Say One for Me (1959) Poster

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sweet re-watchable movie
dc_rusty6 December 2003
I agree with the previous comment this is an underrated movie. One which many years ago I had taped (on Beta format) transferred to VHS and has watched in dismay the tape fail as the years have gone by. I've looked in vain for a copy and wasn't I delighted when today I caught it on TV (and taped it with loving care)!! I have watched this movie every Christmas for about 25 years; the songs are not classics but they are fun and you won't grow tired of them. The wit between Wagner and Reynolds is sharp without going over the line for the era that the movie was filmed but also the humor isn't too dated for the present time either. The movie deals with adult themes without being dark; unwedded parenthood, alcoholism, the church's need to accommodate with the times. Wagner looks wonderful and Debbie is in her prime. They have good scenes together and smolder well. I love the scene where they are dancing in a club and he gives her insight to his character and the past that molded him, the look she gave him when she realized that he was showing her off to old buds, well I was a young innocent when I first saw this film and I knew the effect it had on her! Watch this movie; a classic it is not (except to me) but it is fun and time well spent- if you can find!
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Very good and underrated move
jppmaine8 December 2002
It's a shame this movie is not available in VHS or DVD. Very good acting by Ray Walston and Debbie Reynolds. Same solid acting and singing from Bing Crosby as he always gives. Why the critics panned this one is beyond me. Robert Wagner displayed very good singing and acting skills in this one and with all due respect to Debbie Reynolds in this one she was "hot". It's also a treat to see a very young Stella Stevens. All in all a good feel good movie. I highly recommend it.
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Cute songs and a cuter girl
Mike Newton31 January 2008
When I first saw "Say One For Me" years ago, I was a big Bing Crosby fan even though I had grown up in the Elvis era. I liked Bing's crooning style of singing because it was easier for me to imitate than Frankie Avalon or some teenage girl's heartthrob. I particularly liked the Secret of Christmas song with the line "The little things you do on Christmas Day will not bring back the friend you turned away." That line has meant more to me now in my senior years than it did then. I also liked the title song and even though it has been years since I heard it, I can still sing it acapella like old Bing. The other reason I got a kick out of seeing the movie again was that it featured an actress friend of mine, Nina Shipman, whose grandmother was an early pioneer in independent movie-making and her father wrote the famous Republic serials of the Thirties and Forties. Although she played a tough chorus line gal, she had a cute figure and great legs. Unfortunately, this was the only film to fully show off her figure.
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Not Going My Way
bkoganbing3 June 2004
I'm sure that during his career in his later years Bing Crosby was offered the chance to repeat playing Father O'Malley as an older priest and at one point that would have been a natural fit for him. Unfortunately after this film, Bing was done with the clergy.

He tries his best with Father Conroy and his best moments are musical ones especially with Debbie Reynolds, but the story is not convincing. Try as I might, I just can't believe that Robert Wagner turns from opportunistic heel to good guy just to win Debbie Reynolds.

In fact the main problem with the movie is Robert Wagner. A good actor he just doesn't have any talent musically. His big number in the movie was You Can't Love Them All was recorded by Dean Martin and had a modest success. Now if Dino had played his part, he might have overcome the script.

Bing's best number is The Secret of Christmas. In addition to recording it for the cast album of this film, six years later he recorded it for Frank Sinatra's Reprise label in a joint Christmas album with Old Blue Eyes and Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians. That is the superior version to the one he did in Say One For Me.
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Say One for Me-Going Another Way ***1/2
edwagreen28 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Believe it or not, Robert Wagner steals the picture as a slick song and dance man, who can con his way to just about anything until he meets up with Father Conroy.

Yes, Bing Crosby dons the priestly garb once again and is most effective in his third role as a priest.

Wagner can be cunning, vicious and Lord knows what else as he tries to bed down as many women as possible. Forced to take a job at his seedy nightclub, Debbie Reynolds nearly falls for the ways of this smooth talking gigolo. Both she and her father are devout parishioners at Conroy's church, which is in the heart of the theatrical district.

Wagner even tries to turn the tables on the Good Father Conroy, until he learns some humility and respect for mankind.

Most surprising is that Wagner carries the song and dance routines with Reynolds. She is amazingly weak in them, but the film is an absolute joy to watch.

The wonderful Ray Walston appears as an alcoholic song writer, who is in Tony's (Wagner's) orbit.

