The Bells Of St. Mary’s


(out of 5)

Sappy, manipulative and wholly engrossing sequel to the equally disarming Going My Way, with  resuming his role as the caring Catholic priest who never shuts up. He has been sent to oversee the running of a parochial school that is falling apart. Once there, his liberal methods (i.e. letting students run hog wild but first forcing them to listen to him sing) meet with dire resistance from the Sister Superior () until the two of them finally find the middle of the road. The subplots, which include an unhappy little girl from a ‘broken’ home (whose mother will have feminists setting their televisions on fire), the acquiring of a donation from a humbug of a millionaire () and even the appearance of a near-fatal disease, all threaten to topple over each other as Leo McCarey (writing and directing again after doing the same in the previous film) bites off more than he can at first chew. His reliance on Bergman’s stupendously charismatic personality to counter Crosby’s dull saccharine qualities pays off, however, and he brings the bacon home with plenty of good will and heartwarming feelings for all. It’s a pathetic experience, but it’s also a really nice one. The song selections include the sweet, Oscar-nominated theme song “Aren’t You Glad You’re You”.

Rainbow Productions

USA, 1945

Directed by

Story by Leo McCarey, Screenplay by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1945

Golden Globe Awards 1945

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