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With "Pockeful Of Miracles" Frank Capra remakes his own "Lady For A Day" with Capraseque results - that means a mix bag with mostly delightful stuff in it - The major problem here is Glenn Ford, not as an actor but as a producer. There is too much dedicated to Ford's character's businesses, moving away from what really matters - Apple Annie and her predicament. Bette Davis was one of the major supporters of Glenn Ford at the beginning of his career - A Stolen Life, did for his career what "Thelma and Louise" did for Brad Pitt's and one should remember that Davis sort of "imposed" Ford for that role. Now Glenn Ford bills himself above Bette Davis. That should tell you something. The film, however, more than survives the petty egos and comes out as a wonderful swan song for the extraordinary Frank Capra. Bette Davis herself confessed to have found enormous difficulty at being faithful to Apple Annie in those gorgeous gowns post-makeover, but this is, was and always will be a fairy tale and as such it succeeds beautifully. The entrance of Davis after the make-over scored with the Nutcracker suite, it's one of my most cherished movie memories as are Davis's eyes as she witnesses the "miracle" in first person. A collection of wonderful character actors: Thomas Mitchell, Ellen Corby and in particular Edward Everett Horton makes the whole thing a smashing pleasure. Beautiful Hope Lange is terrific and Peter Falk wears a coat that makes his character a shady relative of his future "Colombo". If you're not made of stone and/or your levels of cynicism have not reached inhuman stages, you're going to enjoy this very much. I certainly did.
Apple Annie (Bette Davis) makes her living as a gin-sauced,
basket-carrying, apple-selling NYC street woman. This motion picture is
in color which makes Davis's famous facial expressions, especially her
eyes, all the more effective.
The people Apple Annie hangs out with are other street vendors who are social misfits of various sorts; but, they have one thing in common: poverty.
Apple Annie is well connected with a mobster known as The Dude. Fortunately, he's superstitious. The tough mobster (Glen Ford) believes Apple Annie's apples bring him daily good luck because she says, "God Bless You," to everyone who buys from her.
All along Apple Annie's been writing her daughter on stationary from an upper-crusty city apartment complex, in order to pretend that she's a well-to-do lady. When her daughter, Louise (Ann Margaret, in her film debut) writes that she's coming to the city with her potential fiancé', whose father is a Spanish count, Apple Annie's pretense is not only about to be exposed but it could ruin her only child's chance for marrying well enough so that she'll never live in poverty as her mother has.
The rest of the story is fabulous: humorous, ingenious, well-casted, scripted and acted. It's anything but a typical mob story.
For me, the priceless scenes are between the veteran actor Bette Davis and upstart Ann Margaret. Imagine being able to claim that in your first film you starred as Bette Davis's daughter? Margaret gives a fine first film performance face-to-face with the Queen of the Screen. Peter Faulk does his mobster version of "Columbo," in top form. Davis, in Technicolor, delivers one of the most realistic, heart-felt, truly dramatic metamorphosis characters I've seen.
Glenn Ford and the late Hope Lange in a comedy with Bette Davis taking
a supporting role. Interesting enough, this crowd pleaser works quite
Dave The Dude (Ford) is a gangster on the verge of making a big deal. Dave is superstitious. He always must get an apple from that vagrant-looking Davis.
Davis, as Apple Annie, was phenomenal in this film. She acts just like an old broken down bag-lady. She does it with a finesse. (Is it really possible to have a refined bag-lady, you bet it is.)
Anyway, it appears that Davis has a daughter living abroad all these years. Ann-Margret is she and the latter thinks that her mother is high society. Trouble now is that Ann is getting engaged to a count and they're coming to New York to look mom over. Dave and his girlfriend, Lange, fix up Davis to make her look like a dowager. They even provide a husband for her-Thomas Mitchell!
As if this isn't funny enough, we have Peter Falk, in a truly worthy Oscar nominated supporting performance, as Dave's sidekick who can't fathom what is going on.
Edward Everett Horton is the butler who can't take bad endings. Fortunately, for him, the film has anything but that kind of ending. It's up-beat down to the last laugh.
When "the kids" sail away, Apple Annie resorts to her old ways by even announcing that her prices have gone up to her faithful friends.
A romp and memorable film.
