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Going My Way

A 1944 movie starring Bing Crosby.

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Still a holiday favorite in our house.

  • Dec 17, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
While I will be the first to concede that director Leo McCarey's 1944 film "Going My Way" is somewhat dated and kind of corny to boot I really don't care.  The fact is that I have loved this movie since the very first time I saw it with my parents when I was 10 or 11 years old.  Watching "Going My Way" has been a holiday tradition for me ever since.

"Going My Way" stars Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O'Malley, a young Catholic priest who has drawn a very difficult assignment.  He has been sent by the Bishop to St. Dominic's in the inner city to help the struggling parish extricate itself from the dire financial straits it finds itself in.  For 45 years this parish has been led by Father Fitzgibbon (played masterfully by Barry Fitzgerald).  Father O'Malley's task is to implement the needed changes without hurting the old man's feelings...a very sticky wicket indeed! From the outset the two priests are at loggerheads over a number of issues.  Over the objections of his pastor Father O'Malley plows ahead with his plans to revive the parish.  He starts a boy's choir and if you look very closely you just might spot an extremely young Andy Williams in the group.  Father O'Malley also dabbles in songwriting and has a tune he calls "Going My Way" that he has high hopes will be published and earn him some cash. This is one of the ways the the good Father hopes to get his parish out of the red.

Along the way we meet a number of other delighful charactors including Frank McHugh as Father Timothy O'Dowd and Metropolitan Opera star Rise Stevens as opera singer Genevieve Linden.  Also featured in "Going My Way" are Gene Lockhart as mean old banker Ted Haines, Sr. and James Brown as the bankers irrepressible son Ted Jr.  What is so great about "Going My Way" is that it will make you laugh one minute and make you cry the next.  And there are some great tunes including one of Bing Crosby's biggest hits ever "Swinging On A Star". I just love that tune!   And I must warn you....the final scene will bring a tear to your eye....guaranteed!  It did the first time I saw it when I was 10 and it did again last night when I watched this film for the umpteenth time. Very touching!

"Going My Way" was a huge hit back in 1944.  The film was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards and walked away with 7 including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.  I was very pleased to discover that in 2004 "Going My Way" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".  I am very happy about that because this film was in pretty tough shape when it first appeared on VHS in 1986.  I can't wait to see the fully restored version that was released on DVD in 2007. In fact, I just ordered it!   Very highly recommended!
Still a holiday favorite in our house. Still a holiday favorite in our house. Still a holiday favorite in our house. Still a holiday favorite in our house.

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December 17, 2010
Great review. Didn't Bing Crosby make two films with the character Father O'Malley? 

I don't think I've seen this one, sad to say, although I'm familiar with its music. :)
December 17, 2010
The sequel was called "The Bell's Of St Mary's". As usual, not as good as the original.
December 17, 2010
Really, Ingrid Bergman is second rate? Holy smokes, gotta watch these!
 
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Going My Way, a 1944 film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby.

It is a light-hearted musical comedy/drama about a new young priest (Bing Crosby) taking over a parish from an established old veteran (Barry Fitzgerald). Bing Crosby sings five songs in the film. It was followed the next year by a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.
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