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The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 722 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 5 critic

An ordinary man suddenly finds that anything he says comes true. Or at least, almost anything!

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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(short story), (scenario and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Edward Chapman ...
...
Maydig
Joan Gardner ...
Ada Price
Sophie Stewart ...
Maggie Hooper
Robert Cochran ...
Bill Stoker
Maud Tree ...
Grigsby's Housekeeper (as Lady Tree)
Laurence Hanray ...
Mr. Bamfylde
George Zucco ...
The Colonel's Butler
Wallace Lupino ...
Constable Winch (as Wally Lupino)
Joan Hickson ...
Effie
Wally Patch ...
Supt. Smithnells
Mark Daly ...
Toddy Beamish
...
Indifference - a God
Edit

Storyline

George McWhirter Fotheringay, while vigorously asserting the impossibility of miracles, suddenly discovers that he can perform them. After being thrown out of a bar for what is thought to be a trick, he tests his powers and eventually sends a policeman to Hades by accident. Worried, he sends the police officer to San Francisco, and seeks advice from the local clergyman, Mr Maydig. Maydig, after having Fotheringay's powers demonstrated to him, quickly planning for reform of the world by means of miracle, but eventually Fotheringay orders a miracle which, due to clumsy wording, backfires. He relinquishes his power and returns to the time before he had it. Written by Anthony Pereyra <hypersonic91@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, der Wunder wirkte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Col. Winstanley, who was obviously meant to be the "old colonel", describes George Fotheringay as being young, but Ralph Richardson, who played him, was 35 years old - 15 years younger than Roland Young, who played Mr. Fotheringay. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene in the pub, Fotheringay is shown with his hands on the bar as another patron addresses him, but in the next immediate shot, his right hand is up to his cheek. See more »

Quotes

George McWhirter Fotheringay: You just stand there looking lovely, until I notice you!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boxcar Bertha (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

H.G. Wells' Fantasy of Anarchy
28 August 1999 | by (Lexington, KY) – See all my reviews

What would a world without want be like? The answer has been the subject of countless stories, not a few movies, & every sensitive soul's nighttime sighing for ages. H. G. Wells poses the question by having godlike beings give a department store clerk, George McWhirter Fotheringay, that ability, & watching it evolve, as he bounces from adviser to adviser, from the sexy girl he desires to a retired British Army man.

The film is a treat, especially for those of us accustomed to (& maybe a little bored by) the Star Trek treatment of absolute power conferred on lowly mortals. I don't know much about the history of science fiction in the movies, but Wells goes about everything (he wrote the script, based on his novel) with the fabulous in mind, while adding purely sci-fi touches, which I won't give away.

Fotheringay is no bleeding-heart aching to turn the world into a painless utopia, nor is he a selfish, power-hungry perve, but a nondescript man who takes his time to figure out just what has happened to him before bringing everything to a head. In the meantime, we're given what amounts to a funny English comedy of manners, as well as a peek into a time (& place) where science fiction took a different direction. (For example: if you found out you had miraculous powers, would you tell anyone? I don't think I would. & if you told anyone, wouldn't you imagine the authorities pouncing on you at the first opportunity? Not so in 1930's Essex!)

The ending seems Gene Roddenberry-esque, & perhaps the Star Trek creator admired & shared Wells' humanism; but the film shines with neat-o special effects (some cool stuff, for the time) & a wonderful performance by Roland Young. A must-see for those who like their sci-fi earthbound & thought-provoking.

(My subject line, by the way, refers to anarchy as a form of government in which there are no governments, just self-government; I don't mean it in the common usage of disorder or chaos. The movie touches on the idea that, without their lives being controlled by those in power, who have a vested interest in people needing money & goods, people might find other ways to spend their time - like, for example, in creation.)


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