Bells of St. Mary’s The (1945)
The multi-talented Leo McCarey produced directed and wrote this sequel to his delightful Going My Way (1944) for which he won three of his four Oscars; Dudley Nichols (The Informer (1935)) wrote the screenplay. This film received eight Oscar nominations including Best Director & Best Picture for McCarey Best Actress for Ingrid Bergman (Gaslight (1944)) and Best Actor for Bing Crosby who’d won for playing Father O’Malley in the previous film; it won for Best Sound Recording. Oh yeah and Bing sings (so the film’s Score and song “Aren’t You Glad You’re You” were also nominated) but you probably knew that already.
The story has Father O’Malley (Crosby) assigned to help at the titled church where Sister Mary Benedict (Bergman) works with school children which is in dire need of better facilities. Henry Travers (Mrs. Miniver (1942)) plays a successful businessman who’s just built a brand new building across the street that wants the church leveled for a parking lot. William Gargan (They Knew What They Wanted (1940)) plays the father (Martha Sleeper the mother) of child star Joan Carroll who’s character has parental issues. Dickie Tyler (who went on to share four Oscar nominations for Best Sound) plays a boy Sister Mary teaches how to box (as in fight)! Ruth Donnelly plays Sister Michael; Rhys Williams plays Dr. McKay; Una O’Connor plays Mrs. Breen. The Father and the Sister don’t always see eye-to-eye as they deal with the issue at hand – the pending closure of the parochial school – and the children’s “problems” but ultimately this film’s story is about the love & respect that develops between its two leads.