Press Release Shout Select Press Release: Going My Way (1944) (Blu-ray)

Robert Crawford

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I'd just eliminate Wilson from that list. I've seen a nitrate 35mm print in lovely Technicolor, and that's all that it's got going for it (well, I guess you could include Knox's and Geraldine Fitzgerald's performances). It's really a dreadfully dull film. Furthermore, this film is hagiography of the worst kind. Even Going My Way is better.
I can't really disagree with you there. The film has its attributes, but also its obvious warts.
 

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I felt that way about Wilson at one time, but I found a lot more of merit to it when I reviewed it in its (dreadful) DVD-R release after not having seen it for decades.
 
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The extras speak of vintage shorts. Does anyone have a list of which?
 

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OK. Here's my mini-review of the release. (Please keep in mind that my knowledge of film and its physical attributes is very limited. So, don't expect too much!)

This is not a full-blown restoration. There is plenty of film debris (the type common in older films). The debris is worse around the tiles & credits and dissolves-to-black which transport us from scene-to-scene. I just commented after watching 1927's Kid Brother (with Harold Lloyd) that the imagery was crisp and clear and looked like it could have been shot this year. That does not apply here. And there is something which I'll call flickering in the imagery--almost the kind of flickering we might have come to expect in old, silent films. And there is no getting around that the image is really soft at times.

But, while noticeable, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. And the visuals are at least consistent throughout. And the audio is crystal clear throughout.

After watching the new Blu, I compared it to my 1999 Universal Cinema Classics DVD (the one which paired Going My Way with Holiday Inn). The Blu is a clear upgrade over the DVD in terms of both video and audio. The Blu's video is much sharper (as we should expect). I find the DVD video to have much of the same issues as the Blu but also with some jitters (again, I apologize for my lack of proper lingo). The DVD video also appears to be much darker with a loss of details in the deep blacks of the priest's cassocks and the dark woodwork of the rectory and in the evening exteriors. None of that appears to be as problematic on the Blu.

I compared one bright scene (where Bing plays piano for Jean Heather's Carol James upon their initial meeting and they each sing The Day After Forever) and found that the Blu might actually be culled from the same transfer as the DVD. If so, the debris is much less noticeable on the Blu than the DVD. But the scratches, etc., seem to show up in the same places.

A side-note. The actress who played Mrs. Quimp looks and acts so much like Margaret Hamilton that they could have been related. I knew it wasn't Margaret Hamilton...but facially and in her manner she really put me to mind of Hamilton.

In response to the earlier discussion about the film's awards success given its formidable competition that year...
Going My Way is filled with so much humanity and heart that, while I haven't seen all those 1944 films mentioned by Matt Hough in his earlier post, it doesn't surprise me that this country (and even the cynical and political MPAAS) in the midst of a great world war would respond to such a good-natured, warm film with so much regard. This film does a lot of things right--mostly, I think, in terms of representing how people should be treated and respected by others. If only such films (with similar messages) were held in high regard in today's own turbulent times.

Meanwhile, I hope one of our own HTF reviewers will get a crack at doing real justice to a review of this release.
 

Robert Crawford

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OK. Here's my mini-review of the release. (Please keep in mind that my knowledge of film and its physical attributes is very limited. So, don't expect too much!)

This is not a full-blown restoration. There is plenty of film debris (the type common in older films). The debris is worse around the tiles & credits and dissolves-to-black which transport us from scene-to-scene. I just commented after watching 1927's Kid Brother (with Harold Lloyd) that the imagery was crisp and clear and looked like it could have been shot this year. That does not apply here. And there is something which I'll call flickering in the imagery--almost the kind of flickering we might have come to expect in old, silent films. And there is no getting around that the image is really soft at times.

But, while noticeable, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. And the visuals are at least consistent throughout. And the audio is crystal clear throughout.

After watching the new Blu, I compared it to my 1999 Universal Cinema Classics DVD (the one which paired Going My Way with Holiday Inn). The Blu is a clear upgrade over the DVD in terms of both video and audio. The Blu's video is much sharper (as we should expect). I find the DVD video to have much of the same issues as the Blu but also with some jitters (again, I apologize for my lack of proper lingo). The DVD video also appears to be much darker with a loss of details in the deep blacks of the priest's cassocks and the dark woodwork of the rectory and in the evening exteriors. None of that appears to be as problematic on the Blu.

