Crosby Stille Nacht

The Unbearable Lightness of Bing — I’ve written before about Leo McCarey’s baffling descent — or ascension — into demented Catholic mania — now I’ve made a more sympathetic video essay for Arrow Video to accompany their lovely Blu-Ray of THE BELLS OF ST MARY’S in which, with the aid of editor Stephen Horne, I attempt to burrow into that weirdness and the improvisational techniques and freeform narrative approach that McCarey employed.

You can buy it, for your own pleasure or as a gift for the Bingrid fan in your life.

And remember —

12 Responses to “Crosby Stille Nacht”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    I much prefer —

  2. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Der Bingle was a very strange character. His professional cool masked seething resentments. His “friendship” with Bob Hope was entirely cinematic. And his relationship with is children matched that of Jerry Lewis with his.

    Speaking as an ex-Catholic (I bailed at Confirmation) I’ve always found McCarey to be camp. “Low” camp of course. I’ sure if he ever heard of Firbank he’d have been gobsmacked to the Max.

    Cut to Matt Damon doing this number in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    Somebody once commented existentially – “Bing and Nothingness” and I don’t think it was Sartre.

  4. I like the smutty pre-code Bing and the relaxed 30s McCarey much better than their later incarnations, though I was able to find a lot more to admire in this one second time around — I just had to ignore my lack of love for what the film is selling.

    McCarey’s later full-on craziness perhaps had to do with his brother Ray’s suicide in 1948, something surely hard for an uber-Catholic to process (not easy for anyone). His films were already tending towards propaganda, but then he goes nuts about the communist threat…

  5. Tony Williams Says:

    Anybody ever seen SATAN NEVER SLEEPS avidly defended by MOVIE with Monsignors William Holden and Clifton Webb?

  6. ehrenstein47 Says:

    Yes. It’s unintended hilarity at its most baroque. Clifton Webb as a Catholic priest trying to keep the commies from raping France Nuyen. France looks like she’s there to keep Clifton from raping William Holden. “Going My Way, sailor?”

  7. chris schneider Says:

    Christopher Durang’s SISTER MARY IGNATIUS EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU contains a nativity play that’s a pretty direct pastiche of and/or commentary upon BELLS OF SAINT MARY.

    That scene in McCarey’s AWFUL TRUTH with the argument over custody of the dog always struck me as *quite* Roman Catholic.

  8. Ha! And Love Affair gets pretty religious. it was always there, or nearly so.

  9. Molly McPherson Says:

    Wow, what a bunch of anti-Catholic fervor that would never be tolerated by this same bunch of enlightened left wing progressives if Islam were the subject of conversation.
    Then again, David Ehrenstein’s always got a burr in his saddle — and sometimes when he gets lucky, it’s something other than a burr.

    Wink, wink.

    Gary Giddins has just published a wonderful biography of Bing’s life during the war years.
    It puts to rest all that BS propagandized by his deranged progeny from his severely mentally ill, alcoholic wife Dixie.
    Naturally, the kids from his first marriage inherited some troublesome DNA.

    I love how now that the Mueller Report fizzled, you guys instinctively revert back to your sympathies for Soviet/Russian Communism.

    The jokes write themselves. While sometimes you guys write them. Same difference.

  10. A door into another universe just opened.

    I’m not sure where you’re getting the soviet communism stuff, to begin with — Stalin killed more people than Hitler, it was an awful regime to live under, nobody here expressed any enthusiasm for it.

    I personally regard organized religion as rather dangerous, whatever God it follows, but there are plenty of agreeable and harmless people in each faith — which is why I don’t like to see all Muslims tarred with the same brush.

    Sniggering homophobia is no better than Islamophobia. I can see you’re really into tolerance and loving your neighbour.

    As for the church that has for decades covered up a massive child abuse scandal, I can’t recall anyone saying anything against it.

  11. Tony Williams Says:

    “The horror! The horror! We have all been exposed!. Commissar Cains (a distant relative of Willie Gallagher) and General Secretary Ehrenstein of Beverly Hills will soon face the tender mercies of the Inquisition.

    “Good Golly, Miss Molly!

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