Best Picture Review: “Going My Way” (1944)

Going My Way (1944)
Going My Way (1944)

On Tuesday night, amidst our packing for the big weekend move, Lauren and I took two hours to watch 1944’s Best Picture winner, “Going My Way,” a light-hearted comedy/drama starring a young Bing Crosby as father-in-training Father O’Malley at the parish under the tutilage of old, cantankerous Father Fitzgibbon.

We actually started watching this Saturday night but both quickly fell asleep.  Going My Way is fairly slow-paced and centers around the singing talents of Bing Crosby, though in this movie most of the songs were lullabyes putting us to sleep.

Father O’Malley is the too-cool-for-school priest at St. Dominick’s.  He shows up on his first day wearing his St. Louis Browns sweatsuit, instantly causing some unrest between Father Fitzgibbon and his staff.  O’Malley somehow has this troupe of 30 neighborhood boys who instantly start following him around and become amazing singers overnight.  They practice ’round the clock in the church basement, and are even known to take in a Yankees game afterwards.

Father O’Malley is quite the musician himself, and one day attemps to have a song published.  He and his boy troupe team up with some professional singers and do his big title song “Going My Way,” but the record producers hate it and politely tell O’Malley the song’s not their cup of tea.  Dejected, the gang decides to sing another song just for kicks, “Swing on a Star,” which catches the ears of the record execs who pay big money for the rights.

Yada yada yada, the church burns down, and it’s his big song that helps pay to have it resurrected, and then old Father Fitzgibbon meets up with his 90-year old mother from the old country.

Overall, a bit of a snoozer, but it was not without its charm.  Bing rocked the house with a few tunes, and the storyline was pleasant but quite loose.  In some ways it reminded me of The Great Ziegfeld in that they just threw in some songs just for the hell of it, but it was a much better movie than that.

Here are my revised, updated rankings of the Best Picture winners we’ve seen to this point, 1929-1944.

  1. Mrs. Miniver, 1942
  2. Grand Hotel, 1932
  3. Gone With the Wind, 1939
  4. Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935
  5. Casablanca, 1943
  6. All Quiet on the Western Front, 1930
  7. It Happened One Night, 1934
  8. The Life of Emile Zola, 1937
  9. You Can’t Take It with You, 1938
  10. How Green Was My Valley, 1941
  11. Going My Way, 1944
  12. Cimmaron, 1931
  13. The Broadway Melody, 1929
  14. The Great Ziegfeld, 1936

And again, we have skipped Wings (1929), Cavalcade (1933), and Rebecca (1940).

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