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Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby. Crosby revisits his role of the affable priest Father O'Malley, who takes a position at a parochial school in financial shambles and finds his style of leadership conflicting with the Sister Superior. 1945/b&w/126 min/NR/fullscreen.
This review refers to the Silver Screen Classics Edition(Republic Pictures)DVD....... A beautiful sequel to "Going My Way", is now a beautifully transfered to DVD. "The Bells of St.Mary's" is funny, poignant and will tug at your heartstrings.Father O'Malley(Bing Crosby) has now been assigned to a parochial school that is in dire need of repairs. The school has no money and O'Malley's job is to assess the possibilites, of perhaps sending the children to another school.He meets with some tough oppostion though, in the form of one Sister Benedict(Ingrid Bergman). She is the no nonsense type,and right away the two have some very different ideas on what's good for the kids.There is also the problem of a businesman(Henry Travers) who wants the building condemned so he can put up a parking lot for his own employees.Sister Benedict prays for miracle, will she get it? The story and Ingrid Bergman are charming and delightful and will have you praying with her for that miracle.Bing's beautiful voice graces the film with song and Henry Travers(It's A Wonderful Life) is wonderful as always. It's not too often a sequel equals the original, but with the addition of Bergman, (along with some really adorable kids)and under the direction of Leo McCarey once again, this heartwarming story has accomplished that. This Silver Screens Classic DVD has done a really nice job with the remastering of this Black and White Classic.The film made in 1945 barely shows it's age. It is a nice clear picture, and the Dolby Digital Sound is good as well. It contains the original Theatrical Trailer, Has French and Spanish language tracks as well as subtitles, and has captioning in English.It also comes with a little brochure with some facts about the filming.If your looking for some great old classics that look great on DVD to add to your collection, this would be a good one. Happy Viewing......Laurie
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Don't believe the Amazon reviewer, whoever she is. Crosby's performance in this picture is astonishing; the fact that he holds the screen with the great Ingrid scene after scene, as he did with Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way, tells you that; very often he steals their scenes, not with any two-bit mugging but with the forcefulness he brings to the character. Also, that's nonsense about it being an ode to sentimentality; there is a difference between sentimentality and sentiment, and the latter is what makes this film to compelling no matter how many times you watch it. Leo McCarey and Bing Crosby were both schooled by the Jesuits and they incorporate incidents and characters they knew in their youths. Also, McCarey was THE master of improvisation before John Casavetes and some of the finest sequences--Bergman teaching a boy to box; the children's pageant; Bing and the cat in the hat--have the timeless enchantment of spontaneous invention. And if there is a musical scene in any movie that is more quietly potent than Bing singing In the Land of Beginning Again (one of Louis Armstrong's favorite songs, incidentally), I haven't scene it. A lot of people think they are too sophisticated for the O'Malley films. Pity. I've been an admirer for over 10 years and their craftsmanship and candor never cease to amaze me. I wish they would put some of the rarer Crosby films (like the Universal gems, East Side of Heaven and If I Had My Way)and McCarey gems like The Awful Truth and Love Affair) on DVD.
The first time I saw Leo McCarey's THE BELLS OF ST MARY'S was on Christmas Day of 2002 when it aired on TCM. I was blown away from the moment the Main Title rolled across the screen. I've always been a sucker for sentimental movies of the 40s and BELLS fits the bill to the "t". I picked up a copy of the DVD this past holiday season. I've seen the movie complete a number of times and never tire of watching it. This is the epitome of 40's motion picture entertainment. An excellent cast turn in equally excellent performances. Bing Crosby is Father O'Malley. Crosby is the only actor ever to have been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar twice for the same role, having also played Father O'Malley in GOING MY WAY the previous year. Ingrid Bergman plays Sister Benedict, the Sister Superior of St. Mary's. Henry Travers plays Mr. Horace P. Bogardus... you will recognize him as Clarence from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
The film earned eight Oscar nominations in the following categories: Best Actor (Crosby); Best Acress (Bergman); Direction (Leo McCarey); Editing; Score of a dramatic/comedy picture (Robert Emmett Dolan); Song (Aren't You Glad You're You); Sound Recording; Best Picture. BELLS won for Sound Recording.
It's a shame BELLS didn't walk away with more Oscars, this truly is a beautiful film and is necessary in any collection. Good for watching anytime, especailly when your spirit needs a lift.
The DVD transfer is outstanding. Picture is (generally) stable and clear throughout. Sound is crisp, with little distortion whatsoever. There is a theatrical trailer included, but no other extras. My only complaint about the DVD transfer... what is up with the gray bar at the bottom of the screen that appears at about the 2nd or 3rd page of the Main Title? It looks like it was digitally superimposed over the film to cover something up, but what and why?