Review: ‘The Miracle Woman’

Film has two unusual aspects. One is its basic theme of an expose on evangelism. The other is a punch sequence at the opening, perhaps the strongest scene the feature possesses.

Film has two unusual aspects. One is its basic theme of an expose on evangelism. The other is a punch sequence at the opening, perhaps the strongest scene the feature possesses.

Frank Capra’s direction has practically wasted nothing as he traces the girl through her exhortatory racket to the thrill finish of a tabernacle blaze which, from the mob standpoint, has been exceedingly well handled.

There isn’t much doubt that Capra can do more with Barbara Stanwyck than any other director. Her performance here is splended in unfolding plenty of fire, balanced by undertones of instinctive character softness and mood as she slowly falls in love with a blind boy who becomes one of her ardent followers [based on the play by John Mechan and Robert Riskin].

The punch start is a country church on a Sunday morning in which the ruling faction has decided to secure a new and younger minister. Stanwyck is the deposed reverend’s daughter who takes the pulpit to read her father’s valedictory after 20 years of service. Half way through the message she stops and sobbingly announces that her father died at this point. Follows her launching of a tirade, berating the church members for their action and shortcomings.

The Miracle Woman

Production

Columbia. Director Frank Capra; Producer Frank Capra; Screenplay Jo Swerling, Dorothy Howell; Camera Joseph Walker; Editor Maurice Wright

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1931. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Barbara Stanwyck David Manners Sam Hardy Beryl Mercer Russell Hopton Charles Middleton
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