A gang of crooks evade the police by moving their operations to a small town. There the gang's leader encounters a faith healer and uses him to scam gullible public of funds for a supposed ...
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The story takes place in Milwaukee during the early 1900s with a bank clerk named August Schiller who is happy with both his job and his family. He is tasked with transporting $1,000 in ... See full summary »
A gang of crooks evade the police by moving their operations to a small town. There the gang's leader encounters a faith healer and uses him to scam gullible public of funds for a supposed chapel. But when a real healing takes place, a change comes over the gang. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In New York City's sinful Chinatown, gang of four leader Thomas Meighan (as Tom Burke), loose-legged mistress Betty Compson (as Rose), contortionist Lon Chaney (as The Frog), and drug-addicted J.M. Dumont (as The Dope) learn about a village faith-healer. Passing off Ms. Compson as a long-lost niece, they go to live with "The Miracle Man" Joseph J. Dowling (as The Patriarch), planning to bilk his flock. To insure the public knows their healer's powers are genuine, Mr. Chaney's contortion prowess is used to fake a cripple being healed. All are shocked when a real boy follows suit. As it turns out, Mr. Dowling has real powers - and they begin to work on Mr. Meighan and his crooked cohorts...
"The Miracle Man" is one of the most missed of all "lost" silent films. Presently, only a few minutes of footage is available - and, while several missing films can be enjoyed when ten or so crucial minutes are available, what is left of "The Miracle Man" barely scratches the surface. The film's emotional centerpiece, according to nearly all accounts, is among what we do have. First, a portion introduces cast-members Thomas Meighan, Betty Compson and Lon Chaney. Next, the scene where Mr. Chaney "fakes" his cure is followed by a crippled boy (Frankie Lee) walking, then running toward "Miracle Man" Dowling. Chaney is terrific, especially in a frame witnessing the miracle, but so is the kid...
Contemporary critics were ecstatic about the film, and viewers made it a big box office hit. It advanced the careers of the aforementioned trio of co-stars, who received much praise for their acting. For the year, "Quigley Publications" noted "The Miracle Man" and director George Loane Tucker as the year's best picture and director. It also won a "Photoplay" poll, besting "Broken Blossoms" (1919). However, the latter D.W. Griffith film topped "Miracle Man" in rival "Motion Picture" magazine's contest, with Lillian Gish getting the top acting honor. "The New York Times" placed "Blossoms" at #1 and "Miracle Man" at #2 for 1919. More of "The Miracle Man" would be a welcome sight...
********** The Miracle Man (8/26/19) George Loane Tucker ~ Thomas Meighan, Betty Compson, Lon Chaney, Joseph J. Dowling
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