“Star Of The Month (January 2021)” Featuring Doris Day in… Young At Heart (1954)

As I continue on in celebrating actress and singer Doris Day as my Star Of The Month, I will now be looking at her 1954 film Young At Heart, which also stars Frank Sinatra. But, before we get to the movie, we have a few theatrical shorts to get through!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Tops In The Big Top (1945)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 1 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.

(Length: 6 minutes, 26 seconds)

Circus ringmaster Bluto tries to sabotage star attraction Popeye to get the attentions of Popeye’s assistant Olive. At best, a decent Popeye cartoon, with the usual stuff going on. This one is a lot more fun to see the visuals, with a lot of nice color (especially with this short restored). An improvement over the previous cartoon, but still debatable about its actual worth in seeing more than once.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pink Ice (1965)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (1964-1966) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)

The Panther is operating a diamond mine, but a pair of rival miners steal his diamonds. One of the rare few Pink Panther cartoons in which the character actually talks. Whether you like that or not, it’s still a fun cartoon, with the two rival miners trying to set traps to stop him from taking back his diamonds, and then the traps work against them. Every now and then, this one can be fun to watch!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Music professor Gregory Tuttle (Robert Keith) lives with his three musically inclined daughters and his sister, Jessie (Ethel Barrymore). His oldest daughter, Fran (Dorothy Malone), has just gotten engaged to Robert Neary (Alan Hale Jr.). The plumber Ernest Nichols (Lonny Chapman) is interested in middle daughter Amy (Elisabeth Fraser), but she is kind of indifferent about his affections. Youngest daughter Laurie (Doris Day) is single, and makes a pact with sister Amy that they will either have a double wedding, or stay spinsters together for the rest of their lives. Things change up when Laurie meets composer Alex Burke (Gig Young), the son of a friend of their father. He manages to charm his way into boarding at their house while he works on the score for a Broadway musical. He catches the eyes of all three daughters, but he finds himself falling for Laurie in particular. Eventually, things go well enough on his show that Alex recruits his friend Barney Sloan (Frank Sinatra), an arranger, to help him work on the music. When Laurie meets Barney, she finds him to be quite cynical, as he believes that the “fates” (or “they,” as he refers to them) have it out for him. Laurie is unwilling to let him get away with that attitude, and tries to help him past it by pushing him to finish writing a song he had been working on. Right around her father’s birthday celebration, Alex asks Laurie to marry him, which she accepts, much to the dismay of Barney and her sister Amy. When Barney points out to her how much her sister Amy liked Alex right before the wedding, she decides to elope with Barney to New York City. In all the commotion from the family learning about her eloping, Ernest takes charge in trying to let the wedding guests know, which changes Amy’s opinion about him (for the better). In New York City, Barney and Laurie struggle through together. In spite of all their troubles, Laurie has indeed come to fall in love with him, but the cynic in Barney refuses to believe that she prefers him over Alex. When they manage to return to the Tuttle home for Christmas, they also find a successful Alex there, and Barney’s doubts come to a head.

Young At Heart was based on the short story “Sister Act” by Fannie Hurst. Warner Brothers had already brought the story to the big screen in 1938 as the movie Four Daughters. In the mid-1950s, Frank Sinatra was in the midst of a big career comeback after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for From Here To Eternity. The producers wanted him for the movie, but he would only do it on the condition that they change the original sad ending of the story and give his character a happy one (which they did). The movie itself remained without a title until Frank’s recording of the song Young At Heart became a big hit. So, they made that the title of the movie, and had him sing it over the opening and closing credits.