Apple Annie (Bete Davis) is an alcoholic beggar who sells apples and
controls the beggary in Broadway area. Dave the Dude Conway (Glenn Ford) is
a prominent gangster, who believes that Annie's apples are magic and brings
`good luck' to him. Elizabeth 'Queenie' Martin (Hope Lange) is his lover,
and she wants to get married with him and move to Maryland, to have
children. One day, Annie receives a letter from her daughter Louise (Ann
Margret, making her debut on the screens), who lives in Spain. She informs
that she is going to get married with the son of a Count, and her future
father-in-law is coming to New York with them to visit her. Annie becomes
desperate and Dude decides to help her, pretending she is from the
high-society of New York. This is another wonderful Frank Capra's magic
movie. Indeed, it is a fairy tale. The cast, direction and screenplay are
delightful and although being talkative and long, it is such a good film
that the viewer does not feel the time passing. Bete Davis has another
outstanding performance, as usual, very well supported by the magnificent
cast. Highly recommended as a family entertainment. My vote is
Title (Brazil): `Dama Por Um Dia' (`Lady For a Day')
I can think only of three directors who were capable of blending drama and comedy in a way that makes you applaud after the film ends.Billy Wilder,his mentor Ernst Lubitsch and of course,Frank Capra.Pocketful of Miracles(1961)is Capra's final feature and he ended his glorious career in a truly miraculous fashion.I have read many reviews which pointed out many flaws of this film,but I have to disagree.There are many elements that make this film a true masterpiece.Firstly,the screenplay based upon the story by Robert Riskin and Damon Runyon is wonderful--it is filled with witty one-liners that make you laugh and cry,and it embodies the spirit of Broadway.It is wrong to say that this film doesn't make you think after seeing it-it is much more than just a morality story,with tastefully and artistically presented characters.Secondly,there is absolutely top-notch cast,most of the actors make truly memorable performances(except for Peter Mann,who was rather stiff).Glenn Ford is a fantastic,somewhat forgotten actor,who embodied Dave the Dude superbly.As a prominent gangster and bootlegger who has a thing for Annie's apples,he is simultaneously tough,ironic,charismatic,and incredibly charming in his obstinacy and tenacity.Bette Davis again demonstrates why she was considered the best actress ever.She masterfully portrayed the complex and nuanced character of an alcoholic beggar who controls the beggary on Broadway.She actually shows that even a beggar can be stylish.And the love she has for her daughter Louise-that's magical.Beautiful Hope Lange is great(as always)in the role of Dave's lover Queenie,who wants to move to Baltimore with him and have children.Her change of heart towards Annie is wonderful.The supporting cast is adorable.Peter Falk deserved an Oscar for his inspirational and truly funny portrayal of a distrustful gangster Joy Boy.Thomas Mitchell made his last performance as a pool-hall-junkie-judge who stands in for Annie's husband.And he did it exceptionally.Ann Margret makes her debut as Annie's loving daughter.The direction is flawless,as usual when Capra is in charge.All these elements should make this film an unforgettable experience,and not just a film you watch for fun(no classic film lover should watch films just for fun). I agree that Lady for a day is a great,memorable film,special in many ways.But,the significance of Pocketful of Miracles should in no way be diminished on account of being a re-make.The sixties differ greatly from today,when irritating blockbusters,re-makes sequels and comic-book adaptations unfortunately prevail.Pocketful of Miracles is a must-see for any Capra lover,classic film lover in general,and for all the people who still believe in miracles.I'm one of them and I truly believe that both Hollywood and Europe will live again through the films who would touch the people over the mental age of three,if you know what I mean.
I used to watch this movie once and again when I was a child. Didn't even know who Bette Davis or Frank Capra were, but already loved the film. The story is a remake of one of Capra's films of the 30's. Easy to follow, filled with smart humor and better acting. I admire the transformation of Bette Davis, great work along with wardrobe and make up departments! Last Capra's film, it has the typical characteristics of his career. The importance of emotions, the rhythm, the magic and the happy ending. It was the beginning of the future sex-symbol Ann Margret in a great and extensive cast. It's a great movie to watch with kids, or for cinema addicts looking for a rest.
Bette Davis turns in a great performance as "Apple Annie". Peter Falk, as has been noted, gets the best lines. Glenn Ford shows his talent for comedy. The young Ann-Margret is as cute as can be. But if i can be permitted a bit of Trivial Observation: I had to watch the next to last scene (the police-escorted motorcade) again because i could not believe it on the first viewing. Did anyone else notice the rear projection in the back windows of the cars? The story is set in the 1930's, the cars are of that era but the automobile following in the back window looks like a 1950 Cadillac! Either that car window was a time tunnel or someone used the wrong film clip for the rear projection. That's why studios have a Continuity Department.
This film was also a remake of a film made in 1933 called Lady For a
Day with Warren William and Mae Hopson. But it was an excellent remake.
I especially liked Peter Falk's portrayal in this film. The entire cast
is really top notch.
I don't think anything is as good as the original. But, this film comes very close. The cast is really what makes this version so good. Bette Davis is excellent as is Glenn Ford and Thomas Mitchell. This is also an early film for Ann-Margaret.
I, personally, would recommend this film as highly as I would Lady For a Day. By all means, watch both films. They each have an ambiance that makes both movies unique.
This movie is long, talky and winded, but there are some wonderful performances. And, the last scene with Bette Davis (can't say more for fear of divulging too much) is a marvel. Deeply moving and Davis is luminous. All of the talk, talk, talk is worth the look on Davis' face at the end of the film. Enjoy it, warts and all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For a director who made some of the most memorable, high-quality films between 1933 and 1941 and has become legendary for his priceless, classic IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES is a little too unfocused and cute at times to merit being a great film. While his earlier version, LADY FOR A DAY, was more compact, this one runs 40 minutes too long, extends scenes that could have trimmed the fat off the plotting and still have had the film look great, and seems too fairy-tale even for 1961 when it was released. Somehow what worked so well in the 30s fails to work here, and while the acting couldn't be better from many of the actors involved, the storyboarding itself is sub-par. Bette Davis shines as Apple Annie, though, and makes this escapist film worth watching even when its subject matter has not aged well and seems like a caricature of its earlier version.
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