Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bells of St. Mary's: My Thoughts After Gushing For "Going My Way"

Early in the summer I sang my praises for the Oscar winning film Going My Way staring Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley.

The character and story of a priest who operates with a different set of rules, without sacrificing the honor of his position, but ultimatly practicing his faith in a sincere and influential way was touching.

So, you can imagine I couldn't help but follow up my watching of a film I loved with it's sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.

This film is certainly not a critical flop - it's 8 nominations, including Best Picture show that it was respected. Yet, it's 8 nominations only garnered one win, and that was for sound (putting it into a category I've discussed before of the multi-nominated film with limited wins...usually indicating that it's a boring film).

Some people love this film...and to be fair there are some great scenes, and Ingrid Bergman as the nun and Bing Crosby reprising his role as Father O'Malley is enjoyable. Yet...this film is a complete character film with hardly any cohesive plot, making it bland and hard to put on any sort of "favorite's list."

In fact, some of the favorite parts of Father O'Malley get taken too far in this film, in my assessment, and here we see him essentially manipulate health records and blackmail someone to achieve his ultimate goal. Hardly the same guy I praised for his earlier film.

Alas, it seemed like a rushed sequel, and Leo McCarey is lucky to have been nominated. Again, some great scenes (like the children's nativity and Bergman's boxing lessons) but great scenes and characters without a cohesive story left me disappointed.


joe burns said...

Do you like Ingrid Bergman in general?

RC said...

@ joe - I've only seen a handful of Ingrid films - but I'd say "sure, generally I like her" -- I don't think I've seen enough to be a fan.

You think that makes a difference in how you view The Bells?