Review: ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’

The Bells of St. Mary's is warmly sentimental, has a simple story leavened with many laughs and bears comparison with Going My Way. Leo McCarey, who demonstrated his ability to combine wholesome sentiment into a potent attraction with Going My Way, duplicates that ability as producer-director on this one.

The Bells of St. Mary’s is warmly sentimental, has a simple story leavened with many laughs and bears comparison with Going My Way. Leo McCarey, who demonstrated his ability to combine wholesome sentiment into a potent attraction with Going My Way, duplicates that ability as producer-director on this one.

Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley is the same priest character seen in Way, and Bells tells of his new assignment as parish priest at the parochial school, St. Mary’s.

Story tells of how he aids the nuns’ prayers for a new school building with a more practical application of guidance; steers a young girl through an unhappy domestic situation, and brings the parents together again. It’s all done with the natural ease that is Crosby’s trademark.

Ingrid Bergman again demonstrates her versatility as the sister in charge. Her clashes with Crosby – all good-mannered – over proper methods of educating children, her venture into athletics, and coaching of a youngster to return a good left hook instead of the other cheek, are moments that will have an audience alternately laughing and sniffling.

1945: Best Sound Recording.

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Bing Crosby), Actress (Ingrid Bergman), Editing, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture, Song (‘Aren’t You Glad You’re You’)

The Bells of St. Mary's

Production

RKO/Rainbow. Director Leo McCarey; Producer Leo McCarey; Screenplay Dudley Nichols; Camera George Barnes; Editor Henry Marker; Music Robert Emmett Dolan; Art Director William Flannery

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1945. Running time: 126 MIN.

With

Bing Crosby Ingrid Bergman Henry Travers Ruth Donnelly Rhys Williams Una O'Connor
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