I will readily admit that I have mixed feelings about this movie. I do like it overall, with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra in particular giving good performances in this movie (and the rest of the cast is right up there with them). The story itself is fun (I will have to admit that I have not seen the earlier Four Daughters or any of its sequels yet, so I can’t really compare it to them). Some of the music is fun and enjoyable to listen to. That being said, I do feel the movie has several problems. One of the most glaring, to my mind, is the film’s ending. It just feels too rushed, and makes me wish that Sinatra hadn’t forced them to change it from the original ending (which is what I thought the movie was leading up to). Had they had a better transition at the end, I might have been okay with it. Another problem (and this is purely my taste in music and singers) is that very little of the music is exactly memorable here. I know that Frank sings the song “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road),” which was one of his big hits, but I just don’t like his version of the song (I much prefer listening to Fed Astaire’s version of it from The Sky’s The Limit, as anybody else singing it, other than any of my close friends, just feels like nails on a chalkboard to me). Also, in spite of the promotional material making a big deal of Doris Day and Frank Sinatra working together here, they really don’t sing together outside of part of the film’s final song (and it makes you wish they had had more songs to sing together in this one, or at least more films together). Still, it’s not a completely terrible film, and one I do enjoy seeing every now and then. So I would recommend giving it a try, if given the opportunity to see it.

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Olive Films.

Film Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes

My Rating: 6/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Calamity Jane (1953)Doris DayLove Me Or Leave Me (1955)

On The Town (1949) – Frank Sinatra – Guys And Dolls (1955)

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… Magnificent Doll (1946)

Next up, we have a bit of historical fiction with the 1946 movie Magnificent Doll starring Ginger Rogers, David Niven and Burgess Meredith!

Upon returning to his home from the Revolutionary War, John Payne (Robert Barrat) announces to his family that he plans to free his slaves, become a Quaker and move to Philadelphia as well as announcing the betrothal of his daughter, Dorothea “Dolly” Payne (Ginger Rogers) to John Todd (Horace McNally), the son of a friend who died saving his life. Dolly is not thrilled, but she goes along with the marriage, even though she doesn’t love him. John loves her, but it is only during a plague of scarlet fever that takes her father, her son, and ultimately John himself, that Dolly realizes only too late that she loves him, too. Dolly and her mother (Peggy Wood) decide to open their home to boarders, and in comes Senator Aaron Burr (David Niven), who takes an immediate liking to Dolly and offers to bring in a few more boarders. One other boarder who comes in after seeing Dolly out riding with Aaron is congressman James Madison (Burgess Meredith). At first, Dolly takes a liking to Aaron, while James admires her from afar, but as Aaron’s politics and desire for power become more pronounced, Dolly realizes she loves James and they are married. When Thomas Jefferson (Grandon Rhodes) runs for president, they support him, both during his failed attempt and his more successful run. However, Dolly has to help contend with Aaron’s attempts at becoming president, since he plans to rule the country like a tyrant.

Magnificent Doll paired Ginger Rogers with two of her former co-stars: David Niven (from Bachelor Mother) and Burgess Meredith (from Tom, Dick And Harry). My own opinion is that both of those previous movies are better than this one. Ginger Rogers is maybe a little too old for the role (or, at least, the movie’s beginning section, anyways), and it just feels weird seeing David Niven without his mustache. Still, it is an interesting film (even if it does take some liberties with history). I like the performances overall, from David Niven’s Aaron Burr as a man who wants to rule, with Dolly as a “queen” in name only (staying out of politics), while Burgess Meredith’s James Madison believes in democracy, and wants Dolly’s help. And I definitely appreciate Ginger’s performance, especially for her speech at the end of the movie. The story may be far from the best I’ve seen for any of these, and the movie is a bit slow at times, but I do enjoy it well enough to make it one worth recommending as something to take a chance on!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Olive Films, and is one hour, thirty-five minutes in length.

My Rating: 6/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) – Ginger Rogers – Perfect Strangers (1950)

Bachelor Mother (1939) – David Niven

Tom, Dick And Harry (1941) – Burgess Meredith

Coming Up Shorts! with… Olive Oyl For President (1948)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 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)

Popeye dreams of what it would be like if Olive ran for U.S. President (and won). While a lot of the political ideas may be slightly outdated (and a few ridiculous), it’s a fun little short. I know I enjoyed the quick reference to some of Paramount’s stars from the time, including Bing Crosby and Bob Hope! A remake of the 1932 short Betty Boop For President. Certainly a welcome relief from all the “Popeye Vs. Bluto” shorts of the previous two years!

And stay tuned for more of Coming Up Shorts! featuring more of Popeye (and the eventual post on the entire 1940s Volume 3 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!

