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The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Unrated | | Drama | 21 February 1946 (Sweden)
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At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building.

Director:

Leo McCarey

Writers:

Dudley Nichols (screenplay), Leo McCarey (story)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bing Crosby ... Father Chuck O'Malley
Ingrid Bergman ... Sister Mary Benedict
Henry Travers ... Horace P. Bogardus
William Gargan ... Joe Gallagher - Patsy's father
Ruth Donnelly ... Sister Michael
Joan Carroll ... Patricia 'Patsy' Gallagher
Martha Sleeper ... Mary Gallagher - Patsy's mother
Rhys Williams ... Dr. McKay
Richard Tyler Richard Tyler ... Eddie Breen (as Dickie Tyler)
Una O'Connor ... Mrs. Breen
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Storyline

Father O'Malley, the unconventional priest from 'Going My Way', continues his work for the Catholic Church. This time he is sent to St. Mary's, a run-down parochial school on the verge of condemnation. He and Sister Benedict work together in an attempt to save the school, though their differing methods often lead to good-natured disagreements. Written by Greg Helton <ghelton@airmail.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're a grand pair in the grandest picture of the years! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1946 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Leo McCarey's The Bells of St. Mary's See more »

Filming Locations:

Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$21,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rainbow Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Going My Way (1944) and this film were both the top-grossing films domestically the years of their release, the first film series to do so. See more »

Goofs

When Sister Benedict is starting to erase her drawn portrait on the blackboard when Father O'Malley walks in, she barely erases any of the portrait, but in the next scene most of the portrait is already erased. See more »

Quotes

Patricia 'Patsy' Gallagher: [stands up in class to present a report] The Six Senses.
Sister Mary Benedict: Oh, the subject I gave you was the five senses.
Patricia 'Patsy' Gallagher: Well, I chose for my subject six senses.
Sister Mary Benedict: [baffled and confused] Well, go on, Patricia. Go on.
Patricia 'Patsy' Gallagher: The Six Senses: To see, to hear, to taste, to smell, to feel... to be.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Magic of Bing Crosby (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Land of Beginning Again
(uncredited)
Written by George W. Meyer and Grant Clarke
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Heartwarming & uplifting tribute to parochial school nuns
1 April 2006 | by roghacheSee all my reviews

This is a classic old holiday favorite, and quite deservedly so. It tells the story of a dilapidated parochial school, St. Mary's, that is facing condemnation. Sister Bendict, the Mother Superior and school principal, is struggling not only to save the school but expand it, with dreams of annexing the neighboring property owned by a shrewd businessman named Mr. Bogardus. She frequently clashes with St. Mary's new pastor, Father O'Malley, who has his own ideas as to how the school should be run and its fate.

First of all, I may make some enemies, however...I love Bing Crosby, but the part of Father O'Malley is not merely to serve as a foil for Sister Benedict, but to act much of the time as a veritable idiot! Likable but possibly a tad too clueless to ever have become a priest. For example, his opening stunt where he declares a holiday, can you imagine any Catholic priest actually doing this without first consulting the sisters? He's unrealistically lenient, apparently seeing no need whatsoever for discipline, and disregards standards, encouraging (with no apparent misgivings at all) Sister Benedict to pass a student who has failed the exams. However, he is kind, well intended, and nonjudgmental, as shown by his touching behavior toward young Patsy and her mother, and does sometimes achieve the desired results, I admit, with his relaxed, easy going, laid back style. Wonderful singing as always, with Bing's magnificent, effortless voice. (I didn't see Going My Way, I confess.)

This is Ingrid Bergman's movie. She gives Sister Benedict a sparkling inner light here as she portrays the devout and dedicated nun, trying to save her school while also ensuring its daily operation with kindness, fairness, and genuine concern but also meaningful standards and expectations. She appears strict at times, but has a genuine love for her students and a concern that they truly learn. She glows with pride at her little first graders' Christmas pageant. I love her method for helping young Eddie protect himself against the school yard bullies! Suffice it to say, if I had a child in a parochial school, I would want it run by Sister Benedict and not Father O'Malley!

Unfortunately, these days it's all the negative tales that draw headlines, but my own husband grew up with nuns as teachers during most of his Catholic school years, and he can't sing their praises enough. This movie is a touching, entertaining, and uplifting tale, something of a tribute to all the hard working, dedicated nuns who have taught in parochial schools through the years.


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