What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… Gaslight (1944)

Next up is the classic 1944 drama Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten!

Upon the death of opera singer Alice Alquist, her niece, Paula Alquist, was sent away to study music. Ten years later, Paula (Ingrid Bergman) is in love with pianist Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), and so they get married. Gregory mentions to her how much he wishes he could live in a fashionable London square, and so Paula reluctantly says they can stay in her aunt’s old home, since she still owns the property. However, the place and her aunt’s stuff bring up traumatic memories, and Gregory decides to put everything in the attic and board it up. They hire Nancy (Angela Lansbury) and the half-deaf Elizabeth (Barbara Everest) as maids. Gregory and Paula mostly keep to themselves, and Paula slowly becomes forgetful, losing a brooch he gave her, along with hearing things at night. But is she really struggling, or is Gregory driving her insane?

Gaslight was based on a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton, which has gone by the titles of Gas Light and Angel Street, depending on where it was produced. The play was turned into a British movie in 1940 starring Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard. At first, Columbia Pictures bought the film rights with hopes of making a film with Irene Dunne starring, but when that fell through, MGM bought the rights for their star Hedy Lamarr. When she turned it down, Ingrid Bergman campaigned hard for the role (at least, after director George Cukor convinced her to try), although she ran into trouble, since she was under contract to David O. Selznick. Charles Boyer insisted on being top-billed, while Selznick insisted on top billing for his star (although she didn’t care), so she had to beg him to let her have the role. Obviously, she got it, and it ended up winning her the Oscar for Best Actress, her first of three.

Now, I’m coming off my first time seeing this movie, and my main thought afterwards was “Wow! That was a rough movie to watch!” Now, don’t misinterpret my comments. I’m not trashing this movie, I am very much praising it! The performances here are, in my opinion, great, as they help really sell the story! This is my first Charles Boyer film, so I have nothing else to compare it to, but he does great in his villainous role. From the moment his character starts in tearing down Paula, all I can feel for his character is an intense dislike bordering on hatred, seeing what he does to Paula. And I really feel for Ingrid Bergman’s Paula, watching her go from being sane and altogether to falling apart mentally with all of Gregory’s psychological abuse. I certainly agree that she EARNED her Oscar win for this movie! Watching both Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman’s performances alone makes this movie extremely tough to watch! I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to continuing on if only to see Gregory get his comeuppance at the end! I’m certainly rooting for Joseph Cotten as the police detective Brian Cameron to seek out what’s happening after he mistakenly takes Paula to be her late aunt, in the hopes of rescuing Paula from madness before it’s too late! And it feels so weird at this point to go back and see Angela Lansbury in her film debut, but she is fantastic here, too, and also makes seeing the movie well worth it! I’ve heard good things about the earlier British film, too, but after watching the 1944 film, there’s no way I want to go through this story again anytime soon! This film was worth it for its stars, and is the version I recommend seeing at present (since, as I said, I haven’t seen the earlier version)!

This movie was recently made available on Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection after previously being available on DVD. Now this is one of their transfers I have to take issue with (be careful of assuming what I mean with that). Why do I take issue with it? Simple! The movie looks fantastic, and, as rough as this movie is to watch, I wish it would have looked terrible so that I would have had an excuse to stop watching it partway through! Seriously, though, like I said, it looks great, and is certainly the best way to view this movie! The movie’s length is one hour, fifty-four minutes.

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Ingrid Bergman – The Bells Of St. Mary’s (1944) (original review of The Bells Of St. Mary’s) (update)

Joseph Cotten – I’ll Be Seeing You (1944)

Coming Up Shorts! with… Wotta Knight (1947)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

Welcome to my new feature on various theatrical shorts! Sometimes my comments will be on shorts included as extras on a disc set I am reviewing, and other times, they will be completely unrelated to the movie being reviewed (and I will try to indicate which). Hope you enjoy!

(Length: 6 minutes, 53 seconds)

Popeye and Bluto joust in a tournament to win the chance to awaken Sleeping Beauty (Olive) with a kiss. As usual, it’s Popeye and Bluto fighting over Olive, with Bluto winning out enough before Popeye has to eat his spinach to win. Some good gags to be found here as they fight, although it’s another problematic short with blackface and a racist stereotype for the boy holding the bell signaling each round. Still, a few good laughs anyways!

