The Trouble With Angels Blu-ray Review

A most scathingly brilliant classic 4 Stars

Sony brings the 1966 classic girls reform school comedy The Trouble With Angels starring Rosalind Russell and Disney favorite Hayley Mills to Blu-ray courtesy of its MOD (made on demand) program.

The Trouble with Angels (1966)
Released: 30 Mar 1966
Rated: PG
Runtime: 112 min
Director: Ida Lupino
Genre: Comedy, Family
Cast: Rosalind Russell, Binnie Barnes, Camilla Sparv, Mary Wickes
Writer(s): Blanche Hanalis (screenplay), Jane Trahey (based on a novel by)
Plot: Two high-spirited young students at St. Francis Academy For Girls keep things hopping for the challenged Mother Superior and her staff of bewildered Sisters.
IMDB rating: 7.4
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 51 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 06/25/2019
MSRP: $22.99

The Production: 4/5

Two troubled girls, Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills) and Rachel Devery (June Harding), arrive at St. Francis Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls, and quickly become friends and question the authority of the nuns, particularly Mother Superior (Rosalind Russell). The girls are constantly playing practical jokes on the nuns and fellow classmates, then finding themselves on pots and pans duty in the kitchen for the trouble they cause. Over a period of years, the two girls eventually mature, putting their shenanigans behind them and become more willing to help the struggling school succeed before graduating.

The Trouble With Angels may feel dated by today’s standards, but watching it today in the context of a classic film from the mid 1960s, it’s like travelling in a time machine and is often funny and poignant. The three leads are absolutely spectacular. Hayley Mills was trying to shed her squeaky-clean image from the many Disney comedies she appeared in like The Parent Trap and That Darn Cat!  and Pollyanna, and I’m sure the sight of her smoking cigarettes and later a cigar (which she swiped from one of the nuns) must have been somewhat scandalous at the time. June Harding is equally up to the task of being Mary’s best friend and partner in crime in one of her few big screen roles. Rosalind Russell plays the voice of reason as Mother Superior, understanding the issues the girls are having but placing a firm hand of discipline in trying to shape these girls into women fit for society and quite possibly helping a few of them to find the calling of becoming a nun. Director Ida Lupino (this would be her last feature film as a director, working mostly in television) handles the story with grace, balancing the comedy and drama wonderfully.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Sony has once again delivered a near picture-perfect transfer of a classic catalog title, making its high definition Blu-ray debut in a 1080p AVC-encoded presentation preserving the movie’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This is a very film-like presentation, with organic film grain, well-saturated colors (despite the mostly black and white tones), and excellent detail overall that includes wardrobe textures, facial features like freckles, and stone textures in the many statues found around the grounds of the school (which is actually Lindenwold Castle in Ambler, Pennsylvania, not far from where I spent my teenage years).

Audio: 3/5

Sony has included a fairly run of the mill DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono soundtrack that has excellent fidelity for its age. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout, and Jerry Goldsmith’s simple score (that often doubles as sound effects for the aging boiler) sounds marvelous.

Special Features: 0.5/5

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:02)

Overall: 4/5

The Trouble with Angels is a delightful comedy from the mid 1960s that is suitable for an old-fashioned movie night with the family. As with most Sony MOD releases, this disc may appear Sold Out at most retailers. At press time, both Amazon and Best Buy were sold out, but it appears as if Wal-Mart may still be taking orders. Be patient, as more will arrive shortly.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

35 Comments

  1. I hope you'll love it.

    I mostly watch movies from the 1930's and 1940's, but this one ranks very high on my list of favorites. Fell in love with it 6 or 7 years ago when I watched it on Turner Classic Movies because it had Hayley Mills and Rosalind Russell listed in the channel guide description. Since then I bet I've rewatched it a dozen times.

    And I sure wish there were 20 more movies with June Harding in them. Despite being unknown to me before watching this, I think her character is my favorite in the film. Very fine actress.

