The Singing Nun (film)

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The Singing Nun
The Singing Nun.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Koster
Produced byJohn Beck
Screenplay byJohn Furia
Sally Benson
Story byJohn Furia
StarringDebbie Reynolds
Ricardo Montalbán
Greer Garson
Music byJeanine Deckers (songs)
Harry Sukman
CinematographyMilton Krasner
Edited byRita Roland
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 4, 1966 (1966-04-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.8 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

The Singing Nun is a 1966 American semi-biographical drama film about the life of Jeanine Deckers, a nun who recorded the chart-topping hit song "Dominique". Directed by Henry Koster in his final film, it starred Debbie Reynolds in the title role, and features Ricardo Montalbán, Katharine Ross, Chad Everett, and Ed Sullivan as himself.

Harry Sukman was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment. The film featured nine songs by Deckers (credited as Soeur Sourire), of which five had English verses as translated by Randy Sparks, who also wrote two original songs and a third "inspired" by a Soeur Sourire song.


Sister Ann (Debbie Reynolds) leaves the Dominican convent near Antwerp for her assignment at Samaritan House in a depressed area of Brussels. Sister Ann loves to play the guitar and sing, and when she joins in the traditional evensong at Samaritan House, she impresses the other nuns and Father Clementi (Ricardo Montalbán). She becomes fond of Dominic Arlien (Ricky Cordell), a motherless child whose father is an unemployed drunkard and who is loved only by his 17-year-old sister, Nicole (Katharine Ross). Sister Ann composes the song Dominique for the boy. Father Clementi persuades Robert Gerarde (Chad Everett), a partner in a recording firm, to listen to Sister Ann's music in the hope of having it recorded. When Robert meets Sister Ann, he discovers that she was his classmate at the Paris Conservatory of Music five years earlier. Later, while visiting the Arlien house, Sister Ann discovers pictures of Nicole in provocative poses; the girl defiantly tells the nun that she posed to get food and rent money for her family. Her father overhears them, strikes Nicole, and throws the nun out of the house. The Mother Prioress (Greer Garson) later admonishes Sister Ann for allowing the young girl's secret to be made known to the father. Robert, whose attraction to Sister Ann has been rekindled, obtains permission from church authorities to have her record an album; "Dominique" becomes a worldwide hit, and Ed Sullivan brings a television crew to Brussels to film Sister Ann for his show.

Sister Ann becomes confused by her success and by Robert's personal interest in her, and she seeks counsel from Father Clementi. Her decision is made for her when Dominic is seriously injured in an accident; she prays for him, promising to give up her music and care for others if he recovers. The boy recovers, and the Arlien family, shaken by the incident, decide to move to the country. Sister Ann gives Nicole her guitar and goes to an African village to work among the natives.



Henry King was originally announced as director but left after differences with producer John Beck. He was replaced by Henry Koster.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  2. ^ Coburn in 'What Did...?' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 May 1965: B5.

External links[edit]