Most folks are not aware that “The Bells of St. Mary’s” – a fine movie – is technically a ‘sequel’ to another Bing Crosby film – “Going My Way”. (In an odd twist, TBOSM was filmed before GMW.) Here is one reviewer’s plot synopsis…
Leo McCarey’s sentimental 1944 film, “Going My Way” is a positive film that dealt with the problems of the inner city back when the term hadn’t been coined. St. Dominic’s Church is an oasis in the middle of the area that has seen better days. We realize how deeply in trouble the parish is from the start as Mr. Haines is trying to give Father Fitzgibbon an idea of how much he owes the bank and the fact the church will disappear soon. When Father Chuck O’Malley arrives at St. Dominic to try to save it from its uncertain future, Father Fitzgibbon doesn’t have a clue the younger man is going to be over him in all matters of importance. Yet, Father O’Malley never steps over the older priest’s shoes to make his rank felt.
If you haven’t seen this movie – add it to your ‘must-see’ list immediately. It is a hidden jewel of American-cinema and sadly, a long-lost slice of American culture. The film is a positive portrayal of the Catholic Church and the Priesthood. Think Hollywood would make a movie like this today?
First, “Going My Way” – released in 1944 – won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Bing Crosby, and Best Support Actor for Barry Fitzgerald. Not only was this strongly pro-Catholic movie produced by Hollywood – it was embraced and acknowledged for it’s wonderful story and acting.
Second, in a culture full of ‘superhero’ adulation (e.g. Batman, Spiderman, Superman, etc.), it’s worth noting that we have real-life superheroes among us – our Priests.
Are there any other movies you’d recommend that portray Catholics and the Church in a positive light?