TFTMM on… The “Road To…” Series (1940-1962)

Just for fun, now I would like to talk about the seven film Road series with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and their frequent co-star Dorothy Lamour. I do admit, I could easily do a post on them as a screen team (whether it be all three of them together, Bing & Bob or Bob & Dottie), but most of their other appearances together are minor (mostly cameos that might spoil some movies), so I’ll just stick to this series. Of course, with that many movies in the series, I’ll link to the individual reviews for each of them.

The first film in the series, Road To Singapore, was almost a different beast entirely. Originally, the script went by the title The Road To Mandalay, and it was planned for different stars, including George Burns and Gracie Allen, and possibly a few others, all of whom turned it down. How it came to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, who knows, as there have been many different stories of how that came to be. However, what is known is that Bing and Bob had worked together previously, on stage and at a racetrack opening, so they had established some kind of relationship, that eventually resulted in them being paired together for Road To Singapore, where they mostly “ad-libbed” their way through (much to the dismay of the film’s writers but the enjoyment of the film’s director, Victor Schertzinger).

Road To Singapore (1940)

My Rating: 9/10

Few at Paramount had any idea how big Road To Singapore would turn out to be. The movie’s success prompted them to look at another property for them to do. What would become Road To Zanzibar came from a script called “Find Colonel Fawcett” that they had turned down before due to its similarity to another movie. Reworked, it became the next film in the Road series. With Victor Schertzinger returning as director, the boys were given the same freedom they had enjoyed before, with “ad-libs” thrown around, and an increase in breaking the fourth wall, with many winks to the audience. Of course, their characters and their relationship onscreen became more defined, and less dramatic than the movie before.

Road To Zanzibar (1941)

My Rating: 8/10

Coming off the success of the first two movies, they were finally given a script written specifically for them. Victor Schertzinger was slated to be the film’s director, but his sudden passing left the film’s reins being passed to David Butler. With a script written for them, even more hilarity was allowed, whether it be talking camels (with animated lips and eyes but otherwise realistic bodies) or songs that fit their style of comedy, like the title song. And then there’s the start of a trend for the remaining films, in which stuff happens that, in other films, would be considered goofs or plot holes in other movies, but are done on purpose. For example, in Morocco, the boys are tied up and left behind stuck in nets in the desert, trying to hop their way after the villains in one shot, and in the next are completely free, and they openly state they won’t tell the audience how they got out).

Road To Morocco (1942)

My Rating: 8/10

With Road To Morocco proving to be a big success, the fact that another movie would come was inevitable. However, Road To Utopia went through a number of delays. The writers had a hard time coming up with a script that all three of the leads would agree to. Consequently, it is the odd duck in the series, with us being introduced to Dorothy Lamour’s character as soon as the boys (the only time in the series that she was introduced that soon instead of making her first appearance nearly twenty minutes into the movie like in the other five she starred in). Once finished, the movie would still be delayed, partly due to the success of Road To Morocco (since movies stayed in theatres longer then), as well as giving Bing room for success with his Academy Award winning role in Going My Way.

Road To Utopia (1945)

My Rating: 7/10

Road To Rio (1947)

My Rating: 9/10

With Road To Rio, the series began bringing in celebrities for various cameo appearances. The Andrews Sisters joined Bing for the song “You Don’t Have To Know The Language,” and Jerry Colonna was the leader of the cavalry trying to come to the rescue at the end of the movie. Road To Bali brought in a few more celebrities (borrowing footage from The African Queen for Humphrey Bogart’s appearance). Another change for Bali was the change to color, as the previous entries had all been filmed in black-and-white. However, this would also be the last movie in the series done at Paramount Studios.

Road To Bali (1952)

My Rating: 7/10

After a decade (and the ends of their contracts with Paramount), Bing and Bob came back for The Road To Hong Kong. This time, the movie was back to being black-and-white, but now was in widescreen for the first time. At Bing’s insistence, they brought in a new, younger female co-star. Dorothy Lamour wanted in, and Bob Hope tried to make a push for her to be, so as a compromise, she was given a cameo and a song of her own. However, the series and its stars was showing its age, even if they did try to make it more modern by parodying spy movies and the space race, and it ended up being the final movie in the series (although there were plans for another that were squashed partly by Bing’s death).

