Going My Way (1944) starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, directed by Leo McCarey
Going My Way was the 1944 Best picture Academy Award winner. When old fading St. Dominic’s Church gets a new young priest, things are bound to change. The air is filled with music from the classic “Ave Maria” sung by Metropolitan Opera star Rise Stevens to the Academy Award winning “Swinging on a Star“
At it’s heart, Going My Way is a sweet story of the clash of old versus new. Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald) is the head of St. Dominic’s Church in New York City. He’s very much wrapped up in doing things the “old way”, and is resistant to change. However, those old ways have brought the church to the edge of insolvency. A new assistant priest, Father Chuck O’Malley, from East St. Louis, represents new approaches. Despite his likable demeanor, Father Fitzgibbon dislikes him for a variety of reasons. The young priest is informal in both appearance and attitude, and … he plays golf! He’s also friends with another young, “irresponsible” priest – Timmy O’Dowd (Frank McHugh).
Unknown to Father Fitzgibbon, the bishop sent Father O’Malley to take charge of the affairs of the parish, but that Fitzgibbon is to remain as pastor. To spare Fitzgibbon’s feelings, he’s only informed the older man that he’s an assistant.
Cast of characters
- Bing Crosby (White Christmas, High Society) as Father Chuck O’Malley
- Barry Fitzgerald (The Quiet Man, And Then There Were None) as Father Fitzgibbon
- Frank McHugh (All Through the Night, Miss Grant Takes Richmond) as Father Timothy O’Dowd
- James Brown (Sands of Iwo Jima) as Ted Haines, Jr. The son of the banker, who’s more open to reworking the church’s outstanding loans.
- Gene Lockhart (Miracle on 34th Street, His Girl Friday) as Ted Haines, Sr. The banker, who really doesn’t want to refinance the church’s loans … Again.
- Jean Heather (Double Indemnity) as Carol James/Haines. The young girl, running away from home. She gets conflicting advice from the two priests.
- Porter Hall (Sullivan’s Travels) as Mr. Belknap
- Fortunio Bonanova (Citizen Kane) as Tomaso Bozanni
- Eily Malyon (The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939) as Mrs. Carmody
- Robert Mitchell Boychoir as St. Dominic’s Church Choir
- Risë Stevens (Journey Back to Oz) as Genevieve Linden. The singing star, who knew Chuck before God called him into the ministry.
- Stanley Clements as Tony Scaponi
- William Frawley ( Love Lucy) as Max Dolan, the publisher.
- Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (Our Gang) as Herman Langer. One of the “good boys” according to Father Fitzgibbon. Herman gives him a chicken for dinner … Not telling him that its stolen, of course!
Editorial review of Going My Way courtesy of Amazon.com
This irresistible Oscar winner from writer-director Leo McCarey (An Affair to Remember) stars Bing Crosby as a low-key, crooning priest who joins the parish of a no-nonsense but sweet old Irish man of the cloth (Barry Fitzgerald). While Bing turns local toughs into a choir, the elder priest worries over the church building fund and whether he’ll get a chance to see his old mother back in Ireland before she dies. One would have to have a heart of stone not to be won over by this charmer, with a lovely ending guaranteed to make you bawl for a week. –Tom Keogh