I'm a lover of movies; in fact, I love all kinds of movies. Amongst them all, action movies especially are my passion. However, I also do enjoy sci-fi, drama, comedy, and horror. As for romance? Eh, if the babe is hot and there are tits to go along with the show it might be deemed possibly watchable for me. Though even then, that so did not help me when I watched The English Patient (1996). Otherwise, I rather watch Batman & Robin (1997) for 24 hours straight than see a cheesy romance flick. Still, I cannot see every movie known to man when they come out, or only hear good stuff about them. Therefore, I'll put my behind down and review the flick. Enter this column, where I finally state was the movie truly worth the price of viewing or not.
Well, it’s been awhile but I’m back! There’s a fascination I’ve always had with Bing Crosby. Besides being one of the greatest singers of his time (and for those who never knew this fellow's talent. Well stab your eyes!), the man had quite the acting career. Though I have to honest, I’ve never seen any of his “Road to” pictures with Bob Hope (a fact someday I hope to change). The thing I most remember of his acting career would be his holiday movies aka Holiday Inn (1942), White Christmas (1954), and of course my personal favorite of his being the narrator in Sleepy Hollow portion of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). Though there was one film of his that I’ve always wanted to see fully that I just couldn’t sit through before. Well that finally changed this past year when I finally saw Going My Way (1944). Now the film actually might be called his best, given Bing nabbed an Oscar for his role as Father Chuck.
The actual story for the movie is pretty simple. Father Chuck has been called in by the Church to replace Father Fitzgibbon (played by Barry Fitzgerald more on him later) and gain money to continue on in the disadvantaged area the church located at. The two clash, given their completely different styles on gaining money. But that isn’t the main crutch of the story; instead it’s salvation of the area.
When Father Chuck first arrives, the neighborhood is in a bad sort of spot. The kids are robbing places (leading to quite a humorous scene between both priests over the object stolen) and kooky old women. Though not as bad as say something of today’s standards, but the film does it job in showing just how badly the Church and its covenant are in when hope has arrived.
Of course being that this is film with Bing Crosby, song is always a requirement, so there are so fantastic songs sung by the crooner in this picture. My personal favorites would be “Swinging on a Star” and “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra”. Though there’s a wide mix of song found in this film ranging from Opera to holiday fare to even jazz. All the hottest music at the time is perfectly represented here. All of them are quite some catchy tunes.
Bing himself in the film when not dishing in song, is VERY likeable as Father Chuck. The man isn’t raised in the old school Catholic style as shown with Father Fitzgibbon. Instead he brings a more modern touch. I have to admit Crosby is playing more himself than a character. Besides song, the film features his other great passion being of golf. Still, he just brings utterly likeable warmth to this character. I can see why Bing won an Oscar for the role just given how nice and again the only time he really gets to show his acting chops would be with one of his former friends whose now an Opera singer and near the climax of the picture.
Besides Bing, the rest of the cast are also quite enjoyable on their own. From Barry Fitzgerald who I always adored in the Quiet Man (1952), is very likeable, yet also very flawed as the elder pastor. You can see why the church is failing under his watch, but you cannot help but also feel sorry for this fellow given the time has just passed him by on how he views things. Plus the chemistry between him and Crosby is just utter magic. After the two when they become friends, and he reveals his greatest wish well, I won’t spoil it any further but I have to confess that the duo got me good when it came to the finale in actually tearing up just a little. The other actor worth mentioning in this would be Stanley Clements who plays the leader of teens rampaging through the neighborhood. Clements like Crosby and Fitzgerald has some great comedy timing but then what else can you expect from a dude who was in the “East Side Kids”.
About the only negatives I can say about this film is that in some parts it’s aged pretty bad (the conditions of the church aren’t as bad as say today), while in others it still hits the mark perfectly (what becomes of the son of the banker in this film). Though then again, given the time period we’re shown, if one understands that these where VERY different times then these small points will flip over them. Even in the current light of problems going on with the Catholic Church, I found myself unaffected by it, and enjoyed the view of it I got here.
Still this is a VERY fun movie. From the performances to the songs from the drama and comedy, this film hits all the right notes. Though it does feel aged, that will not stop a viewer from being swayed away. When a movie does that task then by all means it truly does deserve a perfect score.
5 out of 5
5 out of 5