Going My Way is a 1944 musical comedy-drama film directed by Leo McCarey and stars Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. The film won 7 Academy Awards out of a total of 10 nominations, which included Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor along with Best Picture.
Going My Way follows the youthful and upbeat priest, Father Charles O'Malley (Crosby), who is sent to St. Dominic's Church in New York to be the new assistant to the elderly Father Fitzgibbon (Fitzgerald). The Church is struggling with financial problems, and Fitzgibbon does not, initially, take kindly to O'Malley's recreational habits and attitude. O'Malley later befriends a group of boys who agree to be the church's new choir.
Going My Way is not one of those religious shove-it-down-your-throat films, despite taking place in a religious setting. The film is more so a sweet and joyous musical viewing with O'Malley claiming he wants to look upon, "the brighter side of religion." O'Malley's youth clashes with Fitzgibbon's elderly and conservative ways of thinking. O'Malley loves to golf, talk about baseball with the group of boys he befriends, and hops over a bush which Fitzgibbon attempts to do later on. Fitzgibbon is annoyed by the group of boys singing Three Blind Mice and attempts to get O'Malley removed from St. Dominic's. Eventually, Fitzgibbon warms up to O'Malley, and the two become good friends.
I suppose the film is trying to tell us to either take advantage and make the most of one's youth, or that the elderly should not look disdainfully on the young. But with that underlying theme aside, Going My Way finds its strength in its songs and the positive energy of Crosby.
- Bing Crosby's singing and overall performance. Crosby's beautiful baritone voice is a delight to listen to in an age where there was no Auto tune or technology to significantly alter the way we hear someone's singing voice (Rebecca Black, take note). All of his songs are set up well, and they never drone on too long. The icing on the cake is he is usually accompanied by the group of boys who provide their own voices to further complement Crosby's. You might find yourself wanting to sing along when they perform "Swinging on a Star." Not only is Crosby's voice a pleasure to listen to, but his overall performance is one that was very deserving of Best Actor. He is always in a cheerful mood and always know how to handle a difficult situation, such as dealing with two boys who steal a turkey. O'Malley's always positive attitude never becomes happy-go-lucky or overly sweet.
- Going My Way is a little bit lacking in the humor department. Several moments will make you chuckle, but the comedy aspect does not balance very well with the musical and dramatic aspects. Early on, O'Malley goes to retrieve a baseball from under a truck. He crawls under the truck, and you could probably guess that something is going to come by to make him wet or coat him in mud. A horse carriage comes by and causes O'Malley's clothes to become soaked. It's a supposedly humorous moment that isn't all that funny because you expect it to happen.
There aren't that many situations like the one I just described, but overall, the humor doesn't evoke more than a simple chuckle out of you. I am not asking for the film to be laugh-out-loud funny, but more clever humor would've blended together nicely with the songs and dramatic parts of the film.
Going My Way is a delightful musical experience featuring wonderful singing by Bing Crosby and the choir of boys. Some might say it's overly sweet, but it's difficult to resist the good mood the film will put you in at the end of the day.
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