"Say One for Me" is saying something real good.
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once you see it, you WILL like it!!
Steve (GoNotreDame)13 December 2001
Not sure why the "critics" disliked this movie that much. I first saw it as a kid and even now--in my 30's--I still find myself enjoying the simple story of a "bad seed"--Wagner's character--going good.

Top-notch music and dance numbers with Debbie Reynolds add that special spark to keep the story fresh and full of energy. The talents of an emsemble cast including the great Bing Crosby, dashing Robert Wagner, and versatile Ray Walston contribute greatly to this film's appeal.

Your best bet to see this fine film would be cable since as of this writing SAY ONE FOR ME is not available on vhs or dvd.

As the saying goes--try it, you'll like it! See SAY ONE FOR ME sometime soon! It's worth it!
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One of my all time favorites!
pemast11 October 2004
Love all the music from this movie. Does anyone know where or how to

purchase sheet music for any of the songs? I have a friend in NYC who has volunteered to transcribe it for me, but I'd really like to get the sheet music if any is available. Help???

True, Robert Wagner is not very musical, but it is interesting to watch him as a very young entertainer. I particularly enjoyed Ray Walton's performance - and am always blown away by two songs: The Secret of Christmas, and I Couldn't Care Less - bot of which should have become classics.

Don't understand why this hasn't been a perennial showing at Christmas on TV. Think somebody missed the boat on this one! Glad it wasn't me.
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Movies like this are great for recruiting people to atheism!
MartinHafer18 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film is one of the entries in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfus. Oddly, I have made it my life's work to see all 50 of these abominations and this film marks the 43rd film from this list I have seen (a dubious distinction, I know). I like an occasional bad film--mostly because they are so entertaining for their ineptitude. However much I love this book (it is brilliantly written), the list is horribly outdated--there have been many horrid movies since the book was written. Plus with the greater availability of films (Medved did his list back in the 1970s--even before videotapes were available to the general public) many monstrosities now on video, DVD or cable were never considered for inclusion. While I am sure many of the films on this list STILL would remain if a new list were created, many (like this film) would not. Now I am NOT saying that "Say One For Me" is a good film--it's god-awful. But it just doesn't rise (or sink) to the level of awfulness to be included in any worst of list.

As far as this film is concerned, I assume it did more to help the cause of worldwide atheism than any other--it was that terrible. It's the sort of film that Hollywood often did in the guise of an inspirational film but it was so jam-packed full of schmaltz and irrelevance that today you wonder why it was made in the first place. My guess is that its creation can be attributed to two things. First, the success of Bing Crosby in "Going My Way" and "The Bells of St. Mary's" had to get executives to consider a sequel...of sorts. But, after a decade plus, the magic just wasn't there. Second, the 1950s was a decade for religious spectacles and religion was, in a cynical way, quite bankable at the time--even if many of the films really had nothing to do with spirituality or God.

In this film Crosby plays, what else, a priest. However, this time it finds him serving in the entertainment district in New York--and many of his parishioners are show people. And, being so tragically hip himself, he, too, is a crooner and gave up a career in lights for a career hanging out with choirboys. But, to show that he can relate to his people, Bing often gives them lessons on singing and dancing as well as life.

One of these entertainers who Crosby mentors is the nice girl, Debbie Reynolds. But when (gosh) her father takes ill, it's up to Crosby to not only mentor her but become her godfather. But when she becomes a dancer at a club with a lecherous boss (Robert Wagner), Crosby knows he needs to inject a healthy dose of social gospel and begin his meddling. Can Crosby save the evil Wagner? Can he also save the alcoholic pianist (Ray Walston) who works for Wagner? Can he do all this without injecting numerous platitudes and using dialog that make your skin crawl? The answers are yes, yes and definitely NO!

In addition to this god-awful dialog, the film suffers greatly from way too many song and dance numbers, way too many forgettable songs and Robert Wagner singing. Now I don't think Wagner had a horrible voice (it's a lot better than mine), but considering he was supposed to have a GREAT voice and be a professional entertainer (the role originally was intended for Sinatra), he came up very, very short. As for Walston, he was a walking cliché and plot device...period. And, as for Crosby and Reynolds, they were 'nice'....and nothing more.

Imminently skipable unless you are a bad movie freak or you are using the film to torture detainees at Guantanimo!
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Tuneful but Nauseating
glofau19 January 2011
Say One For Me features a great cast including Bing Crosby, Debbie Reynolds, Ray Walston, Frank McHugh, and Connie Gilchrist. The tunes are engaging, especially the title number and The Spirit of Christmas. Debbie Reynolds sings and dances with engaging verve and Bing Crosby croons with all his customary flair and charm.

