While it's not as good as its predecessor, Going My Way (and which it clearly shamelessly imitates), Welcome Stranger is an affable, enjoyable film, made more so by the re-teaming of stars Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. While the script follows a strict formula (patterned after Going) and never really holds any surprises, it's an amiable story and is told with enough wit to keep the viewer's attention. Indeed, there are quite a few funny moments scattered throughout, many of them strictly "gag" types that work quite well in the hands of the delightful cast assembled herein. Elliott Nugent's direction is solid if not exceptional, keeping things moving at a good clip and pointing up all the plot points so that no one misses anything important. Crosby and Fitzgerald are in fine form, and their chemistry together is undeniable. Crosby also clicks with Joan Caulfield, though she's given a part that doesn't really let her stretch her wings very much. Best among the very good ensemble are Elizabeth Patterson and Percy Kilbride, who add appreciably to the film's charm. The score is decidedly second rate, with even the big dance number "Country Style" merely so-so. But the cast makes Welcome Stranger worth watching.
A curmudgeonly small-town doctor resents the presence of a new younger physician and his newfangled ways. He is especially dismayed by the new doctor's tendency to sing, a behavior the older fellow deems inappropriate. When the new doc meets a pretty young school teacher, romantic sparks fly. Unfortunately, she is engaged to the town pharmacist. This coupled with the older doctor's disapproval convinces the new fellow to leave town. The elder physician's maid intervenes and changes the young ones mind. It's a good thing too, for he saves the older one from a near fatal attack of appendicitis and earns both the veteran medic's gratitude and respect. Later the two take on a snooty new surgeon whose ambition has blinded him to simple common sense.