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A sickly-sweet tale of goodness and charity, I think, Going My Way was a smash hit back in its time, but now looks downright empty and pointless. The film boasts an impressive cast, tender moments and plenty of feelgood sentimentality, but really it's so lightweight you could blow it away by sneezing. Bing Crosby goes from one slow scene to the next, imparting curiously unprofound wisdom, and when its over its hard to remember what he actually did, or what his mission was. I liked how well he played off the tenured curmudgeon Barry Fitzgerald, and how there's no big, showy confrontations, just a slow bond that develops between, and Bing does nothing to force him to change his ways. Were it nominated for Best Picture today, it would have been laughed out the door, but back in 1944 it must have struck a chord with audiences. I don't quite know what they seen in it, but its hard to look upon it now as anything other than a mediocre crowd pleaser.
Sweet and warm little flick, which obviously meant a lot to folks needing an uplift in WWII. As long as Crosby and Fitzgerald are on screen together its entertaining, and skillfully directed. The boy choir bits are cute but not special. The subplots of a young couple and the opera singer are garbage. Bing’s Oscar is one of The Academy’s greatest silly moments. He ‘acts’ in this about as much as he would in his hokey Christmas specials decades later. The last scene and a fee others make me tolerate it’s Best Pic win (barely).
The idea of a "hip" priest seems pretty unlikely to me and the sight of Bing Crosby, who I associate with an older generation, as an unruly youngster was almost disconcerting. The director of this film, Leo McCarey, made one of my favorite films Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) so I was excited to see what else he had done. When I realized this was a musical my expectations dropped off sharply but I watched Gigi (1958), an unexpected delight, in the same day so I thought there might be some hope for this strange film. Unfortunately, I found this film to be dreary and it's focus on religion alienated me because I am an atheist and I found the figures who work for the church in this film to be incredibly dull.
Father Chuck O'Malley, Bing Crosby, is an uncouth young priest who has an unconventional way of going about his business and when he is sent to a small parish in New York City to take charge of the church he clashes with the current pastor Father Fitzgibbon, Barry Fitzgerald. The church is under threat because evil banker Ted Haines Sr., Gene Lockhart, will foreclose it if they are not able to pay off their debts in time. O'Malley and Fitzgibbon manage to grow close after Fitzgibbon reveals that he has not been able to see his Irish mother in years. O'Malley has a love interest of sorts in his ex-girlfriend turned superstar opera singer Genevieve Linden, RisÃ« Stevens, while unruly teenager Carol James, Jean Heather, begins a relationship with Ted Haines Jr., James Brown, that O'Malley disapproves of.
The biggest issue with the film, to me, was it's religious messaging. It was simply ridiculous hearing Crosby spout off about the lack of morality in today's world as he attempts to counsel his parishioners into living the ideal Christian life. When he lectures Carol and Ted Jr. about their sinning and sings the titular song "Going My Way" to drive home the point that they should not have premarital sexual relations. I assume at the time that most audiences agreed with the message of the film as people were religious and more sexually conservative but today the social mores that our protagonist is in support of make him seem like a spoil sport. Carol and Haines Jr. were the characters I was most interested in, not just because they are played by the most attractive actors by today's standards, as they appeal to the teenage girl in me that wants some forbidden romance.
This is not a film made for teenage girls, I assume it was made for families, and that may be why there is not one ounce of sex appeal in Bing Crosby's performance. I understand that he was meant to be fairly humorous in this role as we watch him have slapstick problems in the film and later adopt a sarcastic tone in his consultations. The "jokes" did not elicit laughter and although I doubt most actors of the era could have done much better Crosby does very little with the material. Considering the fact that McCarey wrote the screenplay I was disappointed, he seemed to get lost during the middle of the film and relied on clichÃ (C)s and sudden plot twists to excite. I wanted more out of the performances and dialogue because the songs certainly weren't getting me through the picture and because I had such high expectations of McCarey after loving Make Way for Tomorrow so much.
The only musical number that I even mildly engaged with was "Ave Maria" and that was not an original song written for the soundtrack. The idea of going to church fills me with horror and fear but I do find some religious music to be of merit and the sight of a choir comprised of children performing a decent song was enough to move me.
This is not a film I would recommend, watch Gigi (1958) instead, because it contains bad music, it's performances and screenplay have not aged well and it misuses it's most interesting characters. Double Indemnity (1944) is clearly better than this film and it's influence still looms large while nobody really remembers this film therefore Double Indemnity should have won Best Picture in 1945.
Another lost flixster rating. Winner of best picture and some of the catchiest songs ever written. A real wholesome feel good flick. If only I was as smart and approachable as Crosby.
