The Flying Nun-Complete First Season (1967) (NTSC)
Featurette-A Look Back At The Flying Nun With Sally Field
Trailer-Bewitched TV, I Dream Of Jeannie, The Partridge Family
|Year Of Production||1967|
|Running Time||788:28 (Case: 170)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4||Directed By||
Jon C. Andersen
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, The Dig-In episode|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
“…When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag.”
- Sister Bertrille explains why she can fly.
In the late 1960s Australia’s social and political landscape was shrouded in insecurity and uncertainty. Shell-shocked Aussie soldiers returning home from their role in the Vietnam conflict were met with an icy indifference and the Government at the time was highly unstable.
Fortunately, Australian families had television to help them escape. Like two other fantasy sit-coms still riding high in the ratings, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, Sister Bertrille (Sally Field) as the Flying Nun allowed us to forget our troubles by offering a dose of good intention wrapped neatly around a sugar-coated morality tale each week. Most episodes took on a particular social issue, like gambling, crime, sexual permissiveness and poverty and depicted it in a positive, solutions-focused way. No problem was too difficult for a saintly nun who was lifted up to the heavens by the local trade winds.
However, a flying nun had only limited novelty appeal and her unique talent was difficult to exploit over and over again. Sister Bertrille’s ability was sometimes used to frighten the mean-spirited into changing their ways, such as via an enthusiastic wave from the outside of an aeroplane window at 30,000 feet. But more often than not, soaring through the sky simply got her around Puerto Rico a lot quicker.
Part of the series’ popularity was the manner in which stereotypical notions of cloistered life were unpacked and repackaged to appeal to a young audience. These were no sexually repressed, self-flagellating women of the cloth, but rather a bevy of good-natured and curious philanthropists who selflessly served their community. The series was even embraced by many real-life Catholic nuns who praised the script and situations as being representative of contemporary convent life.
Even looking beyond the unnecessary canned laughter track and the fact that you could clearly see the wires suspending Sister Bertrille awkwardly in mid air, without a doubt the series’ trump card was effervescent ex-Gidget girl Sally Field and the circumstances she often inadvertently got herself into. Complemented by snappy dialogue, a terrific ensemble of actors including handsome local playboy Carlos Ramirez who factored into nearly every episode, the Flying Nun was an enormously appealing series.
And yes…the young Sister Sixto is indeed Shelley Morrison who plays Rosario Salazar, Karen Walker’s long-suffering maid in Will and Grace.
Season 1 of the Flying Nun contains the following 30 episodes spread over four discs:
The Flying Nun (49:13)
Sister Bertrille makes an indelible impression on the Reverend Mother just after she arrives at the Convent San Tanco, Puerto Rico when her newly discovered flying ability gets her into trouble with the army.
The Convert (25:21)
The dubiously wealthy, but lovable local playboy, Carlos Ramirez, attempts to change his ways after seeing a nun fly.
Old Cars for New (25:54)
An unscrupulous car dealer takes advantage of Sister B by selling her a lemon to replace the convent’s purple station wagon.
A Bell for San Tanco (25:21)
After the convent bell develops a huge crack, Sister B and Carlos go on an adventure to retrieve the replacement bell which sits on the bottom of the ocean.
The Fatal Hibiscus (25:56)
When the other nuns overhear that Sister B is leaving the convent, they mistakenly believe she is dying.
Flight of the Dodo Bird (25:52)
Sister B suffers from performance anxiety when the nuns try to convince a visiting psychiatrist (played by John Astin – Gomez Addams) that they are not crazy and that Sister B can really fly.
Polly Wants a Crack in the Head (25:53)
When a foul-mouthed parrot decides to make the convent its home, the nuns try to hide the uncouth bird from the Reverend Mother while they try and teach it some manners.
Ah Love, Could You and I Conspire (25:51)
When Sister B and Sister Jacqueline go to the local fish market, they pick up more than a basket full of produce - a stowaway who is a mafia hitman’s secretary trying to escape the mob life.
Days of Nuns and Roses (25:53)
Sister B and a number of other nuns decide to distil some grapes and make bottles of Nectar of San Tanco to sell to the community. But when the juice turns to wine, Carlos is arrested for smuggling illegal alcohol and the nuns are investigated.
With Love from Irving (25:53)
Sister B nurses an injured Pelican (named Irving) back to health, but it creates havoc at the convent when the love-lorn bird forms a romantic attachment to her and refuses to leave.
It’s an Ill Wind (25:56)
Sister B is blown off course and lands on an island where she gets in trouble with a gang of criminal gamblers.
Young Man with a Cornette (25:50)
A young boy who likes to tell tall tales becomes the “boy who cried wolf” after he spots Sister B flying and no-one will believe him.
The Patron of Santa Thomasina (25:55)
Sister B uses her subtle powers of persuasion to try and quell a civil war in the small village of Santa Thomasina.
If You Want to Fly, Keep Your Cornette Dry (25:55)
Two young children become fascinated with Sister B’s ability to fly and want to learn.
