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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)

Writers:

(short story), (scenario and dialogue)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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
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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 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Bruce Almighty (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
H.G. Wells' timeless parable on power and the human condition
2 November 2009 | by (Tappan, New York) – See all my reviews

I have to admit to a soft spot for this film, which is very probably the best movie version of an H.G. Wells story ever done. Not surprisingly, the writer was still around when it was made and was involved in the production.

Today many people regard Wells as a "science-fiction" writer, but he was also a historian and philosopher. "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" is more of a fantasy/parable on the subject of power and the human condition than it is science fiction. Nevertheless, Alexander Korda had his production company go all out in the depiction of the film's "miracles". They are still effective despite the fact that this film dates from 1936.

The story of what happens when an anonymous nobody is suddenly given absolute power to do anything still resonates. The setting may be 1930s England, but the attitudes of the sort of characters with whom the protagonist interacts would probably be little different today. After all, businessmen still think like businessmen, bankers like bankers, clergymen like clergymen, policemen like policemen, and soldiers like soldiers. In that regard the world hasn't really changed all that much, a fact that would have come as little surprise to Wells.

Considering the plethora of special effects, it seems somewhat surprising that this film has never been re-made. That's not to say that this production could probably be bettered. Roland Young is spot on as the "common vulgar fellow" upon whom absolute power is suddenly and randomly bestowed. The only possible complaint with casting him in the part is that he may perhaps have been a bit too to play someone the other characters are constantly addressing as "Young Man". The other members of the cast are likewise excellent, particularly Ralph Richardson in a hilarious turn as "Colonel Winstanley", the character who inspired cartoonist David Low's "Colonel Blimp".

To anyone who has never seen this movie, I can only recommend that you take the first opportunity that presents itself to see it. Despite the passing of years since it was produced, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" remains unique.


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