Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1944. Paramount Pictures. Story by Leo McCarey, Screenplay by Frank Butler, Frank Cavett. Cinematography by Lionel Lindon, John F. Seitz. Produced by Leo McCarey. Music by Robert Emmett Dolan. Production Design by Hans Dreier, William Flannery. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by LeRoy Stone. Academy Awards 1944. Golden Globe Awards 1944.
Delightful musical about a kindhearted Irish American priest (Bing Crosby) trying to lift up the spirits of the street kids in his neighbourhood. He’s so laid back and easygoing a guy, he doesn’t even object to singing a song or two for the kiddies, even while tight assed superior Barry Fitzgerald (who was so marvelous as to get two Academy Award nominations for the part, prompting an immediate rule change thereafter) disapproves of everything. The camaraderie between these two great performers is wonderful to watch, but the film is no milestone in storytelling: it is pure, feel-good hokum that wins you over time and time again. Followed by a sequel The Bells of St. Mary’s, starring Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.