Unfortunately, this misbegotten cross between White Christmas and Going My Way suffers from a leaden, self-righteous script which not even its talented director, Frank Tashlin, can rescue. Great comic character actor supports like Walston, McHugh, and Gilchrist are utterly wasted in this nauseating, pointless story of a hip priest in New York's theater district who puts on a show. In fact, there aren't many laughs in this pious piece of sentimental claptrap, which seems incredible given Tashlin's involvement (he was an alumnus of Looney Tunes).

Debbie Reynolds' love interest is portrayed by Robert Wagner, cast against type (in a role originally intended for Frank Sinatra) as an undiscovered musical talent with underworld leanings running a low class dive who first tries to seduce Reynolds' virginal good girl, then engages in a badly written relationship with her which forms the core of this tedious story. Although Wagner can carry a tune reasonably well, he is hopelessly outclassed by Crosby and Reynolds; in addition, Wagner's dancing is unfortunate but happily kept to a minimum (including an inexplicable solo turn performed with athletic mediocrity), leaving Reynolds to carry most of the production numbers by herself. Wagner's acting performance is acceptable if distasteful... but that's the script's fault.

At one time, this film was considered to be one of the 50 worst movies ever made, but recent abominations of much greater magnitude have ousted it from the Hall of Shame. I personally feel that the film is worth a viewing simply for the pleasant songs and musical performances, but you've been warned. The storyline itself is contrived, confused and stomach-turning. In an amusing side note, the opening credits have the same appearance as those in The Sound of Music, over a similar religious opening... One could only wish that this film were half as entertaining!
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Going the wrong way
jhkp23 September 2011
At the time this film was made, there was actually a Catholic parish in the New York theatre district (maybe there still is). Since films rarely depict the religious life of theatre people, this was a potentially interesting background for a musical comedy-drama. Unfortunately it goes off in many wrong directions. Even Bing Crosby, in his third screen outing as a priest, seems to have lost a lot of his charm and humor. This cleric is much sterner and more sanctimonious than Father O'Malley.

Frank Tashlin directed some good comedies that took irreverent pokes at various 1950's institutions, but I don't think he was the type for the kind of sincere, schmaltzy Christmas fare this movie was apparently supposed to be. It also was about 10 years too late, as films were beginning to change and move away from well-crafted sentiment. I think the plot would have worked better in 1949.

There are some nice moments, some good tunes and performances. If you can lower your expectations, it's not altogether bad entertainment, but it's a shame it wasn't better, given the interesting premise.

The cast that tries to breathe life into the hackneyed show is a pretty good one, with Debbie Reynolds coming off best. Robert Wagner isn't altogether believable as a song and dance man. He's actually surprisingly good in the song numbers. It's just that he's playing someone who should be terrific. (I think the part was intended for Frank Sinatra, early on.) He handles the heel-like tendencies of the role pretty well.

The movie is watchable, relatively entertaining, professionally produced...not a total bomb. The songs are good. So you could do worse.
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Heart Warming Story
janielouise11 March 2002
I have always enjoyed this movie and the songs from it! I always thought of Ray Walston as Uncle Martin, but after viewing this movie many years ago, I have seen him in a new light. Singing and dancing is not one of Robert Wagner's strong points but in this movie he's not bad to look at. It's a shame that the sound track to this movie and others are not available in CD format.
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Bing Crosby at the pulpit once again...well, you can't win 'em all!
moonspinner5522 January 2010
Tacky Twentieth Century-Fox comedy-drama with music (and an eleventh-hour holiday theme) has Robert Wagner miscast as the wolfish manager of a risqué nightclub. He's having trouble conquering new showgirl Debbie Reynolds, a church-going college kid trying to earn enough dough to pay for her father's operation. Bing Crosby plays the local priest who tracks Debbie down ("She said she was working as a secretary!" ... "Find the typewriter!"), only to steal a joke from the floor-show to help out a local comedian. Wan mixture of spiritual uplift and boy-chases-girl nonsense doesn't quite jell, at least not with old-school comedy vet Frank Tashlin at the helm. Tashlin's pacing is lively enough, and he works well with Reynolds, but the combination of prayer with salty backstage personalities trips him up. The picture never finds an appropriate tone, and Crosby--trading his famous Father O'Malley role from "Going My Way" for the lookalike Father Conroy--phones his performance in. ** from ****
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