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Going My Way
Alternate Title: The Padre
Director: Leo McCarey (Dir)
Release Date:   1944
Premiere Information:   "The Fighting Front" premiere: 27 Apr 1944; New York premiere: 3 May 1944
Production Date:   16 Aug--22 Oct 1943
Duration (in mins):   126-127
Duration (in feet):   11,761
Duration (in reels):   14
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Cast:   Bing Crosby (Father Charles Francis Patrick O'Malley)  
    Barry Fitzgerald (Father Fitzgibbon)  
    Frank McHugh (Father Timothy O'Dowd)  
    James Brown (Ted Haines, Jr.)  
    Gene Lockhart (Ted Haines, Sr.)  
    Jean Heather (Carol James)  
    Porter Hall (Mr. Belknap)  
    Fortunio Bonanova (Tomaso Bozanni)  
    Eily Malyon (Mrs. Carmody)  
  and Robert Mitchell Boychoir    
    Risë Stevens (Genevieve Linden)  
    George Nokes (Pee-Wee Belknap)  
    Tom P. Dillon (Officer Patrick McCarthy)  
    Stanley Clements (Tony Scaponi)  
    Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (Herman Langerhanke)  
    Bill Henry (Intern)  
    Hugh Maguire (Pitch pipe)  
    Robert Tafur (Don Jose)  
    Martín Garralaga (Zuniga)  
    Sybyl Lewis (Maid at Metropolitan Opera House)  
    George McKay (Mr. Van Heusen)  
    William Frawley (Max David)  
    Jack Norton (Mr. Lilley)  
    Anita Bolster (Mrs. Hattie Quimp)  
    Jimmie Dundee (Fireman)  
    Julie Gibson (Taxi driver)  
    Adeline deWalt Reynolds (Mrs. Holly Fitzgibbon)  
    Constance Purdy    
    Connie Leon    
    Don Gallaher    
    Cecil Weston    
    Joe Mangum    

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Leo McCarey Production
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Leo McCarey (Dir)
  Alvin Ganzer (Asst dir)
  Howard Joslin (2d asst dir)
  D. Keene (2d asst dir)
Producer: B. G. DeSylva (Exec prod)
Writer: Frank Butler (Scr)
  Frank Cavett (Scr)
  Leo McCarey (Story)
Photography: Lionel Lindon (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  William Flannery (Art dir)
Film Editor: LeRoy Stone (Ed)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dresser supv)
  Steve Seymour (Set dec)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
Music: Robert Emmett Dolan (Mus dir)
  Joseph J. Lilley (Vocal arr)
  Troy Sanders (Mus assoc)
Sound: Gene Merritt (Sd rec)
  John Cope (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Gordon Jennings (Spec photog eff)
Dance: Josephine Earl (Dance dir)
  Danny Dare (Dance dir)
  Al Mann (Dance dir asst)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup artist)
  Leonora Sabine (Hair supv)
Production Misc: Armando Agnini (Opera tech adv)
  Rev. John Devlin (Tech adv)
  E. Ralph (Unit mgr)
  H. Brown (Asst unit mgr)
  Nesta Charles (Scr clerk)
Stand In: Julie Gibson (Double for Risë Stevens)
  John Skins Miller (Double for Bing Crosby)
  Fred Stanley (Double for Frank McHugh)
Country: United States

Songs: "Habanera" and "First act finale" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy; "Going My Way," "The Day After Forever" and "Swinging on a Star," music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke; "Silent Night, Holy Night," music by Franz Gruber, lyrics by Joseph Mohr, English lyrics, anonymous; "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, That's an Irish Lullaby," music and lyrics by J. R. Shannon; "Adeste Fideles (O, Come All Ye Faithful)," music and lyrics by John Francis Wade; "Ave Maria," music by Franz Schubert, lyrics traditional; "Three Blind Mice," traditional.
Composer: Georges Bizet
  Johnny Burke
  Franz Gruber
  Ludovic Halévy
  Henri Meilhac
  Joseph Mohr
  Franz Schubert
  J. R. Shannon
  James Van Heusen
  John Francis Wade

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 25/2/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP13471 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Religious
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Choirs (Music)
  Juvenile delinquents
  Opera singers
Subjects (Minor): Baseball
  Fathers and sons
  Golf and golfers
  Mothers and sons
  New York City
  Publishers and publishing

Note: 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. HR 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. HR 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 27 Apr 1944 premiere to be shown to American troops at battlefronts across Europe. A HR 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 16 Aug 1944 Hollywood premiere donated $10,500 in proceeds to the House of Nazareth orphanage. According to various contemporary news items, by Sep 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" (see above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   4 Mar 1944.   
Daily Variety   28 Feb 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   28 Feb 44   p. 12
Hollywood Reporter   25 May 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jul 43   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jul 43   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Aug 43   p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Aug 43   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Aug 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Aug 43   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Sep 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Sep 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Sep 43   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Oct 43   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Oct 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Oct 43   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Oct 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Feb 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Mar 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Mar 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Apr 44   p. 1, 21
Hollywood Reporter   9 May 44   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Aug 44   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Feb 45   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jul 1950.   
Los Angeles Times   17 Aug 1944.   
Los Angeles Times   16 Jan 1945.   
Motion Picture Herald   2 Sep 44   p. 29.
Motion Picture Herald   6 Jan 1945.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Feb 44   p. 1763.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Feb 44   p. 1773.
New York Times   5 Sep 1943.   
New York Times   3 May 44   p. 25.
New York Times   7 May 44   p. 3 (sec 2.)
Variety   8 Mar 44   p. 14.

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