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Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows he made the right choice. After joining a parish, O'Malley's worldly knowledge helps him connect with a gang of kids looking for direction and handle the business details of the church-building fund, winning over his aging, conventional superior, Father Fitzgibbon. Written by
Bing Crosby plays a young priest with progressive methods who is assigned to a dwindling parish. He finds himself faced with many wonderful characters, especially the grumpy old Irish master of the church (Barry Fitzgerald) who doesn't see "eye to eye" with the new guy. The interplay between Crosby and Fitzgerald is delightfully funny.
This best picture winner of 1944 at the Oscars is one of the all-time greatest movies. Crosby was as warm and benevolent an actor as he was a singer as his performance in "Going My Way" proves.
The film shows eventually that it is necessary in life to learn to accept everyone around you, regardless of faults and flaws of character, and to help your fellow people find their strengths and develop them in order to serve humanity. But, believe me, this film is anything but pedantic; issues such as these do not drive the film but arise from situations (often light-hearted) that arise naturally in the story.
An example of this is that there were some "juvenille delinquents" that the Crosby character rounded up, not to pass judgement or scorn but to organise them into doing something constructive that made them enjoy life and give up theft as a means of dealing with boredom - he turned them into a choir. Sounds a bit like "Sister Act"? I'm sure "Going My Way" had some influence on this more recent effort, but it is much superior in many ways. It reminded me also of Michael Landon's "Highway to Heaven" series (without the supernatural components).
If you are looking for an old classic with lots of spirit and warmth (such as around Christmas time) for your whole family to gather around and watch by the fire, I recommend "Going My Way". It is a must-see. (10 out of 10).
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