The Bells of St. Mary's

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DarkImbecile
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The Bells of St. Mary's

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:56 am

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After triumphing at the Academy Awards® (including wins for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor) with the 1944 box office smash Going My Way, director Leo McCarey (Duck Soup) and star Bing Crosby immediately collaborated on the equally successful follow-up, The Bells of St Mary’s, presented here in a heavenly 4K restoration.

Father “Chuck” O’Malley (Crosby) is dispatched to fix up an inner-city parochial school on its last legs, and his easygoing, unconventional demeanour instantly clashes with that of the firm, no-nonsense Sister Superior Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman, fresh off winning the Best Actress Oscar® for Gaslight), who is keeping the school open through sheer will and faith alone. Over the course of the school year, the pair bicker and ultimately bond over their differing visions on how to save the school – and the role a miserly businessman (Henry Travers, It’s A Wonderful Life) who wants the building condemned might play in doing so.

An instant crowdpleaser on its release, The Bells of St Mary’s remains just as affecting today, thanks to McCarey’s directorial light touch, Crosby’s laidback charisma and iconic singing voice, and Bergman’s radiant charm, all of which earned them well-deserved Oscar® nominations.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
  • 4K restoration of the film from Paramount
  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Up to His Neck in Nuns, an all-new visual essay by David Cairns
  • Analysing O’Malley, a newly filmed appreciation by chaplain and film academic Revd Dr Steve Nolan
  • You Can Change The World, a 30-minute promotional film for "The Christophers" from 1949 directed by McCarey and featuring appearances from Crosby, Bob Hope, Irene Dunne, William Holden and Jack Benny, presented in high definition
  • Two Screen Guild Theater radio adaptations starring Crosby and Bergman, plus an additional radio featurette
  • Re-release theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated booklet containing new writing on the film by Ronald Bergen

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reaky
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Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#2 Post by reaky » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:09 am

The only pleasure to be had from this is Crosby’s tale of the prank that he and Ingrid Bergman played on the Catholic priest who was supervising the production. When performing the farewell scene, Crosby scandalised the priest by taking Bergman in a passionate clinch and giving her a deep lingering kiss.

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#3 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:01 pm

My thoughts on the included extra, You Can Change the World, from a few years back
domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:07 pm
Came across a surprising inclusion while plowing my way through Fantoma's second Educational Archives set: You Can Change the World, a propaganda piece directed by McCarey in the same year as My Son John and featuring an all-star cast. The flimsy premise here is Jack Benny has invited William Holden, Ann Blyth, Loretta Young, Irene Dunne, and Paul Douglas (who is given the most lines to the point that you'd think he was the biggest star included) to hear Father James Keller implore the actors to make a film extolling the virtues of the Catholic civic group the Christophers, which hoped to ferret out the "one percent" of Communist element negatively impacting American society. The film has almost zero entertainment value and I presume the stars included agreed to be there for personal religious reasons above even political ones, but it could be of some interest to fans of McCarey or My Son John. If you want it on disc it's available on Vol 5 of the Education Archives, Patriotism, but it's also been uploaded to YouTube in a shorter form here

Also, while searching about the film, I found this lengthy academic article from the Journal of Religion and Film exploring McCarey's Catholicism through his films titled "the Sins of Leo McCarey," which is available for download here
As for the feature, well, it made the roster of my personal top 10 worst films ever nominated for Best Picture. Here are my brief thoughts from the roundup there
domino harvey wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:42 pm
the Bells of St. Mary's God help me, I actually had high hopes for this one. After all, there was nowhere to go but up from the first one, right? But you know, I forgot about lateral movement. Another stunningly awful feel-good film that makes no one feel good. That the film opens with that seemingly endless scene with the cat says a lot about frontloading. By the time the film ends with Crosby's brave decision to be egotistical and ignore the advice of the doctor just so someone will like him more, well, it's truly proved itself to be a film worthy of its predecessor.

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Drucker
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Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#4 Post by Drucker » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:48 pm

I bought the Olive edition a few years ago, excited mainly because I had just gone thru some other McCareys and enjoyed them. I believed that Domino write-up is why I still haven't actually opened it.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#5 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:11 pm

Not a fan of this (or Going My Way). No plan to ever re-watch either of these....

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Ribs
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Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#6 Post by Ribs » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:25 am

Genuinely curious: why would you release this but not Going My Way? Anyone have any idea?

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domino harvey
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Re: The Bells of St. Mary's

#7 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:33 am

That's with Universal, so different rights holder even though both were Paramount studio productions. Shout will be releasing it in the states, though, for those who want that sort of thing

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