  2. I’m very surprised that SONY put out this film on bluray. Don’t get me wrong I like it a lot and I’m very happy they’ve done it. But then they had specialty companies put out huge popular successes like Bye Bye Birdie and I believe Oliver! with limited pressings that sold out quickly and have no upcoming pressings? Are there people in important positions who have no idea what they are doing? Really bizarre.

  3. roxy1927

    I'm very surprised that SONY put out this film on bluray. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot and I'm very happy they've done it. But then they had specialty companies put out huge popular successes like Bye Bye Birdie and I believe Oliver! with limited pressings that sold out quickly and have no upcoming pressings? Are there people in important positions who have no idea what they are doing? Really bizarre.

    Oliver! was recently re-issued as part of Sony's MOD program, much like Trouble with Angels. It is likely that Bye Bye Birdie will follow on MOD later on down the road, as many of the studio's formerly licensed Twilight Time titles have been re-issued under this program.

  4. roxy1927

    Thank You! Is the quality of the Mods as good as the original Twilight Time? Are they exactly the same?

    Sorry, I thought I had included the link to my review of Oliver! in my previous reply. You can read it here.

  5. I'm in Boston for business until tomorrow and it's killing me because I KNOW this is waiting for me at home!! I adore this movie and am so happy that it's finally getting its due!

    "You need Ten dollarth for leotardth"

  6. MarkA

    Has anybody received this yet? I'm awaiting my pre-order from Amazon (with a date of June 25th) and it is not yet shipped.

    I ordered my copy from Best Buy on 6/24 and it arrived on 6/26.

  7. MarkA

    Has anybody received this yet? I'm awaiting my pre-order from Amazon (with a date of June 25th) and it is not yet shipped.

    My Amazon order was officially 'delayed' as of last Thursday (the day they told me it would arrive) with no new shipping date. I don't think they got stock in time to make the original date.

    I just got a notification earlier that it shipped today and is due to be here on July 2nd.

  8. MarkA

    Has anybody received this yet? I'm awaiting my pre-order from Amazon (with a date of June 25th) and it is not yet shipped.

    I suspect everyone who ordered from Not Amazon got their item. Mine delivered from B&N the day prior to release — preordered 6/16 and delivered with Birdy and Gaslight 6/24

    If Amazon follows their recent pattern I'd suspect they should ship sometime late this week though July 4th may mess things up.

  9. David Norman

    I suspect everyone who ordered from Not Amazon got their item. Mine delivered from B&N the day prior to release — preordered 6/16 and delivered with Birdy and Gaslight 6/24

    If Amazon follows their recent pattern I'd suspect they should ship sometime late this week though July 4th may mess things up.

    I hope so. It's not available a lot places now.

  10. As I noted in my review, many of the more popular Sony MOD titles often sell out in their first pressings. Be patient and check back with your favorite online retailer once a week to see if they are taking orders again.

  11. David Norman

    I suspect everyone who ordered from Not Amazon got their item. Mine delivered from B&N the day prior to release — preordered 6/16 and delivered with Birdy and Gaslight 6/24

    If Amazon follows their recent pattern I'd suspect they should ship sometime late this week though July 4th may mess things up.

    I got a message that amazon sent it out today and I should get it by Saturday! Yay!

  12. I watched it last night. Safe to order for those wondering if it's OAR. It's almost 16:9, not sure of the exact ratio. Had about an inch of black on bottom and top on my 42 inch screen. Good colors. Good cinematography for what was I'm sure a budget film for Columbia. Sound is good.

  13. Ethan Riley

    I watched it last night. Safe to order for those wondering if it's OAR. It's almost 16:9, not sure of the exact ratio. Had about an inch of black on bottom and top on my 42 inch screen. Good colors. Good cinematography for what was I'm sure a budget film for Columbia. Sound is good.

    Sounds like 1.85.

  14. MarkA

    I got a message that amazon sent it out today and I should get it by Saturday! Yay!

    My latest missive from Amazon stated July 10th delivery date.

    Drat Drat And it’s Double Drat. I have to be back at the office July 9th.

  15. Agree the video quality is much improved on the DVD. That said, I’m not sure it’s the full aspect ratio. Compared to the DVD the top and bottom of the picture is missing.

