The White Sister succeeds because of the charisma of Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman, and because audiences of the 1920s seemed to want to believe that the horrible real-life sacrifices that had been made in World War I were worthwhile. This is essentially a post-war propaganda film, reinforcing the notion that it is better to die serving a noble cause than to live in peace and happiness. The White Sister reinforces the power over the individual of both the state and the church, with Gish's character giving her life to the Catholic church and Colman's character dying a violent death trying to save others. The tech credits for The White Sister are quite good, with the fine cinematography by Roy Overbaugh helping to keep the film visually interesting. The location filming in Italy is a significant asset, as is director Henry King's steady pacing. A caution: video versions of this film are often severely edited and have other quality of production problems.
by Richard Gilliam review