Going My Way


2h 10m 1944
Going My Way

Brief Synopsis

A young priest revitalizes a failing parish and brings new life to the elder priest.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Padre
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Religion
Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
"The Fighting Front" premiere: 27 Apr 1944; New York premiere: 3 May 1944
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Shrine Auditorium, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,761ft (14 reels)

Synopsis

In New York City, mortgage broker Ted Haines, Sr. reluctantly tells elderly Irish priest Father Fitzgibbon that if the overdue payment on St. Dominic's church is not soon received, he will call in the mortgage. Haines's son Ted, Jr. urges leniency, but his father is adamant. Father Charles Francis Patrick O'Malley arrives in St. Dominic's neighborhood and makes a bad impression on a few neighbors because of his easy-going and unconventional manner. By the time Father O'Malley introduces himself to Father Fitzgibbon as his new curate, he has donned a sweatshirt and casual pants, and immediately puts the very traditional Fitzgibbon on his guard. The next day, O'Malley is visited by his childhood friend, Father Timothy O'Dowd, a jocular priest from the neighboring parish. Only O'Dowd is aware that O'Malley has been sent to take over the pastorship of St. Dominic's, which, in addition to being in financial trouble, is in a troubled neighborhood. When Ted, Jr. tries to evict Hattie Quimp, who initially found O'Malley to be a nuisance, O'Malley intercedes and promises that the church will guarantee her rent. As he is walking back to St. Dominic's, O'Malley sees teenagers Tony Scaponi and Herman Langerhanke stealing turkeys from a truck. The boys escape into the church garden where they encounter Fitzgibbon, to whom they give one of their stolen turkeys as a gift. That night over their turkey dinner, O'Malley suggests that the boys are delinquents, and Fitzgibbon defends the boys until he learns of their theft. Instead of punishing the boys, however, O'Malley takes them to a baseball game. One day, Officer Patrick McCarthy brings eighteen-year-old runaway Carol James to see O'Malley. O'Malley, who had had his own band and composed music before entering the priesthood, coaches Carol on her singing, but when she rejects his offer of a housekeeping job at the church, he urges her to return home. Knowing she will not take his advice, O'Malley loans Carol ten dollars. After earning the trust of the boys's gang, O'Malley convinces them to train as a choir. When sounds of the boys rehearsing "Three Blind Mice" rise into the church from the cellar, Fitzgibbon loses his patience with O'Malley's unconventional methods and goes to see the bishop to ask for O'Malley's transfer. Fitzgibbon returns deflated, as he has learned that the bishop sent O'Malley there to take over for him. Distraught by his apparent retirement, Fitzgibbon runs away, but O'Malley puts McCarthy on the alert, and he returns late that evening with a storm-bedraggled Fitzgibbon, who is then coddled by O'Malley and the housekeeper, Mrs. Carmody. The two priests share a sip of whiskey, and Fitzgibbon confides his longing to see his ninety-year-old mother, who still lives in Ireland, after which O'Malley soothes him with an Irish lullaby. Not long after, O'Malley encounters another childhood friend, Metropolitan Opera star Genevieve Linden, who is surprised that her old flame "Chuck" has become a priest. When Mrs. Quimp informs Fitzgibbon that Carol has taken an apartment across from hers and is receiving visits from Ted, Jr., O'Malley is sent to "handle" the situation. O'Malley learns that Ted, Jr. and Carol met on the street and fell in love immediately, and that Ted, Jr. has let her live in a vacant apartment without his father's knowledge. Some time later, Jenny and O'Dowd visit St. Dominic's and make an appreciative audience when O'Malley rehearses the boys choir. O'Dowd reports that he has shopped around for publishers for O'Malley's original song, "Going My Way," but that publishers rejected the "schmaltzy" song. When Ted, Sr. comes to the apartment to discover why his son quit his job and has disappeared for two weeks, he discovers that Ted and Carol have married. The newlyweds are blissfully happy despite Ted, Sr.'s ire, but his anger soon dissipates when Ted, Jr. dons an Army Air Force uniform, and, after bidding Carol a loving farewell, reports for service. O'Dowd, meanwhile, lures his friend, Max David, a music publisher, and Max's partners, to the Metropolitan Opera House, where Jenny has arranged for the orchestra and St. Dominic's boys choir to back her as she sings a classical arrangement of "Going My Way." The publishers gently reject the song as too highbrow, but are delighted by O'Malley's more upbeat song, "Swinging on a Star." Instead of paying O'Malley directly for the song, Max and his partners surreptitiously deposit a huge payment in the collection box during Fitzgibbon's Sunday sermon at O'Malley's suggestion. Fitzgibbon is elated by the generous donations of his parishioners, which is enough to make the mortgage payments, and he even accompanies O'Malley and O'Dowd when they play golf. Fitzgibbon's happiness comes to an abrupt end, however, when the church burns down. The elderly priest loses all hope and falls ill after he collects only thirty-five dollars from a neighborhood collection. O'Malley then tells Fitzgibbon that Ted, Jr. has had a minor jeep accident and will be returning home, and really lifts the pastor's spirits when he tells him that Jenny, who has taken the boys choir with her on a concert tour, has sent a $3,500 check from the proceeds. Construction soon begins on the new church, and O'Malley informs Fitzgibbon that he has been transferred to another church for the same type of assignment. Fitzgibbon, now fond of O'Malley, is sad to see him go and is chagrined when O'Dowd becomes his new curate. As Fitzgibbon praises O'Malley to his parishioners and informs them of his departure, Jenny brings in Fitzgibbon's elderly mother by arrangement with O'Malley. Fitzgibbon tearfully embraces his mother for the first time in forty-five years, and O'Malley walks away into the night.

