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
Barry Fitzgerald was nominated by the Academy for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards for the same performance, for the same film, the only time this has happened. (Al Pacino received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and a Best Actor nomination for his role as Michael Corleone, but his nominations were for the first and second Godfather films, respectively.). Fitzgerald won the Oscar in the supporting category but lost in the lead category to co-star Bing Crosby. (This is no longer possible under Academy guidelines.) Due to wartime metal shortages, Fitzgerald received a plaster Oscar (instead of a gold-plated britannium one) for his performance. A few weeks after he won, he broke the head off his plaster Oscar while practicing his golf swing. See more »
When Fr. Chuck says to Fr. Fitzgibbon, "She's a singer," Fr. Chuck's hand change positions. See more »
Since Paramount could not get the European copyright clearance for Bizet's "Carmen," an additional sequence was shot from Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" which replaced Carmen for foreign prints. See more »
Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby) has been assigned to take charge of struggling church, Saint Dominic's. He's taking over for kindly old Father Flitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald), but doesn't want the elder priest to know it just yet. O'Malley's fresh approach and youthful appeal help get the troubled neighborhood kids involved in the choir and solve the church's financial troubles.
Charming, sentimental tale that won a total of seven Oscars, including two for writer-director Leo McCarey. Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald took home statues, as well. They're both perfect in this. Bing sings a few songs, including "Swinging on a Star" and "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral." Good support from Risë Stevens, Stanley Clements, Frank McHugh, Jean Heather, Eily Malyon, and Gene Lockhart. Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer also has an amusing role.
Cynics and anti-religious types will surely hate it and mock it. Their loss. This is a delightful, sincere classic with heart and humor. The story is simple but effectively told. It's the kind of movie that puts a big smile on my face and leaves me with the warm fuzzies. Love that ending! It's followed by a wonderful sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's, as well as many big and small screen imitators over the years. Open your hearts and minds and give it a shot. Leave the pessimism at the door, though.
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