Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused for robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair...all in the same day.
After Florence Fallon's father dies unappreciated in the church where he preached for many years, she becomes embittered and loses faith. She teams up with Horsby, a con man, and performs fake miracles for profit. But the love and trust of a blind man restores her faith in God and her fellow man.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
"Beware of false prophets which will come to you in sheep's clothing 'The Miracle Woman' is offered as a rebuke to anyone who, under the cloak of Religion, seeks to sell for gold, God's choicest gift to humanity - FAITH," introduces this grand collaboration between director Frank Capra and Barbara Stanwyck (as Florence "Faith" Fallon). A pastor's daughter, Ms. Stanwyck opens the drama by taking her recently deceased father's congregation to task for causing his death. Among the worshipers is sleazy Sam Hardy (as Bob Hornsby). Impressed by Stanwyck's Biblical knowledge and preaching skills, Mr. Hardy offers to become her manager...
Stanwyck hears Hardy pontificate, "Religion is like everything else - great if you can sell it, no good if you can give it away." She becomes a successful Christian evangelist, delivering fiery sermons to her tabernacle flock and hosting a successful radio show. The money rolls in, but sister Stanwyck is filled with isolation and guilt. Meanwhile, suicidal songwriter David Manners (as John Carson) decides not to jump out of his window when he hears Stanwyck on the radio. Also a blind ventriloquist, Mr. Manners endeavors to meet Stanwyck. She mistakes him for one of her shills, and predicts God will cure his blindness. Eventually, he heals hers...
This should have been Stanwyck's first "Best Actress" notice. The "Academy Awards" were later kind, and the "New York Film Critics" joined them in recognizing her work in "Double Indemnity" (1944). However, in hindsight, "The Miracle Woman" is undeniably award-worthy. Also notable is fine work from Mr. Capra, who worked wonders with Stanwyck and co-star Manners, perfectly cast as the blind ventriloquist, along with skilled photography by Joseph Walker, and obviously strong supporting roles. The film feels like a Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger song come to life; like those, the story fascinates with a timeless relevance.
********* The Miracle Woman (7/20/31) Frank Capra ~ Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Sam Hardy, Beryl Mercer
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