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 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.
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).
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)
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.