The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  19 February 1937 (USA)
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An ordinary man suddenly finds that anything he says comes true. Or at least, almost anything!


, (uncredited)


(short story), (scenario and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Chapman ...
Joan Gardner ...
Ada Price
Sophie Stewart ...
Maggie Hooper
Robert Cochran ...
Bill Stoker
Lady Tree ...
Grigsby's Housekeeper
Laurence Hanray ...
Mr. Bamfylde
George Zucco ...
The Colonel's Butler
Wallace Lupino ...
Constable Winch (as Wally Lupino)
Joan Hickson ...
Wally Patch ...
Supt. Smithnells
Mark Daly ...
Toddy Beamish


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Good pictures like good novels never grow old! See more »


Comedy | Fantasy


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 February 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

H.G. Wells' The Man Who Could Work Miracles  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Torin Thatcher, George Sanders, and Ivan Brandt are Celestial Bodies who appear at the beginning and end of this film. See more »


In the conversation with Maydig down by the river, Fotheringay places his cane on the log and rests his hands on it and also takes his cane off the log. There are several discrepancies in the relative positions of Fotheringay, Maydig and the cane in the cuts between these shots. There are also shots of each character by himself which it would be impossible to take if they were actually in the positions shown in the wider shots. See more »


Maggie Hooper: Oh Mr. Fotheringay, you're a healer. You've got the gift of healing.
George McWhirter Fotheringay: It ain't everything I've got.
See more »


Referenced in Bruce Almighty (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

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22 May 2005 | by (England) – See all my reviews

After a somewhat stilted beginning, this cheerful little fantasy caught my imagination. The extended plot has been enlarged almost seamlessly from the original short story, and in very much the same wry spirit: this is recognisable as authentic H.G.Wells in a way that, say, the adaptations of 'The Time Machine' and 'The Invisible Man' are not... but despite being characteristically didactic, it is also amusing and thoroughly entertaining.

Roland Young, in the downtrodden role of the eponymous Everyman, is more or less required to carry the film singlehanded and makes an admirable job of it, his hesitant body language alone speaking volumes. He is entirely believable as the voice of puzzled common sense amid all the conflicting demands being made of him, but when the worm turns he is also a strangely formidable figure.

Of the special effects -- the 'miracles' themselves -- there is nothing more to be said and no higher praise than that after the first few minutes, by and large, one simply takes them for reality, accepting the logic within the story. Those footprints in the hearthrug are a little obviously fake, though!

This is no great classic of its era, but its ideas have worn well, and, more importantly, it still makes for an enjoyable night out. Its main flaw is the introduction of the framing 'godly powers' plot, which was evidently felt necessary to explain just what was going on, but today verges on the embarrassing; in my opinion, the story could have stood up perfectly well without it.

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