Going My Way
|Going My Way|
Theatrical release poster (with executive producer B. G. DeSylva given prominent credit)
|Directed by||Leo McCarey|
|Produced by||Leo McCarey|
|Story by||Leo McCarey|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$6.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Going My Way is a 1944 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Based on a story by Leo McCarey, the film is about a new young priest taking over a parish from an established old veteran. Crosby sings five songs in the film. Going My Way was followed the next year by a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.
Going My Way was the highest-grossing picture of 1944, and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning 7, including Best Picture. Its success helped to make movie exhibitors choose Crosby as the biggest box-office draw of the year, a record he would hold for the remainder of the 1940s. After World War II, Bing Crosby and Leo McCarey presented a copy of the motion picture to Pope Pius XII at the Vatican.
On his first day at the new parish, O'Malley gets into a series of mishaps; his informal appearance and attitude make a very poor impression with the elder pastor, Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). The very traditional Fitzgibbon is further put off by O’Malley’s recreational habits – particularly his golf-playing – and his friendship with the even more casual Father Timmy O’Dowd (Frank McHugh). In a discussion between O'Malley and O'Dowd without Fitzgibbon present, it is revealed that O’Malley was sent by the bishop to take charge of the affairs of the parish, but that Fitzgibbon is to remain as pastor. To spare Fitzgibbon’s feelings, the older pastor is kept unaware of this arrangement and believes that O’Malley is simply his assistant.
A series of events in the first half of the movie highlight the differences between O’Malley and Fitzgibbon’s styles, as they deal with events like a parishioner being evicted and a young woman named Carol James (Jean Heather) coming to the church having run away from home. The most consequential difference of opinion between O’Malley and Fitzgibbon arises in their handling of the youth of the church, many of whom are consistently getting into trouble with the law in a gang led by Tony Scaponi (Stanley Clements). Fitzgibbon is inclined to look the other way, siding with the boys because of their frequent church attendance. O’Malley instead seeks to make inroads into the boys’ lives, befriending Scaponi and eventually using this connection to convince the boys, against some initial reluctance, to become a church choir.
The noise of the practising choir annoys Fitzgibbon, who finally decides to go to the bishop and ask for O’Malley to be transferred away. In the course of the conversation, Fitzgibbon infers the bishop’s intention to put O’Malley in charge of the parish. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, instead of making his initial request, Fitzgibbon asks the bishop to put O’Malley in charge, and then, resigned to his fate of losing control over the church, he informs O’Malley of his new role.
Distressed, Fitzgibbon then runs away from the parish, leading to a search. He returns late at night, and as O’Malley puts the older priest to bed, the two begin to bond, discussing Fitzgibbon’s long-put-off desire to go to Ireland and see his mother, whom he's not seen in 45 years, since he left Ireland as a young priest to come to America, and who is now over 90. O’Malley puts Fitzgibbon to sleep with an Irish lullaby, “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral”.
We now meet Jenny Tuffel (now Genevieve Linden) (Risë Stevens), an old girlfriend of O'Malley's whom he left in order to join the priesthood, but who has since risen to a highly successful acting and singing career. O'Malley and Jenny discuss their past, and he then watches from the side of the stage as she performs a number for her starring role as Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera.
O'Malley next pays a visit to Carol, who is now suspected of living in sin with Ted Haines Jr. (James Brown), the son of the church's mortgage-holder, Ted Haines Sr. (Gene Lockhart). On this visit, O’Malley describes to the young couple his calling in life to “go his way”, which to him means to follow after the joyous side of religion and lead others to do the same. He performs for them the song “Going My Way”, which he wrote on this theme.
The elements of the story now begin to come together. Jenny visits O’Malley at the church, sees the boys’ choir, and reads the sheet music of “Going My Way”. She, O'Malley, and Father O’Dowd devise a plan to rent out the Metropolitan, perform “Going My Way” with the choir and a full orchestra, and sell the rights to the song, thereby saving the church from its financial woes. The plan fails, as the music executive brought on to listen to the song does not believe that it will sell. As the executive (William Frawley) is leaving, the choir decides to make the most of its opportunity on the grand stage, and sings another song, "Swinging on a Star". The executive overhears the song and decides to buy it, providing enough money to pay off the church mortgage.
