A gang of crooks evade the police by moving their operations to a small town. There the gang's leader, John Madison, encounters a faith healer and uses him to scam the gullible public of ... See full summary »
A gang of crooks evade the police by moving their operations to a small town. There the gang's leader, John Madison, encounters a faith healer and uses him to scam the 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 <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
The Miracle Man is a hokey, overdone Paramount remake of a 1919 hit Starring Lon Chaney that is somehow oddly compelling. It is about a gang of crooks who think they have stumbled onto the mother lode of con games in the persona of a faith healer who is oblivious to their scheme. The movie picks up steam as it goes along and becomes absorbing and hypnotic,and the gang members outdo themselves in the acting department.
I have not seen the original 1919 version of this film but John Wray, who plays the deformed 'Frog',gives what has to be the performance of his career. He was mostly a character actor and bit player but here generates what ought to have been at least a Supporting Actor award nomination (there were no supporting awards until 1936). And deadpan comic Ned Sparks? here he plays it straight and is very convincing - I can't recall him in a more prominent role. Usually he could be seen in snatches of one picture or another. Sylvia Sidney carries the load in the acting department with a performance that is both sympathetic and heartfelt. Hobart Bosworth plays the Patriarch and has little to do but to gaze heavenward and look enrapt.
I would imagine this film is not for all tastes but if you have a chance it is well worth your while even if you are not religious. I saw this film at a film festival in Rome, N.Y. in 35MM, in a print restored by the UCLA Film Dept. It reinforces my opinion that the only way to see most films is in this format, in which the figures are bigger than life. That is the way movies were meant to be seen.
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