May 10, 2015

Bing Crosby, Going My Way

as FATHER CHUCK O'MALLEY
 photo Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 3.40.52 PM.jpg
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor

The Role: as the young incoming priest to St. Dominic's Church whose happy-go-lucky nature proves to be too modern and unconventional for the parish, this was the role that helped make Bing Crosby one of the most popular movie stars of his time. The movie as we know was a massive hit that year, and the performance was dubbed by the New York Times as one of "the best" and "sturdiest" of Crosby's career, two terms I find to be rather sensational.

 photo Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 4.15.52 PM.jpg photo Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 2.48.40 PM.jpgI won't lie, I didn't hate Crosby's performance whatsoever, even if I really, really wanted to) In fact, I found him to be really charming. He has likability oozing out of him (and I can't find myself thinking otherwise despite him being an alleged child abuser) and his musical talents only help to make it a more enjoyable performance even if I hated Going My Way. (Note: I really loved his Swinging on a Star number more than I should). And while I am not well-versed enough with Crosby's filmography to confirm this as one of his best, I will say that "sturdiest" is a farfetched compliment, because as fluffy and harmless and sweet as Crosby may be here, "sturdy" evokes, at least in my mind, the idea that one is strong, thorough, and multifaceted in one's work, none of which I can affiliate with this performance. Likable as it may be, it unfortunately has no dimension to it. Like with many performances that have been nominated before it, I feel that this is too simple and basic a performance to legitimately deem as one of the best of the year. Father O'Malley doesn't have much to him outside of doing-good to those around him and in turn bringing on some joy for the viewers...but that's really about all there is to it. At face value, it's a wholly passable performance; I'm neither all that for it nor am I against it. The New York Times also noted that Crosby had been "one of the steadiest joys on the screen". That praise I can accept! Ultimately this is a performance that gets the job done, but this isn't groundbreaking by any means.

2 comments:

  1. I was quite unimpressed by his performance in the sequel.

    Now I'm curious to know what are your thoughts on Fitzgerald double nomination.

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  2. It's been a while for either, but I think I'd have more fun watching 1933's Going Hollywood having since read that Crosby and Marion Davies were typically shitfaced while making it. And it doesn't come with the religious larding.

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