With the church affairs in order, O’Malley and Fitzgibbon begin to bond more closely, and even go out on the golf course together. Just as everything seems to have fallen into place, though, the parish church is damaged in a massive fire. At about the same time, O'Malley prepares to move on to a new assignment from the bishop. He leaves O’Dowd as Fitzgibbon’s new assistant, and puts Tony Scaponi in charge of the choir. On Christmas Eve the people gather in a temporary church, in a service that also serves as O'Malley's farewell. As a going away present to Fitzgibbon, O’Malley flies Fitzgibbon’s mother in from Ireland. As mother and son embrace for the first time in forty-five years, the choir sings “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral”; Father O’Malley quietly slips away.
- Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O'Malley
- Barry Fitzgerald as Father Fitzgibbon
- Frank McHugh as Father Timothy O'Dowd
- James Brown as Ted Haines, Jr.
- Gene Lockhart as Ted Haines, Sr.
- Risë Stevens as Genevieve Linden
- Jean Heather as Carol James/Haines
- Porter Hall as Mr. Belknap
- Fortunio Bonanova as Tomaso Bozanni
- Eily Malyon as Mrs. Carmody
- Stanley Clements as Tony Scaponi
- William Frawley as Max Dolan
- Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as Herman Langer
- Adeline De Walt Reynolds as Father Fitzgibbon's mother, Mrs. Molly Fitzgibbon (uncreditied)
Filming locations included the following:
- Lakeside Country Club, 4500 W. Lakeside Drive, Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California (golf sequences)
- Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (studio)
- St. Monica Catholic Church, Santa Monica, California (St. Dominic's)
- Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California (parking lot)
According to The New York Times, Going My Way was "the best" of Crosby's career, which is "saying a lot for a performer who has been one of the steadiest joys of the screen. But, in this Leo McCarey film,...he has definitely found his sturdiest role to date."  NYT's critic Bosley Crowther criticized the film's length while lauding Crosby, and noting that "he has been stunningly supported by Barry Fitzgerald, who plays one of the warmest characters the screen has ever known. As a matter of fact, it is a cruel slight to suggest that this is Mr. Crosby's show. It is his and Mr. Fitzgerald's together. And they make it one of the rare delights of the year."
At the 17th Academy Awards, Going My Way was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including two for Barry Fitzgerald, whose work on the film was nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. (Subsequently, the rules were changed to prevent a reoccurrence.) It won seven, including Best Picture.
|Best Picture||Won||Paramount Pictures (Leo McCarey, producer)|
|Best Director||Won||Leo McCarey|
|Best Actor||Won||Bing Crosby|
|Best Actor||Nominated||Barry Fitzgerald|
|Best Supporting Actor||Won||Barry Fitzgerald|
|Best Writing, Screenplay||Won||Frank Butler and Frank Cavett|
|Best Original Motion Picture Story||Won||Leo McCarey|
|Best Music, Song||Won||"Swinging on a Star"
Music: James Van Heusen • Lyrics:Johnny Burke
|Best Cinematography, Black-and-White||Nominated||Lionel Lindon
Winner was Joseph LaShelle – Laura
|Best Film Editing||Nominated||Leroy Stone
Winner was Barbara McLean – Wilson
Going My Way was adapted as a radio play for the January 8, 1945, broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald and Paul Lukas. It was also adapted for the May 3, 1954, broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Barry Fitzgerald.
- "All Time Domestic Champs", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
- "Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- "Awards for Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 1, side B.
- "Full cast and crew for Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- Adeline De Walt Reynolds, Internet Movie Database, retrieved March 17, 2013
- "Locations for Going My Way". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- Crowther, Bosley (May 3, 1944). "Comedy-Drama With Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- Mike D'Angelo (2014-04-01). "In 1982, everyone agreed on Jessica Lange (but not for the big prize)". Dissolve. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Going My Way at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Going My Way at the Internet Movie Database
- Going My Way at AllMovie
- Going My Way at the TCM Movie Database
- Going My Way at Rotten Tomatoes