The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
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- 126 min.
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Though Going My Way was the bigger hit, its sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's is not only the better film, but the better remembered one. It's definitely funnier and pacier, and it's got Ingrid Bergman in the role the Sister Superior of a Catholic school BIng Crosby's Father O'Malley must save or sell (the bishop gives him a lot of latitude in these). Again, Leo McCarey has crafted a number of vignettes with a strong improvisational feel around a loose plot, but it's better grounded in a place, so the parts (including the big subplot about a wayward girl and her even more wayward mother) add rather than distract from the whole. O'Malley's progressive ideas about education feel more extreme than those he had about running a parish, but that makes you side with Bergman's Sister Benedict more, and she gives an altogether sympathetic performance. As with the previous film, it's really about the relationship between O'Malley and the faith leader he's come to help, and it's a great one, rooted in mutual admiration and a true sense of vocation. And that first grade nativity play! Worth the viewing for just that scene!
This movie is really great but the best part for me was the children's play.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #58 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #81 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #150 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees