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C. Aubrey Smith
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Edward G. Robinson,
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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>
Okay, much has already been discussed about the philosophical merits of this film and the deep, profound underlying morals within and the gentle yet omni-present humour laced throughout The Man Who Could Work Miracles. I agree it is there but to varying degrees of success. Who knew H. G. Wells did the script himself(I didn't know he was even still alive then). Because he did, you knew it would have some kind of social message - and it does. What would we do if given complete, absolute power? Can mankind given this power effectively change? Will mankind come to some communal consent as to the betterment of the species as a whole? Well, being the true Machiavellian at heart philosophically that I am - I knew the answers to these questions as posed by Wells who by this time in his life seeing Europe yet again on the fringe of war in 1936 must have come to the same conclusions. But Wells to his credit leaves the viewer the opportunity to decide what he/she thinks with little prodding from the script. While the movie has a lot of hokey dialog and contrived plot sequences, I enjoyed it overall and its message of - whatever it is to you goes here. The acting is charming at the very least. Roland Young is always good and he portrays Mr. Farthingay with great affability and anonymity. Young is one of the best things about the movie as he stumbles in his fashion through the dialog and the scenes with calculating indifference as only he can do. The supporting cast is ably aided with the likes of Ralph Richardson, Joan Gardner, Joan Hickson, George Zucco, and as two godlike spirits watching earth - George Sanders looking incredibly young and Torin Thatcher(from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad fame). The best outside of Young is Earnest Thesiger from The Bride of Frankenstein and The Old, Dark House fame playing a minister named Mr. Maydig who wants Young to do only good, beneficial things for mankind - at least it appears so ostensibly. No one and I mean no one can deliver a line like Thesiger! Words from his mouth are music to my ears. There are some problems with the film. Much of it comes off as forced and not very amusing. The script ends really in a muddle of a mess. How about the ridiculous music and the title sequence at the beginning of the film. What was up with that huh? But despite these shortcomings, see The Man Who Could Work Miracles for what it is - a thought picture that has a message presented in a light-hearted fashion.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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