I compared one bright scene (where Bing plays piano for Jean Heather's Carol James upon their initial meeting and they each sing The Day After Forever) and found that the Blu might actually be culled from the same transfer as the DVD. If so, the debris is much less noticeable on the Blu than the DVD. But the scratches, etc., seem to show up in the same places.

A side-note. The actress who played Mrs. Quimp looks and acts so much like Margaret Hamilton that they could have been related. I knew it wasn't Margaret Hamilton...but facially and in her manner she really put me to mind of Hamilton.

In response to the earlier discussion about the film's awards success given its formidable competition that year...
Going My Way is filled with so much humanity and heart that, while I haven't seen all those 1944 films mentioned by Matt Hough in his earlier post, it doesn't surprise me that this country (and even the cynical and political MPAAS) in the midst of a great world war would respond to such a good-natured, warm film with so much regard. This film does a lot of things right--mostly, I think, in terms of representing how people should be treated and respected by others. If only such films (with similar messages) were held in high regard in today's own turbulent times.

Meanwhile, I hope one of our own HTF reviewers will get a crack at doing real justice to a review of this release.
Shout never stated this was a restoration at all which means it is derived from an older transfer. It probably is culled from the same elements that produced the DVD.

As to the movie itself compared to those other films released that year, I consider "Going My Way" to be not in the class of a number of movies released that same year. Without a doubt, the Academy went with sentimentality over quality. The Academy has been known to do such a thing on a number of occasions. Don't get me wrong, "Going My Way" is a good film, but it's not a great film which the Best Picture Winner should be in my opinion. Today, I can easily think of ten movies from that same year that are not only better films, but more memorable than "Going My Way", but saying that is not going to change history. It is, what it is.
 
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I haven't seen every last one of those movies (Cover Girl, The Keys of the Kingdom, Kismet, and Wilson), but I've seen all the others and several are among my all-time favorites such as Since You Went Away, The Uninvited, and Gaslight.

I personally never once felt like Going My Way wasn't in the same league as the other top films of 1944. I'm surprised it walked away with such a performance with such strong competition, but at the same time I'm not surprised that it obviously was in contention.

Worth reminding people as well that Bing Crosby was a huge star in 1944/1945 and that his popularity went far past the films that most of us now experience his work in (outside of the month of December when his music routinely returns to America's radio stations for a few weeks). I can't vouch for the accuracy of what I'm about to repeat, but I've read that over half of the music played on American airwaves during the last months of WWII were his.

With America's love for Bing at that point, it may have been what pushed this film so far ahead in the face of such stiff competition at the Academy Awards.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I haven't seen every last one of those movies (Cover Girl, The Keys of the Kingdom, Kismet, and Wilson) , but I've seen all the others and several are among my all-time favorites such as Since You Went Away, The Uninvited, and Gaslight.

I personally never once felt like Going My Way wasn't in the same league as the other top films of 1944. I'm surprised it walked away with such a performance with such strong competition, but at the same time I'm not surprised that it obviously was in contention.

Worth reminding people as well that Bing Crosby was a huge star in 1944/1945 and that his popularity went far past the films that most of us now experience his work in (outside of the month of December when his music routinely returns to America's radio stations for a few weeks). I can't vouch for the accuracy of what I'm about to repeat, but I've read that over half of the music played on American airwaves during the last months of WWII were his.

With America's love for Bing at that point, it may have been what pushed this film so far ahead in the face of such stiff competition at the Academy Awards.
I'm not surprise as the industry has demonstrated far too many times awarding inferior films and performances. IMO, it's a step down for more than a few of those other top films in 1944.
 

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As to the movie itself compared to those other films released that year, I consider "Going My Way" to be not in the class of a number of movies released that same year. Without a doubt, the Academy went with sentimentality over quality. The Academy has been known to do such a thing on a number of occasions. Don't get me wrong, "Going My Way" is a good film, but it's not a great film which the Best Picture Winner should be in my opinion. Today, I can easily think of ten movies from that same year that are not only better films, but more memorable than "Going My Way", but saying that is not going to change history. It is, what it is.
Of the 5 BP noms from 1944, I suspect most think "Double Indemnity" should've won.

