THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (1944) B/W 99m dir: Preston Sturges

w/Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn, William Demarest, Brian Donlevy, Akim Tamiroff, Porter Hall, Emory Parnell, Alan Bridge, Julius Tannen

From The Movie Guide: "Miraculously mad masterpiece. The marvel of THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK is how the film ever got made in the first place. This onslaught against American morals in small towns, against the wartime romances of servicemen, against just about everything that the country held sacred in WWII was reckless, exaggerated, and very funny. Sturges was at his irreverent best with his screenplay and direction of this most unlikely story. Hutton is Trudy Kockenlocker, a man-crazy blonde who lives with her bitchy sister Emmy (Lynn) and her policeman father (Demarest). She gets drunk during one wild, passionate night with a soldier, whom she thinks she may have married, and becomes pregnant. The soldier, who she recalls is named something like 'Ratsky-Watsky,' vanishes, and since being pregnant in a small town without being married is the worst thing that can happen in a girl's life, Trudy's sometime bank clerk boyfriend Norval (Bracken) is tapped to be the father of her child. In one mix-up after another, Norval winds up being sought by authorities for impersonating a soldier, forgery, corrupting the morals of a minor, kidnapping and robbery. It looks bad for the young couple, and the only thing that can save them is a miracle. It does.

"Every role is handled with deftness, and Sturges even gets in a few holdovers from an earlier success, THE GREAT MCGINTY, by having Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff stop by for a few well-chosen words. The idea of having squeaky-clean Hutton shown as a (shudder) girl with loose morals was a sensation that somehow eluded the censor's scissors. Some say that the plot managed to escape snipping because the picture was so funny that no one could take it seriously, but the truth is that this movie kept a tight grip on reality and that's what made it so hilarious. The manic Hutton, always an acquired taste, here gets a hilarious part that requires the frantic energy of a whirling dervish on speed. She was never better, and the same goes for the nervous Bracken, the grouchy Demarest and the wisecracking Lynn. Sturges, having begun his uninterrupted string of comic masterpieces in 1940 with MCGINTY, reached a peak in satirical zaniness with this one. Remade (sort of) in 1958 as ROCK-A-BYE BABY."

THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (Sturges).