Because The Song of Bernadette played late at night at least once a week during my high school "Summer of Insomnia," that movie means something to me. I'm not sure what it means, though. I don't particularly like the movie, but I have seen it a number of times and so have an affinity for it. It's like family; you don't have to like it, but you do have to love it.
What always struck me about the movie was the struggle it so often had with itself in presenting Bernadette as a pure young woman touched by the spirit of the Lord when Hollywood films generally require their leading ladies to exude some kind of sex appeal. Bernadette is, by the very nature of her character in the film, entirely sexless. And yet Jennifer Jones's dark-haired, ivory-skinned beauty is reminiscent of a dewy, budding adolescent Snow White, to say nothing of the perky rack on display in her oddly tight "modest" bodices.
Now, a smart person would explore the complicated connections between passion and Passion, the exquisite agony of sacrificing for God and the exquisite agony of more carnal pleasures - especially the sexual nature of so many of the female saints' passions. But I am not a smart person.
So, instead, in honor of Ms. Jones's passing, I give you famous hot nuns from Hollywood's past:
Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story - the little black dress of hot nuns. The alluring gaze in this photo is especially disturbing.
Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Mary's - alarmingly square-jawed, "free-love cultist" hot nun. Somehow the wimple ruins all the loveliness wrought by the jauntily off-center lady-fedora in Casablanca.
Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music - spinning, singing hot nun. Yeah, "hot" might be stretching it until you consider both Andrews's gender-bending in Victor/Victoria and her defiant boob flash in S.O.B. Twisted, under-the-radar hot.
Amy Adams in Doubt - contemporary, ironically raised Mormon hot nun. Double the Godliness for double the hotness.
Amen, sisters. Amen.