  16. Michael Duffy

    Agree the video quality is much improved on the DVD. That said, I'm not sure it's the full aspect ratio. Compared to the DVD the top and bottom of the picture is missing.

    May not be full exposed film frame, but it's very likely the original intended Aspect ratio.
    OAR is usually preferred to just removing the mattes to see more information that was never intended to be projected

  17. I believe I've read that the DVD was open matte, so it makes sense we're losing a little bit here with the widescreen presentation on Blu-Ray.

    I can't personally go check since I was under the impression it was pan & scan for many years and avoided buying it. And when I read that it actually was open matte which is much less objectionable to me, it was about six months ago and the DVD was out of print. I remember one copy on Amazon for something crazy like $150 when I went looking around, which no sane person would pay.

    Incidentally, it's again available at a reasonable price on DVD on Amazon. I assume it was reprinted in conjunction with the Blu-Ray release and knowing how these companies work, probably is unchanged from the original release despite there being room for improvement.

  18. David Norman

    May not be full exposed film frame, but it's very likely the original intended Aspect ratio.
    OAR is usually preferred to just removing the mattes to see more information that was never intended to be projected

    Thanks for your reply – that's interesting.

  19. I'm really enjoying watching the Blu-ray of The Trouble with Angels as I am a huge Hayley Mills fan. Picture is great and I love all of the "Gypsy" references: Rosalind Russell and Gypsy Rose Lee in the cast and Sister Prudence's dog Jocko (Uncle Jocko in Gypsy)! How clever!!

  20. Mined arrived yesterday from Amazon safe and sound. Watched it tonight and am very pleased. Other than 4 or 5 very brief spots that were a bit grainy looking, the picture was pristine.

    Do made on demand Blu-Ray's not usually have a disc identifier? Not sure if that's the right term for what I'm talking about, but other Blu-Ray's have a custom picture pop up on my Playstation 4's dashboard and will show the movie title for the disc that's inserted. This one didn't do all that.

    I do wish the isolated soundtrack was included on the disc as an extra, but I only noticed the trailer.

    Edit: This is a long shot, but does anyone know where the Santa Fe train depot was/is located that's in the movie? Wish I could get a better look at the lead locomotive at the end (I think it's a General Motors F unit), but the trailing one is a clearly a beautiful Alco PA1 passenger locomotive in Santa Fe's passenger warbonnet paint scheme.

  21. LeoA

    Edit: This is a long shot, but does anyone know where the Santa Fe train depot was/is located that's in the movie? Wish I could get a better look at the lead locomotive at the end (I think it's a General Motors F unit), but the trailing one is a clearly a beautiful Alco PA1 passenger locomotive in Santa Fe's passenger warbonnet paint scheme.

    Not such a longshot!! 🙂

    The train depot that was used was the Monrovia Station in Southern California.

    General info about the station can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monrovia_station

    Here is a picture of unknown vintage . You can see the red VW van parked in almost the same spot as Mr. Grissom's yellow bus, the area (toward the left in the picture where the windows jut out) in which Mary Wickes lines up the girls when they first get to St. Francisville. ('It's as out as it'll go!") and the entire side of the building that can pretty much be seen in the final (graduation day) scene.

    View attachment 60491

    Here's a modern picture taken from a different angle. It looks pretty much the same (the depot was built in 1926 and has recently been restored) but it looks like parking is no longer allowed in the same spot!
    View attachment 60492

    And one more from the back side. It's unseen in the movie, no doubt to hide the Spanish architecture of the depot which would have been common to see in southern CA but VERY out of place in a Pennsylvania setting. The opening shot of the bus pulling in to the back looks to have been an insert that was shot somewhere else (I have no idea where)

    View attachment 60494

  22. We watched the new Blu-ray today. Picture looked pretty good for a lightweight movie this old. The sound was clear, but the level was a little lower than most Blu-rays on my system. We had to crank it up farther than usual.

    Definitely a movie I never thought to see on Blu-ray.

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