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William K. Howard
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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 <email@example.com>
There is a painting over Mr. Maydig's fireplace of the interior of a Greek style palace. Later, Mr. Fotheringay's transformation of Col. Winstanley's house into a palace looks pretty much like the one in the painting. See more »
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 »
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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