Miracle of Morgan's Creek

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

4.0 1
Director: Preston Sturges

Cast: Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn

     
 

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The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is the only sound film made before 1949 at Paramount that is still owned by that studio; all of the rest were sold to Universal to shore up that studio's television library, and the reason that The Miracle of Morgan's Creek wasn't sold was, so the story goes, because at the time of the deal, in the mid-'50s, it was assumed

Overview

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is the only sound film made before 1949 at Paramount that is still owned by that studio; all of the rest were sold to Universal to shore up that studio's television library, and the reason that The Miracle of Morgan's Creek wasn't sold was, so the story goes, because at the time of the deal, in the mid-'50s, it was assumed to be too racy ever to be shown on television. Well, we all know what happened to television, and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek hasn't raised an eyebrow in many a year. It's now arrived on DVD in respectable (if not exactly first-cabin) treatment -- a killer transfer, as sharp as any movie of its era and from an excellent source, with great sound to boot. It's supported by a pair of documentary shorts going into various aspects of the movie's production and director/author Preston Sturges' way of working and his method of coping with the censorship of the time. One wishes there were a full commentary track, but the observations by various scholars, leading man Eddie Bracken (who has since passed on), and Sturges' widow are well worth hearing in this setting, intercut with scenes from the movie. It's enjoyable and adds to the appreciation of the film, but a commentary track is still called for. The 98-minute movie has otherwise been treated well, with 14 chapters breaking down its action and plot adequately. The disc opens on a two-layer menu that's easy to maneuver.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Of all the comedies made in the 1940s by writer-director Preston Sturges, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is likely the funniest. It's a rib-tickling romp from the first frame to the last, loaded with this filmmaker's patented blend of dazzling wordplay and dizzying slapstick. Betty Hutton plays a small-town girl who does her patriotic duty by entertaining soldiers about to depart for World War II. After too many drinks and a clunk on the noggin at an all-night party, she wakes up unable to remember anything -- except that she and one of the just-departed G.I.s, swept up in the enthusiasm of the moment, got married under assumed names. Before long she learns that she's pregnant, which further complicates matters. Eddie Bracken plays her rescuer, a longtime admirer stuck in Morgan's Creek during the war because he's 4-F. William Demarest has a showy supporting role as the girl's perpetually apoplectic father, and he takes some bone-crunching pratfalls to punctuate Sturges' gags. The film was rather daring for its day; Hutton's plight, while hardly extraordinary in real-life America at the time, was not exactly the stuff of mainstream Hollywood comedies. (The hoops and rewrites Sturges had to jump through to get the story past the strict Hayes Code censors are documented in one of the DVD's swell bonus featurettes.) But the inspired treatment made Miracle relatively innocuous, and by today's standards it's positively tame -- in regard to subject matter, that is. The humor is Sturges at his zaniest, especially as the story draws nearer its wildly improbable (but somehow fitting) conclusion.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In 1944, with the restrictive Hays Code very much in effect, the mere fact that Preston Sturges was allowed to make The Miracle of Morgan's Creek was remarkable in itself. After all, a comedy about a girl who gets drunk at a party with a bunch of soldiers and wakes up the next morning hung over and pregnant, with no memory of who the guilty party might be (except that his name sounded like "Ratzywatzy"), hardly conformed to Hollywood's ideal of womanly virtue. But while the film's audacious content was out of the ordinary in its day, its lasting importance comes from the fact that it's a very, very funny movie. Sturges' superb ear for dialogue is in evidence throughout, as is his knack for bringing out the best in his cast: Betty Hutton gives the best and funniest performance of her career, while Eddie Bracken's work is rivaled only by his turn in Sturges' other 1944 masterpiece, Hail the Conquering Hero. If the premise seemed daring, Sturges gleefully heaped absurdity after absurdity upon it, to the point where even Norval and Trudy are barely able to keep track of their own hare-brained scheme to retain Trudy's good name (as well as that of Mr. Ratzywatzy, wherever he is). While the movie can be accused of playing Trudy's unwed pregnancy for laughs, she certainly seems painfully aware of the gravity of her situation, no matter how funny the circumstances it puts her through. And the scene between Trudy and Norval shortly after she's given birth is sweet and unexpectedly moving, as, after a genial assault on propriety, we're reminded in all sincerity of the simple power of love between two people. In Sturges' best movies, people do ridiculous things but somehow land on their feet; his characters rarely fell farther, or landed with more unexpected aplomb, than in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.
New York Times - Dave Kehr
Here is one of the comic masterpieces of the American cinema... presented in a superb print for the highly reasonable list price.... So just buy it already.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/06/2005
UPC:
0097360431247
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:38:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Preston Sturges and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek; Censorship: Morgan's Creek vs. the production code

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eddie Bracken Norval Jones
Betty Hutton Trudy Kockenlocker
Diana Lynn Emmy Kockenlocker
William Demarest Constable Kockenlocker
Brian Donlevy Governor McGinty
Porter Hall Justice of the Peace
Al Bridge Mr. Johnson
Emory Parnell Mr. Tuerck
Akim Tamiroff The Boss
Victor Potel Newspaper Editor
Esther Howard Sally
Almira Sessions Justice of the Peace's Wife
John Farrell MacDonald Sheriff
Julius Tannen Mr. Rafferty
Frank Moran First M.P.
Georgia Caine Mrs. Johnson
Torben Meyer Doctor
George H. Melford US Marshal
Budd Fine 2nd MP
Jan Buckingham Nurse
Nora Cecil Head Nurse
Chester Conklin Pete
Jimmy Conlin The Mayor
Hal Craig State policeman
Roger Creed State Police
Joe Devlin Mussolini
Robert Dudley Man
Byron Foulger McGinty's Secretary
Kenneth Gibson Secret Service man
Arthur Hoyt McGinty's Secretary
Judith Lowry Nurse
Jack Norton Man Opening Champagne
Keith Richards Secret Service man
Harry Rosenthal Mr. Schwartz
Freddie Steele Soldier
Bobby Watson Adolf Hitler

Technical Credits
Preston Sturges Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Charles Bradshaw Score Composer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Ernst Fegte Art Director
Stuart Gilmore Editor
Hugo Grenzbach Sound/Sound Designer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Sigmund Krumgold Musical Direction/Supervision
Walter Oberst Sound/Sound Designer
John F. Seitz Cinematographer
Stephen Seymour Set Decoration/Design
Leo Shuken Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
1. Hold the Presses [3:30]
2. The Prettiest Girl in Town [6:26]
3. Out to the Picture Show [6:06]
4. Kiss the Boys Goodbye [6:55]
5. I Can't Remember [5:12]
6. Mrs. Ratzkiwatzki [4:31]
7. In Terrible Trouble [11:24]
8. What's the Matter With Bigamy? [7:57]
9. Ignatz [5:24]
10. Man and Wife [8:54]
11. Under Arrest [4:55]
12. Jailbreak [7:47]
13. Merry Christmas [7:24]
14. Surprise Packages [11:58]

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The Miracle of Morgan's Creek 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago