Father O'Malley comes to St. Mary's mid-city school when it is threatened with a demolition order for lack of repair funds. While he and the school superintendent Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry about how the children should be handled in work and play, they join in prayer and machination to persuade the owner of the new building next door to give it to the school. When Father O'Malley learns that Sister Benedict is ill, he arranges for her transfer. It is a great disappointment to her as her school moves into its new building, but her prayers that bitterness shall be removed from her heart are answered.
Leo McCarey (story) Dudley Nichols (screenplay)
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 (Eddie Breen - as Dickie Tyler); Una O'Connor (Mrs. Breen). Please contact SFC to add other cast members and characters.
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Reverence and Humour combined with character chemistry
Mark Banks (United Kingdom)
A lot of Catholics seem to rave about Going My Way - the forerunner to this film - but I thought The Bell's of St Mary's was much the better film. The film is also surprisingly charismatic in its outlook of relying upon the power of prayer to build the new school gymnasium - much the same as Lillies of the Field is in building their new church. The humour throughout this film is great... I couldn't help but laugh at the quip when they ask how Luther managed to get into the school, though that was topped by the kitten in the hat scene, and Sister Mary Benedict's boxing instruction. There is also a good platonic chemistry between the two leads - as played by Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. A few more updated films of this nature would go a long way in helping to rejuvenate the church.