And stay tuned for more of Coming Up Shorts! featuring more of Popeye (and the eventual post on the entire 1940s Volume 2 set), along with other shorts!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… The Bells Of St. Mary’s (1945)

And now we’re coming back to that wonderful movie, The Bells Of St. Mary’s with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman!

Father O’Malley (Bing Crosby) is sent to be the pastor at a parochial school, and soon finds out what it means to be “up to his neck in nuns.” He and the head nun, Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman), butt heads over how to run the school, and what they want to teach the students. Their most fervent disagreement is over Patsy Gallagher (Joan Carroll), who is in the school at Father O’Malley’s insistence, after her single mother asks him if Patsy could come there, since she was getting old enough to realize her mother was essentially a prostitute, which seemed to be one of the few ways she could pay the bills after her husband left her. Patsy isn’t as interested in school, hoping to get a job on her own, until Father O’Malley helps her build her confidence (at least, until she sees her father coming out of her mother’s apartment, mistaking him for somebody else). Father O’Malley and Sister Mary Benedict are also trying to figure out how to save the school, which is in bad shape and in danger of being condemned by the city council (with businessman Horace P. Bogardus, played by Henry Travers, building a new office building next door and hoping to use land from the school for parking space). Of course, the nuns are all praying that Mr. Bogardus will end up giving them his building for them to use for the school.

Well, since I already reviewed this movie and Going My Way previously, and I really don’t have anything new to add, then I’ll just make my comments on the new release. On November 26, 2019, Olive Films re-released the movie as part of their “Olive Signature Collection,” which features a new transfer of the movie (compared to their previous release) and a host of other extras. As far as the new transfer is concerned, it looks wonderful, better than I’ve ever seen the movie look! And, finally, one minor nuisance has been removed, the mask in the opening credits that had long covered up the fact that this movie was originally released by RKO Studios (since the movie is currently owned by Paramount through Republic Pictures)! Among the extras, there are two radio adaptations by the Screen Guild Theater, both featuring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman in their roles from the movie, along with a featurette on director Leo McCarey, one on the history of film franchises, and another discussing faith and how it worked within the movie, plus an essay written by Abbey Bender (which is both on the disc and in a written booklet that comes with the set). Overall, I would definitely say that this is the best way to view this movie! The movie is about two hours and six minutes long.

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Going My Way (1944) – Bing Crosby (original review of The Bells Of St. Mary’s) (here) – Road To Utopia (1946)

Gaslight (1944) – Ingrid Bergman (original review of The Bells Of St. Mary’s) (here) – Notorious (1946)

Coming Up Shorts! with… Klondike Casanova (1946)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

Welcome to my new feature on various theatrical shorts! Sometimes my comments will be on shorts included as extras on a disc set I am reviewing, and other times, they will be completely unrelated to the movie being reviewed (and I will try to indicate which). Hope you enjoy!

(Length: 8 minutes, 5 seconds)

Popeye and Olive run a saloon in the Klondike, when Dangerous Dan McBluto comes in and kidnaps Olive. Yet again, we have Popeye and Bluto fighting over Olive in a different setting. Still a lot of fun, with enough fun gags to keep me laughing throughout! From Olive performing on stage and holding her movements/notes when her piano player, Popeye has to double as the waiter for the all the customers, to the bears at McBluto’s place randomly going into a “radio”-type advertisement for McBluto’s furs, everything worked well for me! While it was still Harry Welch as Popeye, it still worked well enough for me to enjoy this one as I have the others!

And stay tuned for more of Coming Up Shorts! featuring more of Popeye (and the eventual post on the entire 1940s Volume 2 set), along with other shorts!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… Notorious (1946)

And here we are for my thoughts on the first new disc release of 2019 that I have had the chance to see, the 1946 Alfred Hitchcock movie Notorious, starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant.

After her father is convicted as a Nazi conspirator, Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) meets T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant) at a party she is giving. He convinces her to come work with the government to help take down a few Nazis in hiding. She is asked to get close to Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), a friend of her father’s who was infatuated with her. She is reluctant to do so, as she has also developed feelings for Devlin. He feels the same, but isn’t willing to admit to it, so that that she does the job. She ends up marrying Alex, and is then able to find out what he and his Nazi colleagues are up to.

