Oscars Challenge #23: Going My Way (1944) Movie Review
First and foremost, the singing voice of Bing Crosby is really magical and unique. There is nobody like him. I am not a musical expert but I know if someone sounds beautiful or not. And there is no doubt the actor who played the main character has one of the most beautiful singing voices even by today's standards.
Going My Way is a pretty light-hearted movie with a tear-jerker ending. It follows the story of Father Chuck (Bing Crosby) a new priest who suddenly got transferred to St. Dominic However his unconventional style gets him in trouble with the elder pastor since he mostly sticks to traditional ways. He didn't like a few things about the new priest: he spent more of his time doing recreational activities like playing golf, meeting other priests from other parishes, etc. This didn't stop Father Chuck from helping other people and having the community get involved with church activities. Will he be able to convert the head priest to follow his new and innovative ways because it benefits both the church and the community?
Again this movie is really a slow feel-good one. No major plot twists, no tragic moments just a pretty-straightforward type of film. I am not complaining about it though, I still think that it's good as it is. Though, I think if they shortened the movie and cut out maybe 15 to 20 minutes it would have been better. I felt like some scenes were slowly paced.
The story is simple yet very nice. I like it to be honest. Not my absolute favorite in terms of plot but nevertheless it still worked for me. It kind of gets confusing in the middle when there are new characters introduced and gets mixed up in the scenes. But even with a very shaky middle, the climax and final scene were really like the icing on the cake.
Although it is musical, I really don't feel like it is one. They put on songs in between but it's not like the musicals we have today where they incorporate the music with the dialogue or the story. And the one that really drives those songs is the main character himself. He really has that hard-toned voice that you want to hear if you just want to listen to a soft lullaby. No wonder why he is a legend not only in acting but also in music. There was even a theater named after him. His Christmas songs are still being played today on the radio or in other musical outlets considering that he already passed away almost half a century ago. That's pretty neat.
The supporting cast also played very well. The choir kids, the head priest, and heck even the ex-girlfriend of Father Chuck were incorporated nicely into the story. I think it is most notable that no character was left out throughout the course of the film.
A fun fact is a copy of this film was given to Pope Pius XII in the Vatican by Bing Crosby and Leo McCarey, the director, after World War II. Now that makes this film culturally significant. Another thing, if you search the reviews of this film on the web, you'll notice that some do like it while some don't. I do respect those who don't, especially if you start to compare this film with other Academy Award winners. Because even I feel like this movie is just average compared to others.
However, even though this movie was released almost eight decades ago, I really do think this aged very well. I call it a very nice change of pace film.
Definitely, this movie deserves a 3 out of 5 stars.