The Miracle (play)
The Miracle (German: Das Mirakel) is a 1911 play written by Karl Vollmöller and directed by Max Reinhardt, from which three movie versions were later adapted. The play first appeared as a spectacle-pantomime in Germany in 1911.
The play opened in London in 1912 and was revived on Broadway in 1924 after a tour of Detroit, Milwaukee and Dallas. The New York version, which opened January 16, 1924 at the Century Theatre was produced by Morris Gest, and starred Rosamond Pinchot as the Nun and Lady Diana Cooper and Maria Carmi alternating nightly in the role of the Madonna.
The Miracle re-told an old legend about a nun in the Middle Ages who runs away from her convent with a knight, and subsequently has several mystical adventures, eventually leading to her being accused of witchcraft. During her absence, the statue of the Virgin Mary in the convent's chapel comes to life and takes the nun's place in the convent, until her safe return. The play launched the career of Maria Carmi who went on to star in 25 silent films.
The play has its origins in a 12th-century legend which Spanish writer José Zorrilla y Moral turned into a dramatic poem entitled Margarita La Tornera (Margarita the Gatekeeper). The poem differs from The Miracle in resetting the story in 19th-century Spain, as the 1959 film would do, and in not letting the reader know that the statue has taken the nun's place in the convent until nearly the very end. Zorrilla's poem was made into an opera by Spanish zarzuela composer Ruperto Chapí It was his last work before his death. The poem was also loosely adapted into a Spanish film, Milagro de amor, in 1946.
The play was adapted into film three times. The original authorized version was a British financed, full-length, hand-colored, black-and-white film The Miracle, filmed in Austria in 1912. In the same year an unauthorized German version was filmed, titled Das Mirakel. In 1959 the play was adapted to film a third time by Warner Brothers, again titled The Miracle, directed by Irving Rapper.
- New York Times, January 24, 1924.