19 May 2014 | ma-cortes
Mesmerizing film with magnificent screenplay , wonderful performances and intense drama
Enjoyable as well colorful picture about a dedicated religious nurse who attempts to cure troubled people in the Belgian Congo . The melancholy tale from the Kathryn Hulme book dealing with a young missionary working as a nurse during WWII and based on the novel of the same name, that told the story of the real-life "Sister Luke," Marie-Louise Habets . Gabriella (enticing Audrey Hepburn ,the character was suggested for Ingrid Bergman but Bergman herself said she was too old for the role and instead proposed Audrey) is the daughter of an important doctor (Dean Jagger) who leaves the convent as Sister Luke . The movie has opening credits play out over street scenes of Bruges , at over 1,500 years old , one of the oldest cities in Belgium, and at one time, the most important commercial city in the world . In 1939, while the Nazi regime subjugates European Nations Graciella travels to the Belgian Congo , her assignment in the Congo is at a European hospital under the atheist eye of a doctor called Fortunai (Peter Finch). Slowly , Gabriella or Sister Luke heals ills , helps injured villagers and usually prays . But the Nazis rise to power and invade her homeland . Then , she returns Belgium , there questions her religious vocation and her moralizing comes back to haunt her .
Director Fred Zinneman struck a correct balance of fine pace and sensitivity in the mesmerizing tale of a young Belgian girl who becomes a religious missionary and is sent to the Belgian Congo to work at a hospital . Finely starred by a luminous Audrey Hepburn as a dedicated nun who subsequently comes to question her vocation , as she is struggling to reconcile her free spirit and philanthropic wishes with the religious rigors ; Hepburn chalked up another hit in this long but always interesting flick based on Kathryn Hulme's novel , being rightly adapted by screenwriter Robert Anderson . Spectacular settings and well staged scenes , in fact , members of the Rome Opera ballet corps were hired to play some of the nuns, and complex convent rituals were literally choreographed for them . This agreeable flick packs an exciting screenplay , thought-provoking drama , fine interpretations and intelligent filmmaking . It's surprising that the movie didn't achieve any of the six Academy Award for which it was nominated ; however , it won NY Film Critics to best actress and director and British Academy gave prizes to best actress and support cast . Casting is frankly well . Good acting by Audrey Hepburn as a beautiful missionary nurse who gains the trust of the locals , not only providing medical care but dealing with African people ; this was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite of her films and it was also one of her most financially successful . Excellent Peter Finch as a good surgeon , he doesn't quite hit it off with Gabriella at first but soon starts to develop deep affections for her . Furthermore , a nice support cast formed by notorious secondaries such as Edith Evans , Peggy Ashcroft , Dean Jagger ,Beatrice Straight ,Rosalie Crutchley , Ruth White , Barbara O'Neil , Lionel Jeffries , Colleen Dewhurst and Niall MacGinnis , among others . ¨Nun's story¨ consolidated a sub-genre about nuns or religious people in far countries , going on ¨Heaven knows , Mr Allison¨ by John Huston with Robert Mitchum Deborah Kerr , ¨The Sins of Rachel Cade¨ also produced by Henry Blanke and directed by Gordon Douglas with Angie Dickinson , Roger Moore and Peter Finch , too , and ¨A Nun at the Crossroads¨ with Rosanna Schiaffino and John Richardson , among others.
Appropriate as well as sensitive musical score by the classic Franz Waxman . Glamorous and evocative cinematography by Franz Planer , though mostly filmed on real African exteriors , in fact , the film was shot on location in Rome, Bruges, Stanleyville and a real leper colony in the Congo . The motion picture well produced by Henry Blanke was stunningly directed by Fred Zinneman. This is one of various and pleasant works , some major and minor successes of his long career as a filmmaker . He was a Hollywood veteran director, directing early movies and a long career until the 80s . With ¨The nun's story¨ Zinnemann chalked another major hit in this overlong but always absorbing tale . 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 , but all that changed when Audrey Hepburn expressed a desire to take the lead role . Rating : 8 , Above average , well worth seeing .