Just a word of warning before I get any further: as a whole, I do not care for Alfred Hitchcock’s movies (outside of the four he made with Cary Grant), so don’t expect too many reviews of his films from me. That being said, I did enjoy this one. As I said, it’s Hitchcock, so he’s good at building up suspense, whether it be the pacing, the music or the performances of the stars. And such wonderful performances, too, whether it be Claude Rains, who gives us a very human Nazi that we ALMOST start to feel sorry for, or Ingrid Bergman as Alicia, who wants to help but feels conflicted about what she is being asked to do, especially with her newfound feelings for Devlin, or Cary Grant as Devlin, who does care for Alicia but is wary about letting his own feelings get in the way of stopping these escaped Nazis. This is a movie that I enjoyed very much, and would easily recommend it!

This movie is currently owned by Disney, and has been previously licensed out to MGM, who made made it available on Blu-ray and DVD. That license has ended, and now Criterion Collection has restored it and made it available on Blu-ray and DVD themselves, and their release is indeed a “wow!” as it looks so wonderful! The movie is one hour, forty-two minutes in length.

My Rating: 9/10

Audience Rating:

*ranked #8 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2019

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Bells Of St. Mary’s (1944) (original review of The Bells Of St. Mary’s) (update) – Ingrid Bergman

Once Upon A Honeymoon (1942) – Cary Grant – An Affair To Remember (1957)

Now, Voyager (1942) – Claude Rains

TFTMM on… Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

Now, we have the two Oscar-nominated movies featuring Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley, both of which were directed by Leo McCarey. From what I have read, The Bells of St. Mary’s was actually the first movie that was planned, but since it was being planned for RKO, and Bing was under contract to Paramount, a deal had to be made for Going My Way to be done first.

In Going My Way, we find Father O’Malley coming to the troubled St. Dominic’s Church, which is run by the more-old-fashioned Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). He is sent there by the bishop to help fix some of the church’s problems, which include the mortgage holder who is demanding payment and the youth of the church who are constantly getting into trouble with the law. Due to their differences in getting things done, Father Fitzgibbon goes to the bishop to have Father O’Malley transferred, only to find out why he was sent there in the first place. Although Father Fitzgibbon runs away at first, upon returning the two begin to bond, and with the help of Father O’Malley’s former girlfriend (now a big opera singer at the Metropolitan) and his friend, Father O’Dowd (Frank McHugh), they help to change the parish for the better.

This is a wonderful movie, with many different moments worth highlighting. The first few minutes as we watch Father O’Malley first arrive, from meeting some of the parish members, to joining a game of baseball with the neighborhood kids on the street, to being soaked as he tries to grab the ball, and then meets Father Fitzgibbon (who takes an immediate dislike to him). I know I can’t help but laugh at the kids singing “Three Blind Mice” as O’Malley tries to form the choir, which irritates Father Fitzgibbon (the song irritates him, that is). Of course, some of the most fun is watching Father Fitzgibbon when he joins Father O’Malley and Father O’Dowd on the golf course, followed by a game of checkers (watch it, and tell me you can’t laugh at it 😉 ). Watching the relationships develop in the movie is a lot of fun. Maybe it’s not just a straight plot, but there is much fun to be had here, just the same.

In The Bells of St. Mary’s, Father O’Malley is sent to be the pastor at a parochial school, and soon finds out what it means to be “up to his neck in nuns.” He and the head nun, Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman), butt heads over how to run the school, and what they want to teach the students. Their most fervent disagreement is over Patsy Gallagher (Joan Carroll), who is in the school at Father O’Malley’s insistence. Patsy’s single mother had come to him, asking if Patsy could come there, since she was getting old enough to realize her mother was essentially a prostitute, which seemed to be one of the few ways she could pay the bills after her husband left her. Patsy isn’t as interested in school, hoping to get a job on her own, until Father O’Malley helps her build her confidence (at least, until she sees her father coming out of her mother’s apartment, mistaking him for one of her mother’s “clients”). Father O’Malley and Sister Mary Benedict are also trying to figure out how to save the school, which is in bad shape and in danger of being condemned by the city council (with businessman Horace P. Bogardus, played by Henry Travers, building a new office building next door and hopes to use the school for parking space). Of course, the nuns are all praying that Mr. Bogardus will end up giving them his building for them to use for the school.

Bells of St. Mary’s is also a fantastic movie. I know I enjoy watching Sister Mary Benedict teach one of the boys who was being bullied how to box (which she had to do because he was trying to “turn the other cheek” as she had taught him). Honestly, with this movie, Sister Mary Benedict is most of the fun, as she proves how clever she can be, such as how she can tell Father O’Malley is helping Patsy a little with one piece of homework. And one can’t deny the humor in watching how, in a conversation with Mr. Bogardus, she plants the thought of him giving his building to the school. There are many other wonderful moments, but these are just a few worth mentioning, off the top of my head.

