The Miracle Man (1932 film)
|The Miracle Man|
|Directed by||Norman Z. McLeod|
|Written by||George M. Cohan
Robert Hobart Davis
Frank L. Packard
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
The Miracle Man is a 1932 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Norman Z. McLeod, starring Sylvia Sidney and Chester Morris, and featuring Boris Karloff. It is a remake of the 1919 film of the same name. The film was originally supposed to star Tyrone Power Sr, as the Preacher/Patriarch, but he died before major filming got underway. His part was then completed by Hobart Bosworth.
Doc, a crook in Chinatown, must flee when Nikko, a local bazaar owner, gets fresh with Doc's accomplice, Helen Smith, and Doc nearly kills him. Using the name John Madison, Doc hides out in Meadville, California, where he meets the Patriarch, a faith healer. Hoping to capitalize on the Patriarch's reputation, Doc sends for Helen to pose as the Patriarch's grand niece, Helen Vail, and she is joined by fellow crooks Frog, a contortionist, and Harry Evans, a pickpocket. Doc stages a mock miracle in which Frog is "transformed" from a crippled state to perfect health. At the same time, however, the Patriarch heals real cripples Bobbie Holmes and Margaret Thornton, who has come to Meadville with her millionaire brother Robert for the Patriarch's miracle cure. The miracles cause a great fervor, and Doc collects money in Helen's name from scores of believers, ostensibly to build a chapel. Robert falls in love with Helen, and one night, they get stranded on his yacht and Doc flies into a jealous rage, planning to kill Robert. Later, the Patriarch is nearing death, and Helen, Frog and Harry refuse to support Doc's extortion efforts. Doc is about to abscond with the chapel money, when Robert tells him he proposed to Helen, but was turned down because she loves Doc. Suddenly sorry for his greed, Doc returns the money and swears his love to Helen as the Patriarch dies.
- Sylvia Sidney as Helen Smith
- Chester Morris as John Madison
- Robert Coogan as Bobbie Holmes
- John Wray as The Frog
- Ned Sparks as Harry Evans (as Ned A. Sparks)
- Hobart Bosworth as The Patriarch
- Lloyd Hughes as Robert Thornton
- Virginia Bruce as Margaret Thornton
- Boris Karloff as Nikko
- Irving Pichel as Henry Holmes
- Frank Darien as Hiram Higgins
History and reception
This film had a mixed but mostly poor reception. It was the remake of the lost 1919 Lon Chaney film. This film used the same plot as the 1914 stage play by George M. Cohan which was not a hit. The film was expected to be a big hit being the remake of a film that made Chaney a star and some passed John Wray (The Frog) off as "the new Lon Chaney".
Gail Kane, who Played Helen in the original Broadway play by Cohan, is the Woman in the Photograph of The Patriarch's sister
Lon Chaney Biographer Michael F. Blake has seen this film back in the 1980s. The film was screened publicly back in 2008, twice.
- "The Miracle Man". NY Times. Retrieved August 9, 2015.