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The White Sister (1923)

Lillian Gish , Ronald Colman , Henry King  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman, Gail Kane
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Grapevine Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0031KBWQM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,358 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Lillian Gish is the daughter of a rich Italian count who is killed in a fall from his horse. Though Lillian stands to inherit a large estate, her older half-sister burns the will and thus inherits the property herself, throwing Lillian into poverty. Fortunately, she is engaged to marry the dashing officer Ronald Coleman, but he is captured by Arabs on an expedition to Arabia. Dedicating her life to his memory, Lillian becomes a nun, unaware that her lover has escaped his captors and returning to Italy! The climax takes place against a backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Transferred from the complete 10 reel version.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant romantic tragedy starring Lillian Gish September 1, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Lillian Gish didn't become silent cinema's greatest actress by playing happy characters living magically idyllic lives. D.W. Griffith helped mold her into the quintessential tragic heroine, an actress who combined a great sense of moral fortitude and incredible passion with the beauty and character of an angel from heaven. Gish was no longer working with Griffith in 1923 when she made The White Sister for Inspiration Pictures (the film was quickly picked up for distribution by Metro Picture Corporation). Freed of any restraints imposed upon her by the demanding Griffith, she truly shines in this story of tragic romance based upon a novel by Francis Marion Crawford.
Gish plays Angela Chiaromonte, the second daughter to a wealthy Italian nobleman. When her father is tragically killed, her evil, older half-sister quickly burns her father's will, thus assuring herself by law of possession of his entire estate. She wastes no time throwing poor Angela out of the house. As if things weren't already bad enough for the sweet and innocent Angela, she soon learns that the man she loves, Captain Giovanni Severini, is being called to lead a military excursion into Africa. Ronald Colman, in his first starring role, is wonderful as Captain Severini, playing his part with great emotion. When Angela later gets word that her beloved has been killed, she chooses to become a nun and work for humanity in the memory of the man she loved. Captain Severini is not in fact dead, but it takes him the better part of two years to make his way home and find, to his heart-breaking horror, that Angela, who had promised to wait for him forever, had chosen to wed herself to the church.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Print Was Horrendous November 10, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This MIGHT have been a good movie if the print of this silent film The White Sister was at least watchable. I sat through the whole thing but it was a chore all the way. The print is so dark in spots you can't see anything, the faces of the actors are whited out unless in close up, there was no attempt made to edit the film to take out defects, and it was grainy as well. Maybe someone else is selling a better print somewhere but this is not it. If I were this company I would be embarrassed to put this out on video and expect money for it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Ronald Colman had his first starring role opposite Lillian Gish in this 1923 Silent Classic directed by Henry King. Gish plays Angela Chiaromonte, an aristocratic girl whose father dies. Her half-sister (Gail Kane) burns their father's will and sends Angela away into poverty. She falls in love with dashing young Captain Giovanni Severi (Colman), who is reportedly killed in action in Africa. The grief stricken Angela becomes a nun, not knowing her beloved has been captured by a Bedouin Chief (Sheik Mahomet). Giovanni returns too late, for Angela has taken her final vows. He tries to take her from the convent and finally tricks her into a meeting where he begs her to sign a petition to the Pope to release her from her vows. At that point the Mt. Vesuvius volcano erupts, causing storms and floods. Giovanni saves Angela, who finds her sister dying in a church. Angela forgives her sister, but then Giovanni tries to warn the villagers of the coming disaster and he drowns.
Lillian Gish had left D. W. Griffith and was having trouble getting "The White Star" released under her Inspiration Pictures label. But the film, shot on location in Italy, proved a great success in its initial New York showing and was picked up by Metro. The photography in this film is quite beautiful and the adaptation of Francis Marion Crawford's novel provides some good moments for both Gish and Colman. An earlier silent version had been made in 1915 with Viola Allen and Richard Travers in the two lead roles and a decidedly Hollywood version was produced in 1933 with Helen Hayes and Clark Gable. Final note: I have seen several indications that this particular video version of the 12-reel film is missing several scenes with Gish. If so, then this film is certainly deserving of restoration. Gish, Colman and King would triumph again in 1924 with "Romola," which cost $2 million to make and was shot in Florence, Italy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lillian Gish October 10, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Few actors have what it takes to enjoy a career that spans from the beginnings of cinema into the 1980s. Lillian Gish is an exceptional actress that easily made the transition from the silent era into the talkies. She went on to star in many more projects up until her death. This volume exhibits some classic earlier Lillian and is a great place to start for anything one who is interested in discovering one of films greatest stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the original silent film White Sister July 22, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Get out your hankies, you will love it. The color remake cannot hold a candle to this original silent black and white. Lillian Gish glows on he screen. Even if she was not lighted that way, she would still shine. When she is visible, you cannot take your eyes off of her. Which brings me to her eyes. They are huge and seem on the verge of tears, as she "floats" through each scene. Watching this film will make you long for the days of silent films, without all the noise and special effects; just great acting!! Do yourself a favor and watch it with a friend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great First Movie
THE WHITE SISTER was my first exposure to a silent film. I was not sure just what to expect overall, and if I would be able to follow the plot, etc. Read more
Published 5 months ago by LARRY HALLA
3.0 out of 5 stars Ya
Come on "Rare Films Of Lillian Gish Volume 1" and it only contains, what, one movie? Silent Films, Archive Hollywood? Is this free market capitalism at work or what? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Just Frazzled
1.0 out of 5 stars VHS -78 MINUTES ARE MISSING!
This 65 minute VHS from Timeless Multimedia is missing a whopping 78 minutes off the film. The film should run 143 minutes. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Hargreaves
3.0 out of 5 stars A nun's story which promises an eruption of Mount Vesuvius
Lillian Gish is cheated of her inheritance by her half-sister. Her fiance', Italian army captain Ronald Coleman, remains steadfast. Read more
Published on April 5, 2010 by J. Faulk
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite the work of genius for its time.
Never thought I could sit through a silent movie on tv, but (once I got into the pace) I had to admire everything about it.
Published on August 5, 2009 by Library Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Gifts for Step-mother
The White Sister was a Christmas gift, so I don't even know what it is about. My step-mother loves the old movies, so I buy from a list she has given me. Read more
Published on December 17, 2007 by Bookster
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, all right...
This film was released by Inspirational Pictures, Inc. and distributed by Metro. It was inspirational, all right--it inspired me to hate the Catholic Church all the more. Read more
Published on November 10, 2007 by David Gasten
5.0 out of 5 stars with a song in my heart
I am a fan of susan haward I saw this movie in 1951 and I thought it was great I also liked her in I want to live to name a few. Read more
Published on June 1, 2003 by Joseph Sciberras
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