The Dig-In (25:54)
This episode, perhaps the darkest in the series, has Sister B trapped in a mine with a man on the run from the law.
Wailing in Winter Wonderland (25:52)
All the tourists decide to leave San Juan when Sister B makes it snow at Christmas to make an old nun happy.
With a Friend Like Him, Who Needs? (25:53)
A klutzy librarian, Brother Paul Bernardy, is summoned to the convent to fix up the library. The Reverend Mother assigns Sister B to be his assistant, believing two wrongs might make a right…
Tonio’s Mother (25:53)
After seeing Sister B flying, a young boy believes that she is his mother returned from heaven.
A Fish Story (25:53)
Sister B helps out Sister Sixto’s fishmonger uncle when he falls on hard times.
Hot Spell (25:52)
Carlos hands his casino and discotheque over to the convent when a gang of mobsters try to muscle in and force him to sell.
My Sister, the Sister (25:55)
When Carlos gets romantically involved with a gorgeous American woman, he’s shocked to learn that she’s actually Sister B’s biological sister.
Sister Lucky (25:50)
Soliciting funds for the poor, Sister B inadvertently becomes a lucky charm for a local gambler, much to the chagrin of the Mother Reverend.
Features a pre-MASH Jamie Farr (who played Klinger) as a local fisherman.
The Sister and the Old Salt (25:50)
Sister B keeps a close bird's-eye view on old sailor Captain Otis Barnaby, when he sails to Miami on a rickety boat that she believes may not make the journey.
Cyrano de Bertrille (25:43)
Sister B decides to teach Pedro Alvarez, the local grocer, how to read and write after he receives a love letter and cannot reply to it.
The Reconversion of Sister Shapiro (25:19)
Called away on a once-in-a-life-time deal, Carlos entrusts the care of his shy godchild Linda to Sister B. It backfires when Linda decides she wants to become a nun.
Where There’s a Will (25:52)
The nuns are thrown into disarray when Sister B inherits a handsome young boxer (Buffalo Buzzsaw) from her deceased uncle and he moves into the convent.
The Puce Alert (25:53)
Carlos’ playboy ways are challenged when he’s called in for two weeks active duty in the Marine Corps.
May the Wind Be Always at Your Back (25:53)
Two high-achieving students, Bridget and Joel, win a dinner at an expensive restaurant with Carlos. Initially reluctant to go, Bridget ends up falling for Carlos.
Love Me, Love My Dog (25:55)
Sister B convinces the Reverend Mother to keep a seemingly stray dog, Raffles, in the convent to help a boy overcome his shyness. However, it all goes awry when it turns out that the adorable pooch has been taught to steal wallets and purses by its real owner.
You Can’t Get There From Here (25:38)
Out on a ‘joy flight’, Sister B gets blown off course and becomes stranded on a deserted island after her cornette becomes wet and torn. Fortunately for her, Carlos and his latest floozy just happen to be marooned on the same island.
The first season of the Flying Nun is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full-frame and not 16x9 enhanced.
Most of the episodes exhibit only a light veneer of intermittent grain, but considering the age of the source material and the fact they’re NTSC transfers, the picture quality is satisfyingly sharp.
The only problem episode is If You Want to Fly, Keep Your Cornette Dry, which exhibits a lot of background noise and grain. It is also overly dark.
Overall, shadow detail clarity is generally very good, while black and contrast levels are stable without showing any signs of low level noise.
Colours are reasonably well-saturated and vibrant, but red tends to suffer from jagged edges and bleed. Skin tones often take on a bright pinkish hue as do the lips of the nuns.
The source prints are very clean with only a few fine hairs and speckling appearing infrequently.
Subtitles are available in Spanish and Portuguese.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix is more than adequate.
While the opening theme tune in many episodes can sound somewhat hollow and lacklustre, when each story kicks in the recording levels are generally stable and hiss free.
Lip syncing is an issue during Sally Field’s singing scenes - often she and the children's voices can be heard, but their lips aren’t moving or they're trying to catch up.
Being a mono mix the surrounds and subwoofer are as quiet as church mice.
For Spanish and Portuguese speaking fans a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is available for these two language groups.
|Surround Channel Use|
An incredibly frank, funny and thoroughly engaging Field delves into her experiences of playing a nun who could fly. She confesses to feeling like the laughing stock of the nation at the time and how vulnerable and depressed she was during the filming of the series. She talks about how painful the harness was to wear (especially during the final season when she was pregnant) and her battle with bulimia.
Short marketing pieces for the following DVD releases:
Bewitched TV series (0:56)
I Dream of Jeannie (0:52)
The Partridge Family (1:00)
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 and Region 1 editions are identical. Go for the cheapest option.
Upbeat, perky and a truly one-of-a-kind series, the Flying Nun is a charmingly inoffensive and nostalgic release which highlights a time in history when we could accept and be captivated by a nun who could fly. Apart from Sister Bertrille erupting into song occasionally, the series rarely slid into the sentimental wetness it so carefully tried to avoid.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|