I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…


Friday, March 11, 2011

Going My Way, 1944












Not Rated

Man! “Going My Way” was NOT going my way…. This took me about 5 or 6 nights to finish. It never did hook me. I guess that’ll help keep this entry a little shorter.

This movie was a feel-good movie during the war and served as a distraction to raise spirits. It is considered a musical comedy (although I think I can count the number of songs it had on one hand) and stars my man Bing Crosby as the male lead. He won his only Best Actor award for his portrayal of young and charming Father Chuck O’Malley who is sent by the Bishop to St. Dominic's Catholic Church to help the stubborn older priest (see bottom right headshot on movie poster) revive his congregation and help relieve its debt (without the old man knowing). He influences some people along his way including the delinquent boys of the neighborhood, rounding them up into what else? A choir. This movie put the crooner on the map in regards to acting; he was no longer considered just a singer.

I felt that the scenes and sub-plots were a little disjointed. I didn’t quite know the purpose of some of them. The momentum of the movie lagged in areas and I felt some character resolutions weren’t quite there… or perhaps I drifted off at those parts. For example, there’s a scene where Father O’Malley visits an old girlfriend who’s become a performer and claims she never received his final letter to her (the one stating he was going into the seminary). I don’t know what happens to her…

Bing reprises his role in this movie's sequel, “The Bells of St. Mary’s”. Ironically, I’ve heard of the sequel but not this one. Hmm.

“Going My Way” was up against “Double Indemnity”, “Gaslight”, “Since You Went Away”, and “Wilson”. Again, none of them I’ve heard of or seen. This was the first year that the Academy lessened the number of movies nominated for Best Picture from ten or twelve, like in the past, to five. This was also the first year that the Award show was nationally broadcast on television. The movie also snagged awards for Best Supporting Actor, Best Song, Best Original Story, Best Screenplay, and Best Director. Needless to say, it was a very popular movie and the highest grossing one of that year. Interestingly enough, the man nominated (and who won) for Best Supporting Actor was also nominated for Best Actor… I guess they couldn’t define the importance of his role. The Academy changed the rules after this happened. In my humble opinion, the Academy overlooked a very important musical that year… one I’ve watched many times with fondness: “Meet Me in St. Louis” with dear Judy Garland. Boo Academy.

FAVORITE SCENE:

Of course my favorite scene involves Bing singing. After a heartfelt conversation about life “back home”, Father O’Malley sings “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That’s An Irish Lullaby)” to Father Fitzgibbon and subsequently sings him off to dreamland. It is a very sweet scene where the father-son relationship these priests have seem to be reversed for a moment.
(Can anyone tell me why this song is on my Bing Crosby Christmas album?! That’s not a trivia question… I really want to know.)



LESSONS LEARNED:

Don’t do good wishing to be honored or acknowledged for it; do it out of the goodness of your heart. Bing’s character was so sweet to never let on to Father Fitzgibbon that it was he who was really running the show and improving things. He remained humble and gleeful at the same time.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade (or something else cheesy to that effect.) When their beloved church burns down, the priests don’t get (too) discouraged; they hit the pavement fundraising and keeping the hope alive.

Finish movies in two days or less and don’t drift off to sleep. While this last lesson wasn’t IN the movie, it’s a lesson I learned nonetheless. After two days, my movie amnesia starts to kick in and I have to re-watch scenes.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness I am upset at the Academy too for not putting Meet Me in St. Louis in the running. Also, I agree: I've heard of the sequel and not the original.

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