Photo Collections

Going My Way - Academy Archives
Here are archive images from Going My Way (1944), courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
The Padre
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Religion
Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
"The Fighting Front" premiere: 27 Apr 1944; New York premiere: 3 May 1944
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Shrine Auditorium, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,761ft (14 reels)

Award Wins

Best Actor

1944
Bing Crosby

Best Director

1944
Leo Mccarey

Best Original Story

1944
Leo Mccarey

Best Picture

1944

Best Screenplay

1944

Best Song

1944

Best Supporting Actor

1944
Barry Fitzgerald

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1944

Best Editing

1944
Leroy Stone

Articles

Going My Way


Bing Crosby reached the peak of his movie career with Going My Way (1944), which brought him a Best Actor Academy Award and made him Hollywood's No. 1 box office attraction. Ironically, the role of Father Chuck O'Malley was one Crosby initially resisted as a devout Catholic who felt uneasy taking on the role of a priest. The movie, which became the box-office sensation of its year, also won Oscars for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Barry Fitzgerald), Original Story and Direction (Leo McCarey), Screenplay and Song ("Swinging on a Star," by James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke), with further nominations for Best Cinematography and Editing. In a unique occurrence, Fitzgerald also was nominated as Best Actor for the same performance that brought him the supporting award.

Crosby's priest is newly arrived at St. Dominic's, a church that is heavily in debt and under the control of crusty, old-fashioned Father Fitzgibbon (Fitzgerald), who disapproves at first of the newcomer's breezy style. But Father O'Malley eventually proves himself a winner, performing all kinds of life-saving deeds including organizing the local street toughs into an angelic choir and arranging a fund-raising tour for them that foils a mortgage holder's plans for foreclosure.

Going My Way also provides Crosby with the opportunity to croon "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral," "The Day After Forever," "Silent Night," the title tune and, with costar Rise Stevens, "Ave Maria." He would reprise the role of Father O'Malley in a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), which proved equally successful and won him another Oscar nomination.

On March 15, 1945, the day of the Oscar ceremonies when Going My Way was correctly predicted to sweep the major awards, Crosby was on the golf course. Casually dressed and without his toupee, he had no plans to attend the festivities and was tracked down only a couple of hours before they were to begin. Only a telephone call from his mother, who threatened he'd never hear the end of it from her if he refused to go, persuaded Crosby to attend. Quickly putting on a suit, but forgetting his hairpiece, he hurried to Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

When Crosby came to the podium to receive his award from Gary Cooper, he said, "Oh, my heavens," prompting Cooper to respond, "That's the best word I can think of at the moment for Going My Way." Crosby then added, "I couldn't be more surprised if I won the Kentucky Derby." As he completed his acceptance speech, his good friend and frequent costar Bob Hope, who was emceeing the event, slipped onstage and began making faces behind Crosby's back. Audience laughter continued after Crosby made his exit and Hope cracked that this Oscar win was like hearing that Samuel Goldwyn (the producer known for fracturing the English language) was lecturing at Oxford.

