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The late 1960s saw an explosion of films that tried to make sense of the chaotic events of the era or to capture its spirit, either seriously, like Midnight Cowboy (1969), or comically, like I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968). But no matter what the subject matter, most films of that time in some way reflected what was going on in the swingin' sixties, even if it was just in fashions or the editing style.
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968) was a lightweight sequel to the very successful family comedy The Trouble with Angels (1966). Both were stories of life at Catholic girls' school, and the conflicts between the strict nuns and the high-spirited girls. In Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, Rosalind Russell is back in the habit as Mother Superior. This time she has the help of Stella Stevens as a young nun, Sister George, who understands and sympathizes with the rebellious students. As rebelliousness goes, this is pretty mild, but it's entertainingly decked out with all the swingin' sixties trappings.
The theme song is by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who composed many of the decade's bubblegum hits, including most of the Monkees' classics. There's the mandatory quick-cut chase scene, and the now-you-see-them-now-you-don't cameos by stars like Milton Berle, Robert Taylor and Van Johnson. And talk about cutting edge - there's even a sequence with some bikers who look like Hell's Angels. Best of all, for fans of The Trouble with Angels, there are the familiar faces. Character actresses Mary Wickes, Binnie Barnes and Dolores Sutton reprise their roles as nuns from the original film. Wickes would later don the habit yet again for her amusing turn in both Sister Act (1992) and the sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993). And, of course, there are lessons to be learned on both sides of the generation gap. Nothing wrong with a little tradition, even in the swingin' sixties.
All in all, it's good, clean fun, which in 1968 was getting harder and harder to find at the movies. Critics complained that Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows did not match the charm of its predecessor...but then, very few sequels do. When there's comedy talent like Rosalind Russell and company to watch, that's pleasure enough.
Producer: William Frye
Director: James Neilson
Screenplay: Blanche Hanalis, based on characters created by Jane Trahey
Editor: Adrienne Fazan
Cinematography: Sam Leavitt
Production Designer: Lyle Wheeler
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Cast: Rosalind Russell (Mother Superior Simplicia), Stella Stevens (Sister George), Binnie Barnes (Sister Celestine), Mary Wickes (Sister Clarissa), Dolores Sutton (Sister Rose Marie), Susan St. James (Rosabelle).
by Margarita Landazuri