Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Miracle of Morgan's Creek|
Actors: Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn, William Demarest, Porter Hall
Director: Preston Sturges
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Military & War
After a wild farewell party for the troops, Trudy Kockenlocker, a small-town girl with a soft spot for American soldiers, wakes up to find that she married someone and can?t remember his name. Even worse, he?s disappeared... more »
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Westley | Stuck in my head | 04/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Betty Hutton stars in "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" as Trudy Kockenlocker, a young small-town girl. As the film opens, Trudy is extremely excited about an upcoming party to send off the local men to fight in WWII. She schemes to attend the party, despite being forbid by her overprotective father (the brilliant William Demarest). As the night goes on, the party gets more and more wild, ending in Betty unexpectedly married and pregnant. The only problem is that she cannot remember getting married or to whom. To solve her dilemma, she resolves to get married to a local boy, the inept and frightened Norval Jones, played by Eddie Bracken. The situation spins completely out of control from here.
"The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" was written and directed by the peerless Preston Sturges. The film is on par with his greatest, such as "Hail the Conquering Hero." Bracken would go on to star "Hail" as well, but his performance here is arguably his best. Playing the nerdy Norvel who "sees spots" when he gets nervous, Bracken is perfect. Betty Hutton also would never have a better role; unfortunately, she really never attained the status she deserved.
The film's humor is rather zesty, and the pregnancy plot is handled in a relative frank manner, making for a bit of a surprise for a 1940s movie. The script manages to be touching as well as funny, eliciting some genuine laughs. In particular, Diana Lynn steals the show as Hutton's precocious teen sister, Emmy. The chemistry between Emmy and her father is fantastic. The film deservedly received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), losing to "Wilson."
Despite its quality, "Miracle" is definitely not as well known as other Sturges classics. However, it stands up against the greatest comedies of this period; accordingly it was added to the US Film Registry in 2001. Highly recommended for fans of 1940s comedy as well as Preston Sturges devotees. Hopefully the film will be released on DVD soon, or else it may continue to be unjustifiably overlooked.
"...except once when I almost smothered."
Dymon Enlow | 04/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm normally not one to laugh out loud very much, but with THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK I couldn't help myself. I laughed so hard that not once but twice I had tears streaming down my face.
Norval Jones who's 4-F due to "the spots" is tragically in love with Trudy Kockenlocker. She knows of his love, but is more interested in the poor boys going off to war. One night after using Norval as a cover to get out of the house she goes partying with some soldiers, drinks too much spiked lemonade, bumps her head on a disco ball and ends up married to some guy she can't remember except that she thinks his name was Ratzkywatzky. She's also pregnant.
Broken hearted she tells Norval and after a screaming fit he agrees to help her. Hilarity and some of the craziest knee-shaking you've ever seen ensue.
Why is this movie not out on DVD? Or even better yet a Preston Sturges box set!
D: Preston Sturges (HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO, THE LADY EVE)
W: Preston Sturges (HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO, THE LADY EVE)
Norval Jones - Eddie Bracken (SUMMER STOCK, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO)
Trudy Kockenlocker - Betty Hutton (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, INCENDIARY BLONDE)
Emmy Kockenlocker - Diana Lynn (THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR, THE KENTUCKIAN)
Constable Kockenlocker - William Demarest (THE LADY EVE, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO)"
Funny and ground-breaking (in many ways)
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 11/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A smalltown goodtime girl named Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) goes off with a group of soldiers before they're sent off to war; the next morning she has vague memories of marrying one of them--someone, she says, like a name like "Ratzskywatzsky"--but with no memory of who exactly or where to find him. Soon after she finds out she's pregnant, and pressures the 4-F boy next door (Eddie Bracken) to help her out of her predicament.
All Preston Sturges comedies are worth your time if only because they all manage to be so funny while also being so innovative from a narrative perspective: Sturges loved playing with stories within stories, and yet does it so simply and hilariously as only to enhance the story's pleasure. (The framing device of the governor hearing the news and sorting all the problems out at the end as deus ex machina seems like a comic trick borrowing from Moliére.) But the story also broke tremendous ground by dint of its subject matter, which only barely got past the Hays Code censors; if you're familiar with the films of the time, the fact that Private Ratzskywatzsky never appears by the story's end to reclaim Trudy or their issue will seem astonishing. (All the same, the film was a huge hit.)
The film has much going for it besides Sturges's direction and writing. Not the least of these is Betty Hutton, who got perhaps the best role she ever had as the overenthusiastic Trudy. Hutton is all but forgotten today, but she was one of the few stars of Broadway musical comedy who made a very successful transition to Hollywood. Unlike Ethel Merman or Zero Mostel, whose enormous theatrical energies seemed artificial for the screen, Hutton succeeded because her over-the-top desperation seemed at its best (as here) incredibly sincere, and so her funniest moments are when she gives way so mercurially to her change of feelings with such zest and extremity. One of my favorite moments is when her father forbids her to go out to the dance with the soldiers; within a moment she goes from utter elation to blank depression, and she walks up the stairs with such disappointment in her spine that she's deeply endearing. Eddie Bracken's nervous nerdish comedy has aged less well than Hutton's hyperenthusiasm, perhaps, and the film suffers from its somewhat patronizing vision of smalltown life. (Sturges's comedies work best when he is making fun of sophisticates rather than just rubes, as in SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS or THE PALM BEACH STORY--he's at his best when he shows the wealthy and privileged to be just as apt towards enacting or being taken in by utterly harebrained schemes as is the middle class.) But the film has two fantastic assets in William Demarest as Trudy's crotchety father and Diana Lynn doing her funny specialty at adolescent knowingness as Trudy's incredibly sane younger sister. There's a great slapstick bit Sturges works up that whenever Lynn sasses her father Demarest tries to give her a flying kick in the pants, which he invariably mistimes so that he falls flat on his back."
One of the great comedies of the silver screen
Donna H. Winchell | Clemson, SC USA | 09/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a hilarious movie and ahead of it's time. I won't tell you what happens, because it's funnier if you don't know about the movie's plot. If you are wondering if the DVD quality is good, it's wonderful. And it's sixty years old. And the price is cheap. Buy this if you want a classic comedy."