Welcome Stranger



Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 283


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
September 21, 2022 at 05:10 AM


Top cast

Joan Caulfield as Trudy Mason
Margaret Field as Photo of Cousin Hattie
Bing Crosby as Dr. James 'Jim' Pearson
Barry Fitzgerald as Dr. Joseph McRory
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
986.19 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S 8 / 42
1.79 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S 14 / 69

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

Going My Way in New England

The success of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald in GOING MY WAY would lead to the second of Crosby's three successful male teams (the other two being Bob Hope and Fred Astaire). Oddly enough nobody ever thought of putting three of them or all four into the same film, but problems regarding budgets and a decent, sensible script would probably have prevented it. In any event, such a script would have relied on Crosby being at the center of action/activity. In his individual pairings he does share the screen time with each partner.

But GOING MY WAY created a sequel that did not bring back Barry. It was THE BELLS OF ST. MARY, a Christmas story about a Catholic religious school run by Ingrid Bergman. It too was a success, but it did not have Fitzgerald's elderly, wise but cantankerous priest in it. Fortunately WELCOME STRANGER was made a few years after, and gave Bing and Barry another good script with equal time to shine in their roles.

Basically it is the same plot: A small New England town has had the services of Fitzgerald as their doctor. He's been a good doctor, and has been campaigning for a new hospital for the town. The town council, represented by Charles Dingle, has finally agreed. But Dingle has doubts about the elderly Fitzgerald running the hospital - he wants a younger man, with scholarly attainments.

But this is all in the future. Fitzgerald has to go to Boston on a business trip, and he comes back on one of the crack railway trains that used to crisscross our country. He is sitting in a compartment with a young man, Crosby, who is going to answer an advertisement for a doctor who can assist an elderly doctor in a small town in Maine (you guessed it - it's an advertisement the crusty Fitzgerald was pressured into putting into the paper). Soon the two are arguing (correction: Fitzgerald is arguing - Crosby is calm, as always), about a missing pipe belonging to Fitzgerald (Crosby finds Fitzgerald was sitting on it). Crosby leaves the "chilly" compartment for the dining room, and orders the fresh trout for dinner. Unfortunately Fitzgerald follows soon after, and he has been looking forward to his favorite dinner on this train (you guessed it: the trout). He's definitely deflated to find that 1) they are out of trout now, and 2) Crosby got the last trout.

So begins another typical "opposites" attract Bing and Barry story. Instead of Catholic priests it is country doctors. But Crosby slowly, begrudgingly gains the respect and friendship of the older man again, and likewise he finds that Fitzgerald is a first rate, sensible doctor.

Crosby also starts dating Joan Caulfield, which annoys Robert Shayne her present beau. What's worse, Shayne is the son of Charles Dingle, and this makes Dingle less than friendly to Crosby as a doctor, or a potential assistant head to the new hospital. Both are soon pushing a friend of Shayne's, Larry Young.

The film is an amusing, well-made comedy, and the townspeople are quite realistic. Even the pompous Dingle has a moment of realism that lifts him from his usual villainous activities into the real world of cynicism. He is finding the town has a possible medical emergency, and a vaccine might be needed. He contacts the town's Congressman, Thurston Hall, who we see in his office in Washington. The two have a so-called serious conversation about the vaccine, with Hall going through his typical bluster, while Dingle (who whatever his pomposity was always straight to the point) tries to keep to the topic. Hall keeps forgetting or confusing his Dingle's identity or name, until finally Charles zings it very nicely to Thuston: "Why is it you can only remember my name around election time?" It was a brief moment but Charles finally spoke for all of us!

Reviewed by mark.waltz 7 / 10

Sentimental Comedy/Drama with Interesting Characters

When small town doctor Barry Fitzgerald decides to take a vacation in his stuffy Maine community, he goes to Boston to find a temporary replacement. On the train back, he meets happy go lucky Bing Crosby, whom he takes an instant dislike for due to situations beyond both of their control. Not realizing that Crosby is his replacement, Fitzgerald is more than a little put out when all is revealed. As Fitzgerald prepares to leave, he suffers an attack of appendicitis, which Crosby operates on him for. This changes their relationship, and Fitzgerald opens his eyes to Crosby's genial manner. But Crosby upsets the son of a local money-man (Charles Dingle), who decides out of the blue to get a more modern doctor in town to replace Fitzgerald permanently. Crosby, who has planned to leave town, decides to stay to fight for Fitzgerald's job and for the young girl (Joan Caulfield) he has come to love.

This warm-hearted small town comedy/drama (with several songs sung by you-know-who) is charming from the start, focusing on the chemistry between Crosby and Fitzgerald rather than the romance of Crosby and Caulfield. A rousing square dance number happens in a scene where Crosby meets the townsfolk who are as cold as a thermometer in December if you ask about the weather in July, and resemble the Vermont townspeople spoofed in the screwball comedy classic "Nothing Sacred". Elizabeth Patterson and Percy Kilbride are among the memorable supporting players. A storyline involving an alcoholic newspaper reporter and his daughter is never fully resolved, but simply expands on the personality and humanity of its leading character. Crosby has a few digs at Hope and Sinatra, claiming that unlike Frankie, he can sing while taking blood, but other than that, simply recites his lines with little emotional range. When Caulfield comments on the fact that Crosby seems to avoid unpleasant situations, it somewhat justifies Crosby's seemingly too understated performance.

As for Barry Fitzgerald, it is obvious from the get go that this curmudgeon is hiding a sweet nature, and sometimes there just seems to be no reason he's so instantly so cold to Crosby other than a series of unfortunate occurrences that are beyond both their controls. Patterson, as Fitzgerald's feisty housekeeper, has a lot of great lines, while Kilbride, as the town's only cab driver, is amusing as well. Small-town movies are usually too sweet or sentimental over portraying "the perfect life", but "Welcome Stranger" is actually a lot more real than the lovable townspeople often portrayed in Frank Capra's "fantastic" series of classic films. Not perfect, "Welcome Stranger" is a step above similar movies, and is a highly recommended sleeper.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

Bing had to have a love interest

Going My Way was such a blockbuster hit for Paramount with the inspired teaming of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald that sooner or later you knew they would be teamed again.

Going My Way had one problem; with Bing and Barry as priests you couldn't have any romance. So in this one, they're doctors. Bing is supposed to be a temporary replacement while Barry takes a long postponed vacation. Just like in Going My Way, they don't hit it off at first, but circumstances push them together and by the end of the picture they're fast friends and Bing ends up with schoolmarm Joan Caulfield.

Welcome Stranger does stand on its own merits as a picture, it's not just a pale imitation of Going My Way. Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke give Bing four good songs. Personally, I think the highlight of the movie is Bing singing and calling the square dance in Country Style.

He also sings a nice number called Smile Right Back At the Sun. Crosby had a song genre all his own, the upbeat philosophical songs and this is a perfect example of that kind of number. It's in the same vein as Swinging on a Star. No other singer ever sang so many numbers of that type as Crosby or sung them so well.

One of my favorite character actors Charles Dingle is the villain of the piece. Whether he's a serious or a comic villain like here, Dingle never disappoints with his patented brand of pomposity.

I would venture one criticism of the film. I believe Frank Faylen and Wanda Hendrix who play father and daughter could have had their characters more fully developed. I think a lot of their performances was edited out of the finished product.

But Welcome Stranger is still grand entertainment, Crosby and Paramount at their best.

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