Producer/Director: Leo McCarey
Screenplay: Frank Butler, Frank Cavett, Leo McCarey (story)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, William Flannery
Cinematography: Lionel Lindon
Costume Design: Edith Head
Editing: LeRoy Stone
Original Music: Robert Emmett Dolan, Jimmy Van Heusen
Cast: Bing Crosby (Father Chuck O'Malley), Barry Fitzgerald (Father Fitzgibbon), Rise Stevens (Genevieve Linden), Frank McHugh (Father Timothy O'Dowd), Gene Lockhart (Ted Haines, Sr.), William Frawley (Max).
BW-127m. Closed Captioning.

by Roger Fristoe

Going My Way

Going My Way

Bing Crosby reached the peak of his movie career with Going My Way (1944), which brought him a Best Actor Academy Award and made him Hollywood's No. 1 box office attraction. Ironically, the role of Father Chuck O'Malley was one Crosby initially resisted as a devout Catholic who felt uneasy taking on the role of a priest. The movie, which became the box-office sensation of its year, also won Oscars for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Barry Fitzgerald), Original Story and Direction (Leo McCarey), Screenplay and Song ("Swinging on a Star," by James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke), with further nominations for Best Cinematography and Editing. In a unique occurrence, Fitzgerald also was nominated as Best Actor for the same performance that brought him the supporting award. Crosby's priest is newly arrived at St. Dominic's, a church that is heavily in debt and under the control of crusty, old-fashioned Father Fitzgibbon (Fitzgerald), who disapproves at first of the newcomer's breezy style. But Father O'Malley eventually proves himself a winner, performing all kinds of life-saving deeds including organizing the local street toughs into an angelic choir and arranging a fund-raising tour for them that foils a mortgage holder's plans for foreclosure. Going My Way also provides Crosby with the opportunity to croon "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral," "The Day After Forever," "Silent Night," the title tune and, with costar Rise Stevens, "Ave Maria." He would reprise the role of Father O'Malley in a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), which proved equally successful and won him another Oscar nomination. On March 15, 1945, the day of the Oscar ceremonies when Going My Way was correctly predicted to sweep the major awards, Crosby was on the golf course. Casually dressed and without his toupee, he had no plans to attend the festivities and was tracked down only a couple of hours before they were to begin. Only a telephone call from his mother, who threatened he'd never hear the end of it from her if he refused to go, persuaded Crosby to attend. Quickly putting on a suit, but forgetting his hairpiece, he hurried to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. When Crosby came to the podium to receive his award from Gary Cooper, he said, "Oh, my heavens," prompting Cooper to respond, "That's the best word I can think of at the moment for Going My Way." Crosby then added, "I couldn't be more surprised if I won the Kentucky Derby." As he completed his acceptance speech, his good friend and frequent costar Bob Hope, who was emceeing the event, slipped onstage and began making faces behind Crosby's back. Audience laughter continued after Crosby made his exit and Hope cracked that this Oscar win was like hearing that Samuel Goldwyn (the producer known for fracturing the English language) was lecturing at Oxford. Producer/Director: Leo McCarey Screenplay: Frank Butler, Frank Cavett, Leo McCarey (story) Art Direction: Hans Dreier, William Flannery Cinematography: Lionel Lindon Costume Design: Edith Head Editing: LeRoy Stone Original Music: Robert Emmett Dolan, Jimmy Van Heusen Cast: Bing Crosby (Father Chuck O'Malley), Barry Fitzgerald (Father Fitzgibbon), Rise Stevens (Genevieve Linden), Frank McHugh (Father Timothy O'Dowd), Gene Lockhart (Ted Haines, Sr.), William Frawley (Max). BW-127m. Closed Captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

A golf course is nothing but a poolroom moved outdoors.
- Father Fitzgibbons

Trivia

The first public showing, on 27 April 1944, was at 65 military locations, "from Alaska to Italy, and from England to the jungles of Burma..." (but mostly in Europe).

The film was actually written after its "sequel" Bells of St. Mary's, The (1945); in order to borrow Bing Crosby from Paramount for that film, RKO had to allow Leo McCarey to write and direct Going My Way, based on the same character. Oddly, however, Going My Way was released first.

Notes

The working title of this film was The Padre. Risë 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".

Miscellaneous Notes

Barry Fitzgerald's performance, which won him an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, marks the only time in Academy history that one performance was nominated in both the leading and supporting actor categories.

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1944

Re-released in United States on Video October 12, 1994

Selected in 2004 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1944

Re-released in United States on Video October 12, 1994