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Fred M. Wilcox
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>
Leo McCarey was inspired to write the original story in tribute to his own aunt and childhood counselor Sister Mary Benedict, one of the Sisters who helped to build the Immaculate Heart Convent in Hollywood and who died in a typhoid fever epidemic. See more »
When Sister Benedict is starting to erase her drawn portrait on the blackboard when Father O'Malley walks in, she barely erases any of the portrait, but in the next scene most of the portrait is already erased. See more »
1944's "Going My Way" was a wispy-thin Oscar winner with only Barry Fitzgerald's adorable curmudgeon-ness to lift it out of sugary banality; this sequel drops Barry, so it shouldn't be of much use. However, director Leo McCarey actually pulls off a winner. Bing Crosby is back as Father O'Malley, and he's more human here than before, and his warm, witty battles with sister Ingrid Bergman are a delight (it helps that Bergman is possibly the most glowing, knowing, embraceable nun in Hollywood history!). Their smooth trials with the students and each other at St. Mary's have a seamless professionalism that, while not especially fresh, works the audience over with sheer good will. A sub-plot involving a troubled young girl (the excellent Joan Carroll) and her mother is a dandy heart-tugger, and the light music involved isn't such an obvious device as it was in "Going My Way"; the songs are there, but they're unobtrusive. A very good film, one that triumphs over its predecessor. Bing proves to be a solid actor here, not just a personality; he makes Father O'Malley a reachable character rather than just a holy rascal. Watch for his hesitation at the very end, and the thoughtfulness he gives to the scene. Admirably, Crosby gives back this time around. ***1/2 from ****
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