Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Bells of St. Mary's

Pyhän Maarian kellot / Klockorna i St. Mary. US 1945 © Rainbow Productions, Inc. P+D: Leo McCarey. SC: Dudley Nichols – from a story by Leo McCarey. DP: George Barnes. COST: Edith Head. M: Robert Emmett Dolan. Songs: "The Bells Of St. Mary's" (Douglas Furber, A. Emmett Adams); "Aren't You Glad You're You?" (Johnny Burke, James Van Heusen); "In The Land Of Beginning Again" (George W. Meyer, Grant Clarke); "Varvindar friska"; "Adeste fideles (O, Come All Ye Faithful)" (John Francis Wade); "O sanctissima" (trad. virsi). CAST: Bing Crosby (Father O'Malley), Ingrid Bergman (Sister Mary Benedict), Henry Travers (Horace P. Bogardus), William Gargan (Joe Gallagher), Ruth Donnelly (Sister Michael), Joan Carroll (Patsy Gallagher), Martha Sleeper (Mrs. Gallagher), Rhys Williams (Dr. McKay), Dickie Tyler (Eddie), Una O'Connor (Mrs. Breen). 125 min. A UCLA print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 15 April 2009. - This is a much screened print of a restored version apparently based on partly challenging materials. Mostly the definition of light is beautiful. - A masterpiece revisited. - I am not a religious person, but as years go by, my respect and admiration for religious work keeps growing. - There are several profound ideas in this film produced during WWII. - There is a fight among the schoolchildren in the yard. Bing Crosby defends the boy who wins: "On the outside it's a man's world". Ingrid Bergman: "How are they doing?". - "I turned the other cheek. Then he really let me have it". - The funniest scene is the "boxing nun" scene; it's also very thought-provoking. It brings to mind that Leo McCarey was the co-creator of the Laurel and Hardy "tit for tat" concept. - The story of the troubled millionaire who finally donates the schoolhouse to the nuns. The message of the film is that doing good for others is good for your heart, even literally. - It is the story of the joy of giving, when every day is Christmas. - If we don't fail sometimes our successes don't mean anything. - You don't become a nun to run away from something but because you've found something. - The final prayer: remove all bitterness from my heart. - The final, breathtaking scene: "You have a touch of TB". "Thank you... you have made me very happy". The misunderstanding of Ingrid Bergman's transfer is cleared (it is to save her). - The beautiful close-ups of the protagonists who have sworn abstinence. - The film is humoristic, but there is also a sense of hidden profound sadness and disappointment which the protagonists fight to overcome.

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