The other noms include "Gaslight", "Since You Went Away" and "Wilson".

Never saw "Since" or "Wilson". I guess the latter is a prequel to "Castaway".

Of the 3 I have seen, I can't claim to love any of them. "Way" is pleasant but extremely slight, whereas I think "Indemnity" is brought down by its lead actors.

"Gaslight" is fine but also not really anything I'd think of as BP material..
 

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Of the 5 BP noms from 1944, I suspect most think "Double Indemnity" should've won.

The other noms include "Gaslight", "Since You Went Away" and "Wilson".

Never saw "Since" or "Wilson". I guess the latter is a prequel to "Castaway".

Of the 3 I have seen, I can't claim to love any of them. "Way" is pleasant but extremely slight, whereas I think "Indemnity" is brought down by its lead actors.

"Gaslight" is fine but also not really anything I'd think of as BP material..
Wilson is actually a biopic about Woodrow Wilson, with absolutely no relation to Cast Away.

Of the Best Picture nominees for 44, I’ve yet to see this or Wilson, and it’s been awhile since I last saw Gaslight so I don’t exactly remember if it was really Best Picture worthy. However, if I had to choose what I thought should have won that year with a gun to my head, I would go with Double Indemnity.
 
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I'm sure the Cast Away reference wasn't a serious one. ;)

I'd be far more likely to watch it though if it was about the volleyball named Wilson rather than the president named Wilson. I'll have to watch it one of these days just to see if my suspicions are right about it being dull. I don't have anything in particular against President Wilson, but at the same time I have trouble viewing his life as prime movie material.

I know this thread isn't about Wilson, but does anyone happen to know if it pops up on TCM from time to time? Don't think I've ever noticed it show up on my channel guide.
 
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OK. Here's my mini-review of the release. (Please keep in mind that my knowledge of film and its physical attributes is very limited. So, don't expect too much!)

This is not a full-blown restoration. There is plenty of film debris (the type common in older films). The debris is worse around the tiles & credits and dissolves-to-black which transport us from scene-to-scene. I just commented after watching 1927's Kid Brother (with Harold Lloyd) that the imagery was crisp and clear and looked like it could have been shot this year. That does not apply here. And there is something which I'll call flickering in the imagery--almost the kind of flickering we might have come to expect in old, silent films. And there is no getting around that the image is really soft at times.

But, while noticeable, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. And the visuals are at least consistent throughout. And the audio is crystal clear throughout.

After watching the new Blu, I compared it to my 1999 Universal Cinema Classics DVD (the one which paired Going My Way with Holiday Inn). The Blu is a clear upgrade over the DVD in terms of both video and audio. The Blu's video is much sharper (as we should expect). I find the DVD video to have much of the same issues as the Blu but also with some jitters (again, I apologize for my lack of proper lingo). The DVD video also appears to be much darker with a loss of details in the deep blacks of the priest's cassocks and the dark woodwork of the rectory and in the evening exteriors. None of that appears to be as problematic on the Blu.

I compared one bright scene (where Bing plays piano for Jean Heather's Carol James upon their initial meeting and they each sing The Day After Forever) and found that the Blu might actually be culled from the same transfer as the DVD. If so, the debris is much less noticeable on the Blu than the DVD. But the scratches, etc., seem to show up in the same places.

A side-note. The actress who played Mrs. Quimp looks and acts so much like Margaret Hamilton that they could have been related. I knew it wasn't Margaret Hamilton...but facially and in her manner she really put me to mind of Hamilton.

In response to the earlier discussion about the film's awards success given its formidable competition that year...
Going My Way is filled with so much humanity and heart that, while I haven't seen all those 1944 films mentioned by Matt Hough in his earlier post, it doesn't surprise me that this country (and even the cynical and political MPAAS) in the midst of a great world war would respond to such a good-natured, warm film with so much regard. This film does a lot of things right--mostly, I think, in terms of representing how people should be treated and respected by others. If only such films (with similar messages) were held in high regard in today's own turbulent times.

Meanwhile, I hope one of our own HTF reviewers will get a crack at doing real justice to a review of this release.
Thanks for the review, Mike. It has helped me to be more frugal. Since I already picked up GMW in HD on iTunes a while back, knowing that the Shout Factory disc isn’t restored has made me content with what I have. It doesn’t make sense to throw away money on a double-dip when you are not getting Warner Archive-style perfection. There’s always a chance Universal will do some work on the title in the future and that my digital purchase might benefit from that.
 