A heartfelt look at religion and kindness.
Going My Way (1944) is Leo McCarey's sweet take on organized religion's gentle way of sending of an old priest. The film is long, but I never think that it feels too long as everything included is so fun and charming. Beautiful scene after scene enchants you with the tender message of sentimentality and decency towards others.
The musical numbers are just amazing with Bing Crosby singing Silent Night, Going My Way, Ave Maria, and many more. There is even an entire sequence from Carmen included! The music is gorgeous and Crosby's voice is as powerful and captivating as ever.
Speaking of which, Crosby gives perhaps his most kindly and adoring performance as Father O'Malley. He is the new head priest at a church and takes to the task with great enthusiasm. Crosby's portrayal is just so optimistic and good willed that you cannot help but like him. He is relatable and nice with a sense of progressive realism to his character. Going My Way easily features some of Crosby's best acting.
Similarly, Barry Fitzgerald as Father Fitzgibbon is hilarious as the stumbling and stingy old man. His priest is trying his best to adapt to the new world and the way Fitzgerald plays his funny older priest is delightful. You are always smiling or laughing alongside him. He really feels like a well rounded character with a lot of interesting moments. He steals the scene away from Crosby sometimes even!
This is a classic film, not so much for the good direction or pretty songs, but for its heart warming depiction of kindness towards your fellow man. It is very touching and I find it as affecting with each viewing as I did the first time I saw Going My Way.
barely misleading or off the track..
Going My Way
McCarey's in-and-out mission on stabilizing the messed up civilization is undoubtedly impressive and charming. His drama is much more responsive with the audience than the humor is, and fortunately he is well aware of it and doesn't uses it unnecessarily. The narration flows and is kept to-the-point without any monkey business. Butler and Cavett's screenplay is not provocative but adaptive and gripping. It doesn't over chew the concept it has hold on to, the material isn't taken for granted. And even though it falls deeper and deeper into the semantics of it, it never fails to flaunt in his high pitched dramatic sequences. The characters are well taken care of. All of them gets to invest equally onto the biggest picture.
The storytelling doesn't grab onto the lead characters, the supporting characters have their own tales to tell. And amongst all such sub-plots the best bit would be James's love track that is beautifully crafted and has a fresh perspective to offer to its audience. The musical acts are kept mellow yet at a certain point, that is what the feature thrives upon, especially Crosby's character. The concept is genuinely moving in context to the reflection of the society and the structure of the script that is barely misleading or off the track. Crosby has done a fine job on depicting various equations with different range of characters.
But the best one would be the primary relationship of his with Fitzgerald whose stellar performance elevates the equation much more. James's track may not be inspiring as anticipated, but it surely is soothing to encounter it on screen. McCarey's world was awaiting for an angel and they didn't know about it, similar to all the sub-plot that is carried out in here. Going My Way is an amalgamation of generation gap with strains and sweat until there isn't left any, that bridge is performed brilliantly by Crosby.
Der Bingle burbles bubbly as a bouncy and hip priest sent in to Hail Mary a losing parish. Barry Fitzgerald plays the cantankerous older curmudgeon already running things, unaware that time has passed him by. There's nary a sermon in hearing, but plenty of singing to solve whatever problems that might show up in this lighthearted romp that gave the befuddled audiences of the day exactly the assurance they must've needed in the face of the burgeoning youth demographic. Not bad.
I’ve always loved Bing Crosby, and any movie where he gets to sing a few songs is automatically going to be one that I want to watch. I just wish the plot of Going My Way worked a little better so I could enjoy those songs more. The idea of a progressive young priest shaking things up in a struggling parish should work, and I think they could have used that plot to drive a truly heart-wrenching story. But this one gets bogged down in side plots and other nonsense that draw the focus away from the financial difficulties of the church. I didn’t feel the magnitude of their struggles, because I’m busy watching the trouble-making kids and the flighty young girl who runs away from home. It doesn’t help that Crosby never acts like there’s anything to worry about. When the finale comes, I didn’t get that swell of emotions that I should have experienced when things turn around in this type of movie. I do love the songs, and Barry Fitzgerald is delightful. Sadly, those things aren’t enough to make Going My Way a film I connect with as much as other musicals from that era.
This film is so old, the main character is a fan of the St. Louis Browns baseball team! Long winded film about a new priest that manages to connect with the local youths, raise enough funds to rebuild the burned-down old church and really connect with the community before being transferred to another parish in trouble. Crosby well cast here and won an Oscar. Just too long and too dated to earn a high-enough rating.
Delightful, but overly.