrey Hepburn demanded a bidet be provided for her on location in the Congo. Hepburn always denied this, wondering how such an extravagance could even be hooked up in the Congo.
Members of the Rome Opera ballet corps were hired to play some of the nuns, and complex convent rituals were literally choreographed for them.
The opening credits play out over street scenes of Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch). At over 1,500 years old (though did not receive its city charter until 1128), it is one of the oldest cities in Belgium, and was at one time the most important commercial city in the world.
The film was shot on location in Rome, Bruges, Stanleyville and a real leper colony in the Congo.
After acquiring the rights to Kathryn Hulme's bestselling novel, Fred Zinnemann found that no one in Hollywood had any enthusiasm towards turning it into a film, citing it as being devoid of action. All that changed when Audrey Hepburn expressed a desire to take the lead role. Suddenly, a bidding war ensued which was won by Warner Brothers and netted them not only one of the most acclaimed films of the year but also their biggest financial hit for 1959.
The scenes where there is palpable sexual tension between Dr Fortunati and Sister Luke are not present in the novel.
A real priest was cast as Father Andre the chaplain but his acting left much to be desired so Stephen Murray was cast at short notice.
A patient in the Congo hospital has lines in just one scene; when it was necessary to dub over his line, it was spoken by Dean Jagger.
The film was based on the novel of the same name, that told the story of the real-life "Sister Luke," Marie-Louise Habets. In the film, Audrey Hepburn's sisters (siblings) were named Marie and Louise.
The film cast includes five Oscar winners: Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch, Beatrice Straight, Peggy Ashcroft and Dean Jagger; and four Oscar nominees: Edith Evans, Patricia Collinge, Barbara O'Neil and Mildred Dunnock.
During a 2017 NPR interview, actress Patricia Bosworth (Simone) told interviewer Scott Simon that on the same day that she had been cast in The Nun's Story, she also learned she was pregnant. Because she knew that she could not play a nun while pregnant (and because she didn't want a child at that time), she had an abortion (a procedure that was still illegal in the United States) right before flying to Rome for the preproduction preparation and filming. On the flight, Bosworth started to hemorrhage. The movie's director, Fred Zinnemann, had arranged for some cast members to meet with real nuns in various Italian convents, and Bosworth happened to be sent to a hospital convent--where the sister who Bosworth was assigned to immediately recognized that she was unwell. Bosworth was hesitant to admit her condition to the nun, but "I got back to the hotel, and I was just bleeding so badly all over the rug. It was just horrific. And I called [the nun] and I told her I had had an abortion and I thought I was dying, and she rushed me back to the hospital. And I got to the operating room and the doctor sewed me up. And he was very angry at me. He said, 'I've - you know, I've been working with actresses for too many years, sewing them up, and you're a fool and why didn't you take precautions and...' you know, really chewed me out. So I went back to my hospital room, and I never told Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers didn't know. The hospital didn't tell them. The nuns didn't--the nurses didn't tell them what had happened. They said I had a stomach ailment. The picture was delayed. So everything was fine, and I recovered and went on with the movie. But, of course, that--it was a traumatic, traumatic experience, and I had really almost lost my life."
One of the assistant directors on this film was Sergio Leone. Despite his very limited command of English (though fluent in French), his experience and reputation on previous American productions made him one of the highest paid assistant directors.
The film features a whopping nine past and future Oscar nominees for acting -- Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Dean Jagger, Mildred Dunnock, Beatrice Straight, Patricia Collinge, and Barbara O'Neil.
Peter Finch and Errol John were to return to the Congo two years later for the movie The Sins of Rachel Cade.
Sister Luke apparently was a trendsetter. So many nuns left their various orders in the decade following this film, and continue to do so, their numbers worldwide, particularly in the USA, and the advanced age of the great majority of those still remaining, unquestionably qualify them as an endangered species.
Final theatrical film of Margaret Phillips, who, afterwards, appeared only on television.
Peter Finch and Beatrice Straight would appear in the film Network (1976) and both would win Academy Awards for their performances.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee not nominated in either of the support acting categories that year.
Sound engineer Oliver S. Garretson's final theatrical film.
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|Audrey Hepburn||-||Sister Luke (Gabrielle van der Mal)|
|Peter Finch||-||Dr. Fortunati|
|Edith Evans||-||Rev. Mother Emmanuel (Belgium) (as Dame Edith Evans)|
|Peggy Ashcroft||-||Mother Mathilde (Africa) (as Dame Peggy Ashcroft)|
|Dean Jagger||-||Dr. Van Der Mal|
|Mildred Dunnock||-||Sister Margharita (Mistress of Postulants)|
|Beatrice Straight||-||Mother Christophe (Sanatorium)|
|Patricia Collinge||-||Sister William (convent teacher)|
|Rosalie Crutchley||-||Sister Eleanor|
|Ruth White||-||Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)|
|Barbara O'Neil||-||Mother Didyma (War-time Hospital)|
|Margaret Phillips||-||Sister Pauline (medical student)|
|Patricia Bosworth||-||Simone (postulant who changed her mind)|
|Colleen Dewhurst||-||Archangel Gabriel (Sanatorium)|
|Stephen Murray||-||Chaplain (Father Andre)|