Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
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Title (Brazil): `Dama Por Um Dia' (`Lady For a Day')
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.
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.
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 has a lot of history behind it – Capra's desire to remake it, different scripts and studio interests, different casting, conflicts between stars, etc. Some of the reviews I've read seem to have been influenced more by that history than by the product itself. I've read much of the background. I've watched and enjoyed very much the original "Lady for a Day." I was in the Army when this film came out, and we didn't get to see movies until long after they came out. So, it was some years later before I first saw "Pocketful of Miracles" on TV. I now have it on DVD in my film collection.
I think I can see why Capra wanted to remake the movie – and in its original setting and time, the 1930s. "Lady for a Day," was a very good film. But Capra was only director – he didn't have control over the script or some of the casting. In "Pocketful of Miracles," Capra was in charge from the beginning. Glenn Ford was his partner in producing the film and had the male lead. But it was Capra's baby from the start. It's too bad that there were personality conflicts between some of the actors, and that Capra had to endure the infighting. But, it's as much an accolade to Hollywood and the acting profession that we viewers don't see any of that in the finished product. Instead, what we see is a delightful, whimsical, fairy-tale of a story.
Capra has changed the tone and mood of the original film so much that we see here a completely different story of an almost identical plot. Mary Robson was wonderful as the first Apple Annie. She seemed to be a pathetic character, a product of misfortune and the times. Bette Davis, on the other hand, while a product of the times seems to relish her position in society. She puts a little more life into the character – very appropriate for this second film version. Warren William is good as Dave the Dude, but we don't know what the big deal is that distracts him once in a while. And, he and his gang are wont to use the artillery from time to time. Very believable for the times, I think. Glenn Ford's Dave the Dude is much more a man of pride who's gang doesn't wield guns so much as muscle. He has connections, and Ford gives a bravado to the character that fits beautifully into the comedic role.
Anyway, the entire cast is superb in this film. And it's a cast of many notable actors. This is an entertaining film all around, and one the whole family should enjoy.
entertaining. The scene where "Apple Annie" was changed to resemble a classy lady was
funny. This was helped with the likes of Peter Falk. The various scenes with the cast of characters involved in selling or begging were very good. And their final scene with them gathered on the jetty waving goodbye to "the daughter of Apple Annie with her Prince Charming" was
As there are many stars and character actors involved in this brilliant film, as not to overlook the fine work of all of them, it is a giant thank you to the whole team!
Another film that puts the word "Class" in classic!
The strength of 'Pocketful of Miracles' is its original humour. The writing, especially of the dialogues, is terrific. The characters are a delight. All the actors are superb. Bette Davis is amazing and even though her character isn't fully fleshed in the second half, she performs with grace and poise. Glenn Ford is quite good. Hope Lange is stunning. Ann Margret is cute. Peter Falk provides some great laugh out loud moments. Thomas Mitchell, Ellen Corby and Edward Everett Horton are great.
In addition, 'Pocketful of Miracles' is very pleasing to the eyes. The colourful sets, flashy costumes and lavish interiors that highlight the glamour are very appealing.
With this heartwarming swansong, Capra has made me laugh out loud for more than two hours and that more than compensates for the flaws. What a way to say farwell.
In the film there is a mingle of comedy , drama and humor , it's a very amusing movie . Although this is not as good remake as ¨ Capra's Lady for a day ¨ , the former and early classic movie . First-range acting , especially by main actors : Bette Davis , Glenn Ford , Hope Lange , Peter Falk , Ann Margret but the secondary actors are also excellent : Edward Everett Horton , Thomas Mitchell , Arthur O'Connell , among others . Before Bette Davis accepted the role, Shirley Booth was Capra's first choice for boozy as well as brassy Apple Annie . Booth viewed the original version of the film, ¨Lady for a day¨(1933) , and informed director Frank Capra that there was no way she could match the Oscar-nominated performance of May Robson in the original film, and politely declined the role . According to the Bette Davis biography, 'Fasten Your Seatbelts', the actress was furious when she read a Glenn Ford interview in which the actor claimed to have gotten her the part because of the boost she had given him years before . After Glenn Ford was cast he helped finance the movie through his production company and he asked his sweetheart Hope Lange as Queenie . Direction by Frank Capra , in his last film , is very good , he had a lot of experience because of his previous classic films, such as ¨It's a wonderful life¨, ¨ Meet John Doe ¨, ¨ Mr Smith goes to Washington ¨ and several others. Rating : 7 , above average , well worth watching .
However, despite my complaint, the basic story itself is still excellent and couldn't help but produce a good movie. This one is sure worth watching, but if at all possible, find LADY FOR A DAY--it's a much better example of the magic of Frank Capra.
You never know what you get with collaborative efforts. It could be something like Gone With The Wind or Mister Roberts. Or it could be something as disastrous as Desire Me (go check my user comments on that one). Pocketful of Miracles falls somewhere in the middle of that. I still remember seeing it and enjoying it as a lad.
Originally Frank Capra wanted to do Pocketful of Miracles with Frank Sinatra with whom he had done good work in A Hole in the Head. Sinatra proved unavailable except to record the title song for a best selling record with a kid's choir.
Lady for a Day back in 1933 boasted the performance of May Robson as the disheveled Apple Annie who has the secret daughter in a convent school in Spain. All the panhandlers and street grifters chip in and support the girl who's about to marry into nobility. But she wants to visit her mother before the vows are taken. She thinks Robson is a society matron.
Stepping in and doing more than an adequate job in the remake is Bette Davis. Capra did put a curb on the Davis grand manner during her scenes as the apple seller in Depression era New York. And he gave her free reign as society matron, Mrs. Worthington Manley.
Robson got an Academy Award nomination for Lady for a Day. Pocketful of Miracles boasts an acting nomination itself in the Supporting Actor category. In this case for Peter Falk as Glenn Ford's second in command in his gang. Capra had nothing but praise for Falk as an actor in his memoirs. I agree, the man's range is astonishing, he's capable of a lot more than Lieutenant Columbo.
Capra gathered his usual outstanding group of identifiable supporting players including a few who've seen service with him before. This film marked the farewell performance of Thomas Mitchell who graced so many classic films for Frank Capra and others. He's wonderful as the smooth talking pool shark that Ford drafts into being Davis's husband.
One career ends, another begins; this was the debut film for Ann-Margret playing Davis's daughter. She even gets to sing to her intended, a rather stiff young actor named Peter Mann of whom little was heard after this. Both were given billing as being introduced in Pocketful of Miracles.
Both Lady for a Day and Pocketful of Miracles were based on a Damon Runyon short story and Runyon certainly lavished love on the Broadway characters he created. One of the problems I've always had with both versions of this story is that for all everyone's good intentions which surprise everyone, a fraud is being perpetrated here. Will there be a happily ever after ending when it's discovered?
I guess the moral of the story is that if you get enough VIPs involved in the fraud it's OK. That's not a great lesson to learn.
But when written by Damon Runyon and directed by Frank Capra it's not something we think about too much.
The pairing of Capra doing his treatment of a Runyon story is a natural.
This movie is one of my fond memories of childhood movie going.
Surrounded by a terrific supporting cast (in particular Peter Falk and Hope Lange), this movie weaves an almost fairy-tale like scenario. This is quite simply classic Capra fare that can