Father O'Malley, the unconventional priest from 'Going My Way', continues his work for the Catholic Church. This time he is sent to St. Mary's, a run-down parochial school on the verge of condemnation. He and Sister Benedict work together in an attempt to save the school, though their differing methods often lead to good-natured disagreements. Written by
Greg Helton <email@example.com>
The production was overseen by a Catholic priest who served as an advisor during the shooting. While the final farewell sequence was being filmed, Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman decided to play a prank on him. They asked director Leo McCarey to allow one more take, and, as "Father O'Malley" and "Sister Benedict" said their last goodbyes, they embraced in a passionate kiss, while the offscreen priest-advisor jumped up roaring in protest. See more »
When O'Malley breaks up the fight in the school yard, Eddie's opponent introduces himself as Charley Smith. When O'Malley and Sister discuss what's to be done, Sister says you should talk to Tommy. Later he's referred to as Charley again and then back to Tommy. See more »
As the companion piece to "Going My Way", "The Bells of St. Mary's" shares the same pleasant, upbeat tone, and it has a similar story that, though stylized, has some worthwhile and thoughtful material. Besides Bing Crosby, the cast here features Ingrid Bergman and several solid supporting players such as Henry Travers and Rhys Williams.
As Sister Benedict, Father O'Malley's foil here, Bergman gives this movie its own feel, with themes somewhat different from those in O'Malley's debates with Barry Fitzgerald's character in "Going My Way". Everyone has their own preference between the two movies, but as fine an actress as Bergman is, it's really hard to match - much less top - the dimension that Fitzgerald added in the other film.
Probably each of the two Father O'Malley movies should just be enjoyed for its own merits. While the story here is hardly anything weighty, "The Bells of St. Mary's" offers good entertainment and some worthwhile, positive thoughts.
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