White Sister, The (1933): Fleming’s Pre-Code Romantic Melodrama, Starring Helen Hayes and Clark Gable

Victor Fleming directed The White Sister, a Pre-Code romantic melodrama, starring Helen Hayes and Clark Gable.

Based on the 1909 novel of the same name by Francis Marion Crawford, it was a remake of the 1923 silent film.

Helen Hayes plays Italian aristocrat Angela Chiaromonte, who spurns the husband chosen by her father (Lewis Stone) for Giovanni Severi (Gable), a handsome army lieutenant.

When her lover is reported killed in WWar I, Hayes renounces the world to become a nun. After she takes her vows, the lieutenant shows up, imploring her to give up the order, but she refuses.

Later, when the lieutenant is injured in a bombing raid and dies, Angela is at his side.

Director Fleming completed all of the interiors and backlot scenes, and Second unit director Cullen Tate was in charge of all the aerial sequences shot Reno, Nevada.

Commercial Appeal

Released to mostly favorable reviews, the film earned $750,000 in the U.S. and $922,000 elsewhere, generating a profit of $456,000.