After triumphing at the Academy Awards® (including wins for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor) with the 1944 box office smash Going My Way, director Leo McCarey (Duck Soup) and star Bing Crosby immediately collaborated on the equally successful follow-up, The Bells of St Mary’s, presented here in a heavenly 4K restoration.
Father “Chuck” O’Malley (Crosby) is dispatched to fix up an inner-city parochial school on its last legs, and his easygoing, unconventional demeanour instantly clashes with that of the firm, no-nonsense Sister Superior Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman, fresh off winning the Best Actress Oscar® for Gaslight), who is keeping the school open through sheer will and faith alone. Over the course of the school year, the pair bicker and ultimately bond over their differing visions on how to save the school – and the role a miserly businessman (Henry Travers, It’s A Wonderful Life) who wants the building condemned might play in doing so.
An instant crowdpleaser on its release, The Bells of St Mary’s remains just as affecting today, thanks to McCarey’s directorial light touch, Crosby’s laidback charisma and iconic singing voice, and Bergman’s radiant charm, all of which earned them well-deserved Oscar® nominations.
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