Going My Way Reviews
The story concerns a young and easy going priest named Chuck O'Malley who is assigned to St. Dominic's: a church on the brink of going under. He doesn't get along with the head priest Father Fitzgibbon, but when the effects of O'Malley's attempts to bring the community together are felt, things do begin to change for the better.
This is a nice little film, and it did spawn a sequel: The Bells of St. Mary's. That one's a lot like this one, with a similar plot and premise, but it is here where Crosby originated the character, and won an Oscar for his efforts. He really does put in some nice work, and he, like the character, is just really hard to dislike. He's just so damn charming and irresistable I can't stand it.
Barry Fitzgerald is also quite good as Fitzgibbon. and Rise Stevens and Frank McHugh are decent as childhood friends of O'Malley's.
All in all, this may be a pretty light and predictable film, but it's a harmless film with a lot of heart and a good message. It also looks good, and the singing is top notch too. Give this one a go. It may not be worthy of all of the Oscars it won, but it's hardly a forgettable piece of dreck.
I'm a big fan of Bing Crosby's voice; so easy and melodic, he makes it seem as though anyone can sing like him, which of course no one can. But this isn't a musical. It isn't a drama or comedy either. If anything, it's two hours of the most saccharine nonsense I've seen. At the heart of this diabetic's nightmare is Crosby's character, Father O'Malley, who is flawless. His character is never put up for question, and his methods, ideals, mannerisms, or personality remain thoroughly unchallenged by other characters, the film's circumstances, or any subjectivity. He is just there in an untarnished and idolized unreality. The film's problems, such as they are, seem no match for O'Malley, and we see him easily navigate the church's financial troubles, a woman who's run away from home, and an old flame who serendipitously re-enters his life. And when the film ends on another sweet note, I felt like I had just seen a slice of life that was so watered down with religious idealism that it bore no resemblance to anything I've seen living.
Overall, there's nothing memorable about Going My Way except for the few moments when we get to hear Crosby sing, but for that you can buy the soundtrack and save yourself two hours.
Overall, I didn't like this for several reasons. First, it was a musical and I've never seen a musical I liked. Second, the characters and plot didn't really interest me. At least musicals like Singin' in the Rain had good plots and turn into great films if you alter them slightly and remove the musical numbers (see Sunset Boulevard which is almost a music-free version of Singin' in the Rain). This wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but I certainly don't ever plan on watching it again. It won Best Picture and a bunch of other Oscars which I don't agree with given that the vastly superior Double Indemnity was released the same year.
I've never seen the sequel, 'The Bells of St. Marys' but something tells me there's a reason the sequel has stood the test of time better than the original. This has its moments, and you've gotta love Bing, but I can't help but think it's too dated to hold much relevance anymore. It makes a nice addition to a DVD collection as a Best Picture winner and the prequel to 'The Bells of St. Marys' and perfect filler if you're having a Bing Crosby party.