Starring Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, William Gargan, Joan Carroll, Ruth Donnelly
(7-Very Good Film)
Sweet. Sentimental. Moving.
It’s difficult not to get romantic notions about Hollywood classics such as The Bells of St. Mary’s. I watch and think, “Oh, how wonderful times were. How much nicer.” I know better, of course, but for me, there is a type of magic about classic Hollywood cinema that I would describe as pure joy. Here, Bing Crosby returns to his role as Father O’Malley, this time taking over at an inner-city school for children, supported by a group of nuns. Though never hostile, Father O’Malley and the Sister Superior, Mary Benedict (Bergman), have different ideas for just about everything, but even through their gentle confrontations, they develop a respect for each other as the films goes on. The Bells of St. Mary’s is a wonderful Christmas film. The drama is light but moving, Bergman is luminous, and Bing Crosby is likely the coolest priest ever to grace the screen.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-