Films, Books, Musings-With the Glamour of Old Hollywood and the Flair of the Retro

The Bells of St Mary’s- A Movie Review

In Movies on November 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm


RKO. 1945. Blk & Wht.

The Bells of St Mary’s is the sequel to the 1944 film Going My Way but it stands alone and you don’t need to watch them in chronological order to understand or enjoy it. Bing Crosby stars in both films as Father Chuch O’Malley, a Catholic Priest with a unconventional and light-hearted attitude to life. In The Bells of St Mary’s he has been sent to St Mary’s school to help prevent it’s building being condemned, therefore saving the school from closure. He has to liaise with the owner of the building next door, who is also head of the town council and in a position to condemn the school and buy the land for himself. Played by Henry Travers, Horace P. Bogardus is ruthless,cranky and doesn’t like children. Sister Superior Mary Benedict, however is praying for the miracle that Mr Bogardus has a change of heart and gives his brand new builing to St Mary’s. Sister Benedict (Ingrid Berman) also has to deal with the rule-bending Father O’Malley, who has begun to shake up the ways of the school. They share a friendly rivalry, engaging frequently in differences of opinion and often have to agree to disagree.

Ingrid Bergman was making The Bells of St. Mary’s when the 1944 Academy Awards ceremony took place. Bergman,Bing Crosby and The Bells of St Mary’s, director Leo McCarey had all been nominated for Oscars, Crosby and McCarey for the prequel Going My Way. All three won Oscars that night, with Bergman taking the Best Actress award for Gaslight (1944), the first of her three Academy Awards. Bergman was obviously relieved to have won, she was quoted as saying,
“I’m afraid that if I went on the set tomorrow without an Oscar, neither of them would speak to me.”. She need not have worried, her scene in the chapel asking for strength in her faith is particularly authentic and touching.

The Bells of St Mary’s is light and humourous and has a great message that makes it ideal family viewing,especially during the holidays.
It is available on DVD. Try the following links.
Amazon USA
Fishpond Australia

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