Saturday, September 4, 2010

1944: Going My Way

It's nice to know that a film doesn't have to be incredibly depressing to win Best Picture.  This is an example of one of the more heartwarming winners.  It's also unusual in that its central conflicts don't involve romance or war (although there is a couple that fall in love and the war is briefly mentioned).

This film tells the story of an old priest who's been running a parish for 45 years.  The church is now struggling financially, so the bishop sends young Father O'Malley (aka Bing Crosby) to take over.  The two personalities clash at first, but eventually they start to get along quite well.  Father O'Malley decides to turn some of the young delinquents of the parish into a choir.  Oh, yeah, and there are a couple of women who are somewhat important to the story but are mostly there to look pretty and sing.

I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit cheesy.  It even gets a little boring in places.  But it's mostly a really good film.  It's about people helping each other and looking out for one another and singing together (obviously Bing Crosby has a lot to do with the last one).  It also says a lot about generation gaps.  The writing is as un-cheesy as possible.  The little boys are cute, even if it's very apparent that their voices weren't recorded at the same time as their images.  And Barry Fitzgerald is perfect for the part of the older priest.  If you're looking for movies that will restore your faith in human beings, this is a good place to start.

Coming up next: The Lost Weekend

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