7.1/10
1,015
26 user 7 critic

The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)

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

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(scenario and dialogue) (as H.G.Wells)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Young man fights off attempts to marry him off to a series of available girls. Intersting glimpses of London in 1930.

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Roland Young, George Grossmith, John Loder
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A stay-at-home husband and his businesswoman wife plan separate vacations, but he doesn't go fishing. He masquerades as a barber on her pleasure cruise.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Genevieve Tobin, Roland Young, Ralph Forbes
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young painter stumbles upon an assortment of odd characters at an English estate where he has been hired to give art lessons to beautiful Laura Fairlie. Among them are Anne Catherick, a ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When the Germans invade Norway their Commandant and the town Mayor confront each other, attempting to maintain civility as far as possible. When the army tries to orgnanize townspeople to ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Henry Travers, Lee J. Cobb
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Mary, a writer working on a novel about a love triangle, is attracted to her publisher. Her suitor Jimmy is determined to break them up; he introduces Mary to the publisher's wife without ... See full summary »

Directors: Harry Beaumont, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Thrown out of the Riviera, a family of grifters meets a lonely, vulnerable rich old woman and insinuate themselves into her life while they sponge off her.

Directors: Richard Wallace, Lewis Milestone, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Roland Young
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Vincent Van Der Lyn, a Dutch freedom fighter in WWII, is forced to neutral Lisbon to escape the Nazis. There he meets a small band of underground conspirators. The group's leader, Ricardo ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Warner Baxter, Gloria Stuart, Claude Gillingwater
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Classic whodunit mystery film about a gold-digging variety show actress who has many enemies and is found dead in her private railroad car at Grand Central Station in New York.

Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Stars: Van Heflin, Patricia Dane, Cecilia Parker
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A bored automobile industry tycoon assumes a false identity, buys a half interest in a gas station, and plays matchmaker for his daughter.

Director: Frederick De Cordova
Stars: Dane Clark, Martha Vickers, Sydney Greenstreet
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Royal navy Commander is tricked by a pretty girl who is working for the Nazis. She tricks him into revealing some military secrets and he is court-martialed. He vows to track her and her ... See full summary »

Director: Karel Lamac
Stars: James Mason, Joyce Howard, Tom Walls
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Detective Sam Campbell and his perky sidekick Robby Vance are called in on a routine child support dispute. Things take an unexpected turn when the client's ex-father-in-law, the head of a ... See full summary »

Director: William Clemens
Stars: Jane Wyman, Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson
Edit

Cast

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 (as Lawrence Hanray)
...
The Colonel's Butler
Wallace Lupino ...
Constable Winch (as Wally Lupino)
Joan Hickson ...
Effie
Wally Patch ...
Supt. Smithells
Mark Daly ...
Toddy Beamish
...
Indifference
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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Some contemporary reviewers list Gertrude Musgrove in the role of Effie, but she was replaced by Joan Hickson. See more »

Goofs

The sequence in which the constable is transported to San Francisco was obviously filmed in Los Angeles. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a background of outer space. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boxcar Bertha (1972) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"We'll start the Golden Age, somewhere in the afternoon ..."
17 December 2001 | by (nashville, tn) – See all my reviews

This is undoubtedly the best film adaptation by H.G. Wells of his own work, a wry fable free of the leaden polemics that so marred "Things To Come".

Roland Young -- who played the title character to mischievous ghosts Cary Grant and Constance Bennett in the 1937 comedy "Topper" -- is outstanding as George Fotheringay, a mousy store clerk who must come to grips with the sudden gift of almost unlimited power. He can literally do anything -- except change the human heart, as he finds when he commands his beautiful coworker Ada to fall madly in love with him, and she merely laughs in his face. (Incidentally, "George" is Wells' middle name, and Roland Young bears more than a little resemblance to a younger H.G.)

Mischa Spoliansky's score is by turns droll and light-hearted, complementing the story perfectly, as George struggles to make sense of his new-found abilities.

He learns the danger of an unguarded word, when he tells an officious constable who wants to run him in for disturbing the peace to "go to blazes", leading to a hilarious bit in which the constable, finding himself instantaneously transported to the nether regions of brimstone and hellfire, tries to keep calm and take notes about the incident while his notepad smolders. Fortunately, George isn't the vindictive type. As soon as he realizes what he's done, he rescues Constable Plod from the Inferno. (Although, just to be on the safe side and give him some time to cool off, George also teleports him to San Francisco.)

Since he makes no secret of his miracle-working, George is bombarded with advice from his coworkers and various worthies on how he should use his powers. His boss wants to sign him to an exclusive contract, establishing a chain of "miracle" stores featuring instantaneous delivery, with free healing clinics offered on Tuesdays and Fridays to allay George's discomfort with exploiting his talent solely for monetary gain.

Mr. Maydig -- a Baptist minister and amateur philosopher played to prim perfection by gaunt character actor Ernest Thesiger -- advises George to bring the Millennium, to end war and disease and poverty. George cooperates with Maydig to the extent of fulfilling a Biblical prophecy, converting the prized antique cutlery collection belonging to a local representative of the gentry (Sir Ralph Richardson) into what his butler describes with a visible shudder as "agricultural implements".

Even worse, at Maydig's insistence George adds injury to insult by turning all of Colonel Winstanley's fine whiskey into non-alcoholic "temperance water". The butler (George Zucco) gets another of the best lines in the movie. Accused of having done something to the Colonel's tipple, he's the picture of wounded innocence as he responds: "Sir! I'd as soon poison a baby as tamper with good whiskey!"

Next morning, after meeting George and seeing further proof of his unlimited power, the Colonel naturally concludes this mild-seeming clerk is a dire threat to the established order. Taking matters into his own hands, Winstanley almost succeeds in assassinating George, triggering the climactic sequence in which George declares himself invulnerable and immortal and decides he will remake the world to his own plan, starting now.

What happens next is too weird and wonderful for me to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the film, except to observe that it's not the typical "absolute power corrupts absolutely" denouement that modern viewers have come to expect. "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" is a wise, funny and humane comment on the human psyche, a film which can be enjoyed many times and still seem fresh with each viewing.


33 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?