A Few Words About A few words about... The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    Preston Sturges was not a prolific director, although his hand as a wrtiter can be found credited and not, in a number of other director's projects.

    Paramount's release of his comedy opus, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is a cause of celebration from these quarters, as this beautifully crafted production has lost none of its exuberance and dynamism over the decades.

    For those unfamiliar with the dozen or so films left to us by Mr. Sturges, or those who may have only seen Sullivan's Travels because of its earlier availability on DVD, I can only suggest that you attempt to catch up with the five or six currently available on DVD. Until it arrives in a proper incarnation, I would recommend staying away from the public domain release of Harold Diddlebock.

    Paramount has created a beutifully rendered DVD, which along with the feature offers two short featurettes, both of which have much to offer.

    About fifteen years ago, while having a quiet breakfast in the tiny dining room of my hotel in L.A., an older gentlement arrived and sat at the table next to mine. I recognized him as Mr. Bracken, and introduced myself. I recall that he seemed surprised that he might even be recognized, but, as we were both dining alone, was more than happy to discuss his work. Until that point, I had only seen a few of his film, inclusive of his two for Mr. Sturges.

    Watching this again on DVD, and seeing his interview footage, I'm reminded of what a kind, gentle and naturally funny man he was. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is a fine way to become acquainted with his work, and is also a fine starting point for the incredible Mr. Sturges.

    The dialogue in this film, with its verbally, overlapping performances by Mr. Bracken, Ms. Hutten, Ms. Lynn and Mr. Demarest are alone worth the price of admission -- in this case, again thanks to Paramount...

    under $10.

    This film could not be more highly recommended. Miracle of Morgan's Creek is one of the great farcial comedies not only of the 1940s, but of film, period.

    It arrives September 6.

    RAH
     
  2. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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  3. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the report, Robert. I pre-ordered this title as soon as it became available and can't wait to receive it. Kudos to Paramount for finaly releasing this one ... and at a great price. I hope it will entice Sturges novices to check it out. Any Preston Sturges is a cause for celebration.

    Now, we can hope that Universal will release the three remaining major films (or license them to Criterion, as they did with two other classics, The Lady Eve and Sulivan's Travels [Criterion has also released Unfaithfully Yours, courtesy of Fox]):

    Christmas in July (1940)
    The Great McGinty (1940)
    Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

    For the all-region capable, tomorrow, Universal UK will be releasing a 7-film box set entitled
    Written and Directed by Preston Sturges (reviews are available at that link). For those in the US, this set is pricey (retail: about $125), but it's nice to see Sturges finally getting the attention he deserves. The US is unlikely to get this 7-disc set since two of the films have been licensed to Criterion, and The Palm Beach Story has already been released separately. But it makes it more likely that Universal will release the other four films in the near future.
     
  4. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK has been on the boards since before Mr. Bracken's death, and I wonder if any effort had been made to persuade the reclusive Ms. Hutton's participation (this and INCENDIARY BLONDE were her favorite films). Sturges' finale out-ex-Deus-Machinas Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Sturges was almost the antithesis of Capra) and the ingenuity of Sturges here is comparable to his SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks for the story Mr Harris.

    Consider this bought
     
  6. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    My copy shipped yesterday, and man oh man, I can't wait to get it. I've become a Sturges die-hard thanks to DVD (with The Lady Eve sitting on my all-time favorite film list). No single director was so great over such a short period of time (1940-45). This masterpiece is just one more piece of that puzzle to fall into place. Now we just need The Great McGinty and Hail, The Conquering Hero.
     
  7. ChrisPearson

    ChrisPearson Second Unit

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    And Christmas in July, The Great Moment, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock and The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend.
     
  8. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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  9. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    An idea for Criterion: Release THE POWER AND THE GLORY (1933)--his most provocative and innovative screenplay on a double feature with THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND (1949) as an example of the beginning and end of his film career in Hollywood.

    Does anyone know if PORT OF SEVEN SEAS (1938) still exists? It's Sturges's adaptation of Pagnol's FANNY--directed by James Whale--with Wallace Beery, Frank Morgan, Maureen O'Sullivan, and John Beal. I've made many requests for it to TCM without any luck. Nice "special feature" if they get around to doing the 1961 version of FANNY.
     
  10. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    DVD Beaver has posted their review of The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, about which they write:

    The screen captures look beautiful. Nice job, Paramount!
     
  11. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I got mine last Friday night, and I've watched it 3 times since. Needless to say, it's really a masterpiece.

    The disk is very valuable to me, because I met Eddie Bracken when I was the rehearsal pianist for a production of Show Boat at the Papermill Playhouse in NJ (which was televised). He starred as Cap'n Andy, and I got to know him as a lovable and completely modest and disarming man.

    His presence on this disk really makes it valuable.
     

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