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Going My Way

Going My Way(1944)

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The working title of this film was The Padre. Ris Stevens' opening credit bills her as the "Famous Contralto of Metropolitan Opera Association." As Paramount officials were unable to get European copyright clearance for Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, they shot an additional sequence from Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride, which replaced the Carmen sequence in foreign release. Hollywood Reporter news items noted the following information about the production: Susan Hayward and Betty Rhodes were considered for roles in this film; Armando Agnini, the stage and technical director of the San Francisco Opera, supervised the staging, and used sets from the S.F. Opera's production of Carmen for this film. The opera sequences were shot at the Shrine Auditorium, and the golf sequence was shot on location at the Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles, CA. Hollywood Reporter news items also reported that footage of the St. Louis Planter's Hotel and Duffy's restaurant was retained for possible use in the film, and that director McCarey shot eighty-four-year-old Apache Joe Mangum as "Geronimo" for a scene at the St. Louis World Fair. Although no scenes of St. Louis landmarks appear in the film, it is possible that McCarey planned a St. Louis sequence, as it was "Father O'Malley's" hometown. News items also noted that composers Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen were working on a two-act operetta, and that a scene was planned between "street gamin and priest" in a New York hospital to introduce penicillin, the uses of which had only recently been discovered. Neither the operetta nor the hospital scene appear in the film.
       Paramount arranged for the film's April 27, 1944 premiere to be shown to American troops at battlefronts across Europe. A Hollywood Reporter article noted that "arrangement for the simultaneous world-wide showing to the troops in combat areas was made by the Army Pictorial Service," and that the film was shown "from Alaska to Italy, and from England to the jungles of Burma...." All in all, sixty-five prints were distributed for "The Fighting Front" premiere. A August 16, 1944 Hollywood premiere donated $10,500 in proceeds to the House of Nazareth orphanage. According to various contemporary news items, by September 1944, Going My Way had earned over $7,000,000 in gross revenue, with a total of $10,000,000 in foreign, thereby becoming Paramount's largest grossing film to date. New York Film Critics and the FDYB voted this the best film of the year. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Cinematography, Lionel Lindon, and Film Editing, LeRoy Stone. Going My Way won Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture; Actor, Bing Crosby; Supporting Actor, Barry Fitzgerald; Direction, Leo McCarey; Writing (original story), Leo McCarey; Writing (screenplay), Frank Butler, Frank Cavett; Music (song), James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke for "Swinging on a Star." In 1945, RKO released The Bells of St. Mary's, in which Bing Crosby reprised his role as "Father O'Malley".