GOING MY WAY (1944)
What is it? Bing Crosby plays a priest, Father O'Malley, who shakes things up when he joins the parish of crusty old Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). But with the lives of their parishoners to assist and unexpected crises to deal with, mere rivalry can't last.
Why did it win? Double Indemnity is not the sort of film that imbues one with a warm glow, and that does not play with the voters. Tragedy is fine, even heartbreak; criticism or satire can just about win, but cynicism like this? Not so much - and especially not during the worst days of the War, before D-Day began the serious push-back against the Nazis. And in fairness, Going My Way is neither as saccharine nor as sentimental as other priest movies of the time.
Did it deserve to win? Nope - Double Indemnity should have taken the prize this year, hands down. Unless an old priest and a young priest are teaming up to exorcise a demon, they have nothing on the quintessential film noir, wherein a femme fatale persuades an insurance salesman to enter her plot to off her husband. The other nominees (they finally settled on five) are Gaslight (Ingrid Bergman being driven mad), Since You Went Away (Wartime drama) and Presidential biopic Wilson (about Woodrow).
Worth a look? It's not bad - but get your noir on first.