The Bells of St. Mary's is a 1945 American film which tells the story of a priest and a nun at a school who set out, despite their good-natured rivalry, to save the school from being shut down.
The Bells of St. Mary's stars Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. The character of Father O'Malley had been previously portrayed by Crosby in the 1944 film Going My Way, for which Crosby had won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The Bells of St. Mary's was written by Leo McCarey and Dudley Nichols, and directed by McCarey. The film was produced by McCarey's production company, Rainbow Productions. A television adaptation on videotape of The Bells of St. Mary's was shown in 1959, starring Claudette Colbert, Marc Connelly, Glenda Farrell, Nancy Marchand, Barbara Myers, Robert Preston and Charles Ruggles. It was directed by Tom Donovan. The The Bells of St. Mary's has come to be commonly associated with the Christmas season, due most likely to the inclusion of a scene involving a Christmas pageant at the school, and the fact that the film was released in December 1945.
Father Charles "Chuck" O'Malley (Bing Crosby), the unconventional priest from Going My Way, continues his work for the Catholic Church. This time he is assigned to St. Mary's, a run-down New York City inner-city Catholic school on the verge of being condemned. O'Malley feels the school should be closed and the children sent to another school with modern facilities, but the sisters feel that God will provide for them. They put their hopes in Horace P. Bogardus (Henry Travers), a businessman who has built a modern building next door to the school and which they hope he will donate to them. Father O'Malley and the dedicated but stubborn Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman) have to work together to save the school, though their different views and methods often lead to good-natured disagreements. Towards the end, however, Sister Benedict contracts tuberculosis, and is transferred without being told this. She assumes the transfer is because of her disagreements with O'Malley. In the end, O'Malley informs her that she has tuberculosis, and that is the reason she is being sent away. She then leaves willingly and happily.
The Bells Of St. Mary's (1945); Leo McCarey Director; DVD 108-017153147827