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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Miracle Of The Bells (1948)

A press agent (Fred MacMurray) accompanies the body of an actress (Alida Valli) to the small Pennsylvania coal town she was born in and where she requested to be buried. Because she was an unknown, the studio head (Lee J. Cobb) refuses to release her one and only film (a film on Joan Of Arc) because he doesn't think anyone will come to see a film with an unknown deceased actress. But the press agent has a plan that he hopes will force the studio's hand. This faith based fable is quite an oddity. I suppose audiences in the 1940s were more susceptible to this sort of twaddle (though maybe not, the film was a failure) but its far fetched premise is hard to swallow and the gullibility the film imposes on its small town characters as well as its audience is highly improbable. Alida Valli didn't have much luck with her brief Hollywood sojourn and films like this didn't do her any favors. The film does show the greedy side of the funeral industry, however. Directed by Irving Pichel (MOST DANGEROUS GAME) with a nice score by Leigh Harline. With Frank Sinatra as a poor parish priest, Harold Vermilyea, Philip Ahn and Veronica Pataky.

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