The Bells of St. Mary's

Screening on Film
Directed by Leo McCarey.
With Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers.
US, 1945, 35mm, black & white, 127 min.

Given the success of Going My Way, a sequel was inevitable. Like its predecessor, it begins with Bing Crosby's Father O'Malley coming to a troubled institution to revitalize it. In this case, the institution is an inner-city parochial school run by Sister Benedict (Bergman). The Bells of St. Mary's is one of those few sequels that is today seen as superior to the original. For one thing, Ingrid Bergman makes a strong impression as Sister Benedict, a tough but loving nun who gives the neighborhood boys boxing lessons. This tale of a priest and a nun falling in love provides one of the best examples of McCarey's many transgressive couples. "McCarey's invisible hand, nudging the narrative more than directing it, turns looming cliches into the most refined, elusive feeling." – Dave Kehr

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