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This film adaptation of a Broadway play casts Van Dyke as a Catholic priest accused of murdering a young nun with whom he was in love. Quinlan plays the murdered nun, who taught at the parish school. Stapleton gives the movie's best performance as Van Dyke's housekeeper, who knows exactly
what happened and why. Using flashbacks, director Kramer develops three timeframes at once: the accused priest's stay in jail, his relationship with the nun, and the trial. The three levels of narrative are well developed and avoid becoming confusing or trite. The main problem with the film is
that inherent to most play adaptations: it's too talky and static, with most of the responsibility for story development left to explanatory dialog. The play and film are based on a 1927 murder case.