You’ve passed over the movie over a thousand times. The cover of The Bells of St. Mary’s is the classic black and white, with a picture of Bing Crosby, dressed like a priest, and Ingrid Bergman, dressed like a nun. The cover is so deceiving… it looks like a boring, staid out-dated heavy tome, when in reality, it’s charming, funny, delightful and timeless. Plus, with the weather so horrible, the kids stuck inside, you need something completely different, and delightful, to fill the evening. Here are fifteen reasons why you should pick it up next time — and double your fun by watching it with your kids. (I love the sound of their laughter. Just don’t let them see the cover first — you’ll scare them off.)
- The cat in the hat scene.*
- Father O’Malley (Bing Crosby) absentmindedly hitting the school bell.*
- Watching Ingrid Bergman (Sister Benedict) teach Eddie how to box is pure poetry in motion. There is no actress even comparable to her today on the screen. In fact, she is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute.
- “And to put it in my own words, “To BE or not to BE…” *
- Horace P. Bogardus’s imagination is, eventually, completely overtaken by Sister Benedict’s vision in one glorious moment. *
- Great way to teach your kids that even when it comes to grades, the world is not black and white. A perfect portrayal on why kids might want to think about building relationships with their teachers.
- Father O’Malley, trying to watch Sister Benedict, (trying to coach Eddie during the schoolyard fight, without being seen), while simultaneously watching the school yard fight, without being seen watching it all.* Triple stars for belly laughs ***.
- The children’s nativity play. *
- Father O’Malley finally saying, “Sister Benedict… WAIT!”
- “Mom, after you start watching a black and white movie, you can figure out what all the colors are.” (Spoken by 8-year old.)
- The habit worn by Ingrid Bergman highlights her cheekbones and stunning face. Watching her beauty, even without the laughs, is enough.
- I adore the tender moment when Father O’Malley picks up the “How to Box” book from Sister Benedict’s desk. I simply adore it.
- The song at the end of the children’s nativity play.*
- No swear words, no senseless violence.
- In the end, the dream comes true; a remarkably, happy ending.
Next on my list, by the way is Suspicion… with Cary Grant.
(Key * indicates that belly laughs came from all children, ages 6-14.)