The Road To Hong Kong (1962)

My Rating: 4/10

I would have to say, these are the movies that helped start my fondness for classic movies. Prior to watching these, I mainly had seen the animated Disney movies and maybe one or two of the really big classics, but I really wasn’t interested, otherwise. When my family first upgraded to a DVD player and subscribed to Netflix, these were some of the movies my parents tried to rent. We didn’t see them in the order they were made, but they ended up being an enjoyable treat, and one I have enjoyed ever since. If possible, I know I would recommend seeing the series in the right order, as some jokes about the series work better if the series is viewed from the start. My own opinion is that the first six films are the ones most worth seeing, and The Road To Hong Kong can more or less be ignored. While I have grown older and started to see how politically incorrect some of these movies can be, they are still always worth a good laugh for me, and I have no trouble whatsoever recommending this wonderful series!

And click on any of the following images to go to Amazon and buy any of these movies (or anything, for that matter), and help support this blog!

Road To Singapore
Road To Zanzibar
Road To Morocco

Road To Utopia
Road To Rio
Road To Bali

The Road To Hong Kong

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… The Road To Hong Kong (1962)

Here we are for the seventh and final movie in the Road series, the 1962 movie The Road To Hong Kong, with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope returning, and joined this time by Joan Collins.

This time, Bing is Harry Turner and Bob is Chester Babcock, a pair of con men. When Chester ends up in an accident during one of their cons that causes him to lose his memory, they go to a lamasery that holds the potential to restore his memory. While at the airport on their way there, Chester is mistaken for an agent of the Third Echelon, and is given a secret rocket formula by Diane (Joan Collins). After Chester regains his memory at the lamasery, he is also given an herb that would allow him to remember word for word anything that he reads after being shown it. When they return, Harry unknowingly has Chester memorize the formula, and burns the paper they were on. Harry makes a deal with Diane, and they go to Hong Kong to meet the leader of the Third Echelon. They have no luck, and they get sent up on a rocket. I could easily keep going, but I need to stop at some point!

Since I should discuss movies I DON’T have as high an opinion of (or otherwise, I may run out of movies eventually), we’ll discuss what I think of this movie. As the seventh and final movie in the Road series, this one shows indeed that the series was running out of steam. The story is somewhat convoluted, and seems at times like the movie is trying to be a “greatest hits” of their material. That would be fine, except Bing and Bob were both nearly sixty at the time they made this movie, and their timing (and physical abilities) show it. I don’t know what the problem is (possibly just the material they were given), as I have seen them together in one of Bing’s TV specials made about the same time to promote the movie, where I thought they were far funnier together.

It hurts even more that they have a much younger female co-star, Joan Collins, instead of Dorothy Lamour, their co-star in the previous six movies (reduced to a cameo here as a compromise, since Bing and a number of others apparently thought she was getting too old, even though she was about ten years younger than Bob and Bing, and wanted somebody much younger, but Bob wanted her in the movie). However you look at it, though, the lack of chemistry shows, and the brief few minutes with Dorothy Lamour are far better than the rest of the movie with Joan Collins.

Now, in spite of what I have said, I do enjoy this movie. I admit, I am only really likely to watch it when I am either watching through the filmographies of Bing or Bob (at least, those I have on disc), or when I am watching the Road series. It is worth a few laughs, but sometimes it depends upon my mood when I watch it. I can’t quite recommend it to anybody else, though, hence my more negative review (if you have read this review and still want to try it, I am still providing Amazon links as usual).

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Olive Films, and is about one hour, thirty-two minutes in length.

My Rating: 4/10

Audience Rating:  

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

High Time (1960) – Bing Crosby – Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964)

Road To Bali (1952) – Bob Hope

The Opposite Sex (1956) – Joan Collins

Road To Bali (1952) – Dorothy Lamour

Ocean’s 11 (1960) – Frank Sinatra – Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964)

Ocean’s 11 (1960) – Dean Martin – Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964)

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)