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Mark Steyn begins his 9/15 blog post ('Swingin' on a Star' - Steyn's Song of the Week #349) this way---

"Three quarters of a century ago - September 1944 - this week's song was in the midst of a nine-week run at Number One on the Billboard pop chart. It's stuck around through all the decades since - which is unusual because it's not a timeless love ballad, but rather a cautionary tale for slacker schoolkids set among the grubbier habitués of the barnyard. It was introduced earlier that year in the film Going My Way, in which Bing Crosby played an unconventional Catholic priest and Barry Fitzgerald tagged along heavy on the blarney. The movie was a smash, cementing Bing as the Number One box-office star and cleaning up at the Oscars with a haul that included Best Picture and, for its leading man, Best Actor."
 
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I’ve seen all five nominees from that year and ALL 550+.

Of those five, WILSON is my least favourite, even though the history of the presidents is fascinating to me.

GASLIGHT is a great drama, and DOUBLE INDEMNITY is a great thriller. SINCE YOU was, to me, boring.

My vote would have been for INDEMNITY.

GOING MY WAY was sentimental, and fun, if not as memorable as some
Other 1944 films listed.
 
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Richard M S

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OK. Here's my mini-review of the release. (Please keep in mind that my knowledge of film and its physical attributes is very limited. So, don't expect too much!)

This is not a full-blown restoration. There is plenty of film debris (the type common in older films). The debris is worse around the tiles & credits and dissolves-to-black which transport us from scene-to-scene. I just commented after watching 1927's Kid Brother (with Harold Lloyd) that the imagery was crisp and clear and looked like it could have been shot this year. That does not apply here. And there is something which I'll call flickering in the imagery--almost the kind of flickering we might have come to expect in old, silent films. And there is no getting around that the image is really soft at times.

But, while noticeable, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. And the visuals are at least consistent throughout. And the audio is crystal clear throughout.

After watching the new Blu, I compared it to my 1999 Universal Cinema Classics DVD (the one which paired Going My Way with Holiday Inn). The Blu is a clear upgrade over the DVD in terms of both video and audio. The Blu's video is much sharper (as we should expect). I find the DVD video to have much of the same issues as the Blu but also with some jitters (again, I apologize for my lack of proper lingo). The DVD video also appears to be much darker with a loss of details in the deep blacks of the priest's cassocks and the dark woodwork of the rectory and in the evening exteriors. None of that appears to be as problematic on the Blu.

I compared one bright scene (where Bing plays piano for Jean Heather's Carol James upon their initial meeting and they each sing The Day After Forever) and found that the Blu might actually be culled from the same transfer as the DVD. If so, the debris is much less noticeable on the Blu than the DVD. But the scratches, etc., seem to show up in the same places.

A side-note. The actress who played Mrs. Quimp looks and acts so much like Margaret Hamilton that they could have been related. I knew it wasn't Margaret Hamilton...but facially and in her manner she really put me to mind of Hamilton.

In response to the earlier discussion about the film's awards success given its formidable competition that year...
Going My Way is filled with so much humanity and heart that, while I haven't seen all those 1944 films mentioned by Matt Hough in his earlier post, it doesn't surprise me that this country (and even the cynical and political MPAAS) in the midst of a great world war would respond to such a good-natured, warm film with so much regard. This film does a lot of things right--mostly, I think, in terms of representing how people should be treated and respected by others. If only such films (with similar messages) were held in high regard in today's own turbulent times.

Meanwhile, I hope one of our own HTF reviewers will get a crack at doing real justice to a review of this release.
I enjoyed your review; it was timely and told me all I needed to know without being pretentious and murky.

Therefore I am keeping my Amazon preorder, which I was thinking of dropping, since there are so many titles being released this fall.

Oh, and for my money, 1944's Best Picture was not even nominated in that category: Meet Me In St Louis.
 

Mike Frezon

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I enjoyed your review; it was timely and told me all I needed to know without being pretentious and murky.
Very nice of you, Richard. Thx.

It's such a good movie.

I hope you'll come back with your thoughts after you've seen it.
 

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