Believe it or nor I have never watched this movie before. That is incredible given the fact that I love old movies. The Bell’s of Saint Mary is one of the BEST movies I have ever had the pleasure of watching. It is incredibly moving and I wanted to watch it again right afterwards.
The Bell’s of Saint Mary’s stars Ingrid Bergman as Sister Superior Mary Benedict and Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O’Malley. The movie was originally released on December 6, 1945 and made $21,333,333. at the box office.
Ingrid Bergman gave an outstanding performance at Sister Mary Benedict. Bergman did earn a Best Actress nomination for her role in this film. To me Bergman looked a bit too young to be a Sister Superior but I was able to overlook that.
Bing Crosby was perfect as Father O’Malley. The character is funny and quite unconventional. Father O’Malley is assigned to Saint Mary’s Parish to decide whether or not the old school building should be closed down and the children sent to a newer school facility. The nuns have faith that God will provide beat for them.
Right next door to the old run down school a brand new building is erected by businessman Horace P. Bogardus. The new building is just what Saint Mary’s Parish needs as a new school for the children. They would rather not send the children away. Sister Mary Benedict prays to God for Mr. Bogardus to give the new building to the Parish free of charge for the children. Mr. Bogardus is not a nice man though. He does not like children and is not a generous man. Most people do not like Mr. Bogardus because he is generally mean and cheap. Sister Mary Benedict has faith that all will be well.
Mr. Horace P. Bogardus is played by Henry Travers.
At first Father O’Malley believes that demolishing the old school and sending the children to another one is best. However, as he gets to know the nuns and witnesses their faith and love for the children he begins to see their way of things.
There are other sub-plots within this film that adds to the warmth of it. Father O’Malley accepts into Saint Mary’s Parish the daughter of a woman whose husband left her 13 years ago. Patricia, the woman’s daughter has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but Father O’Malley likes her and goes out of his way to help her.
During the film you see Patricia come into her own.
Sister Mary Benedict also does all she can to help Patricia.
Sister Mary Benedict does not believe in fighting, however, to help out a student who is being bullied, Mary Benedict on how to box and teaches the young student how to defend himself in the privacy of her office. When the bully strikes again in the school yard Mary Benedict’s boxing protegé is prepared.
The youngest children in the school are rehearsing for a Christmas pageant they are putting on. It is so funny, warm and cute and one of the best parts of this movie for me. The innocence of children is truly amazing.
Father O’Malley and Sister Mary Benedict watch the children rehearse.
Sister Mary Benedict has fainting spells from time to time.
After a series of events Mr. Bogardus begins to see the Light. He wants to change and give back to humanity in some way. He is tired of being disliked and begins to see the beauty in the world. Mr. Bogardus even goes into the church to pray. Before too long Mr. Bogardus gives the new building to Saint Mary’s Parish for the children.
While Sister Mary Benedict is getting the new building ready for the school she receives some news from Father O’Malley that really tests her faith. I cried during the scene in the chapel when Sister Benedict prays to Jesus to help her. This scene was perfect. You could see Mary Benedict trying to find the right words to speak and then when the tears start rolling down her eyes just at the right moment it is your undoing.
I cried some more at the end of this movie. I was so glad that Father O’Malley decided to explain to Sister Mary Benedict why she was being sent away. At least now she knew that it was not just some cruel and heartless twist of fate.
The Bells of Saint Mary’s is the 50th highest grossing film of all time. (Allowing adjustments for inflation).
This is the 8th film in my Period Drama Challenge.