Both movies seem to qualify as Christmas viewing. Going My Way connects with Christmas mainly because, as Father O’Malley, Bing sings “Silent Night” as he starts working with the boys choir, and the end of the movie takes place near Christmastime. While The Bells of St. Mary’s takes place over the school year, it does briefly make a stop at Christmas. Father O’Malley can be heard singing “Adeste Fidelis” with some of the older students, figuring it to be necessary for a Christmas program, before being taken by Sister Mary Benedict to see the nativity play that the first graders are doing. Of course, they do it their own way (I’m not sure, but I think that the kids may have been improvising it within the movie, as Sister Mary Benedict implies through some of her dialogue for the scene).

As best as I can tell, Going My Way seems to have made more of an impact. About this time, Bing Crosby became the top actor at the box office for a number of years, and on the overall list of most tickets sold, he ranks third (behind Clark Gable and John Wayne). Apparently, Bing and Barry Fitzgerald had great chemistry, because they were teamed up again for at least two more movies, Welcome Stranger (1947) and Top o’ the Morning (1949). While haven’t seen the latter film, I have seen Welcome Stranger, and my own opinion is that it is Going My Way, except with the two as doctors instead of priests (which allows for Bing to be the romantic lead).

Going My Way also spawned a TV series of the same name in the early sixties. Gene Kelly took over the role of Father O’Malley, with Leo G. Carroll as Father Fitzgibbon (or “Father Fitz,” as they usually called him), and Dick York joined them as Tom Colwell. It lasted for one season, at thirty episodes. Having seen the whole series, I can say that I enjoyed it very much, although I rate the first half of the series as being better. Since I have seen little information about the show, I don’t know whether the episodes were aired out of order or not, but I was left feeling like the ratings affected the show, and as a cost-cutting measure, Gene Kelly’s Father O’Malley was reduced to brief appearances in each episode for the last half of the season (again, just a guess). Being that he was one of the reasons I wanted to see it, that lessened my enjoyment of it (although the show’s cancellation did leave Dick York room to be the first Darren Stevens on Bewitched a little over a year later). One thing worth mentioning is that Frank McHugh, who played Father O’Dowd in the movie, is possibly the only actor from that movie to make an appearance on the show, in the Christmas episode (although as a different character).

Both of these are movies that I highly recommend if you get the chance to see them. Going My Way is on DVD from Universal, and runs about two hours and five minutes in length. The Bells of St. Mary’s is on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films, and is about two hours and six minutes long.

As always, please be sure to use the Amazon links to help support this page!

More recently, on September 24, 2019, Going My Way has been released on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory, and on November 26, 2019, Olive films re-released The Bells Of St. Mary’s on Blu-ray as part of their Olive Signature line with a new transfer and extras. While I haven’t seen the Blu-ray for Going My Way, I have commented on the newly released Blu-ray of The Bells Of St. Mary’s here.

Going My Way

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

https://www.amazon.com/Bing-Crosby-Collection-Holiday-Morocco/dp/B00N1S7O48/ref=as_li_ss_tl?crid=173V8T6PD3IE9&keywords=bing+crosby+silver+screen+collection&qid=1540823629&s=STRING(movies-and-tv_44751)&sprefix=bing+crosby+sil,aps,196&sr=1-1&ref=sr_1_1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thoughtsfr066-20&linkId=3a98166df2deec1475373f57df58d90c&language=en_US

The Bells of St. Mary’s

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

https://www.amazon.com/Bells-St-Marys-Blu-ray/dp/B00F6SHG5S/ref=as_li_ss_tl?crid=ULCXG55C6MY1&keywords=bells+of+st+marys+blu+ray&qid=1540823745&s=STRING(movies-and-tv_44751)&sprefix=bells+of+s,movies-tv,226&sr=1-1-catcorr&ref=sr_1_1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thoughtsfr066-20&linkId=36ba9c87ddf5ca2e275615d7ac47575c&language=en_US

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

For Going My Way (1944):

Road To Morocco (1942) – Bing Crosby – The Bells Of St. Mary”s (1945) (here) (update)

For The Bells Of St. Mary’s (1945):

Going My Way (1944) (here) – Bing Crosby (here) (update) – Road To Utopia (1946)

Gaslight (1944) – Ingrid Bergman (here) (update) – Notorious (1946)