The Man Who Could Work Miracles

  • 1936
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Although billed as a comedy, this followup to THINGS TO COME (which was filmed earlier, but released afterward) is more of a whimsical social drama without many laughs. Three gods look down on Earth and try to decide if the place is worth keeping. Sanders, Thatcher, and Brandt choose a most unlikely Earthling, Young, a mild, meek draper's assistant in Essex,...read more

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Although billed as a comedy, this followup to THINGS TO COME (which was filmed earlier, but released afterward) is more of a whimsical social drama without many laughs. Three gods look down on Earth and try to decide if the place is worth keeping. Sanders, Thatcher, and Brandt choose a

most unlikely Earthling, Young, a mild, meek draper's assistant in Essex, England, and bestow upon him miraculous powers to see if absolute power will corrupt absolutely. He is soon doing what appear to be little magic tricks, making items appear and disappear, turning a lamp over in mid-air, etc.

When he comes to the realization that his powers are limitless, Young wants to alter the course of humanity, to stop wars and illness, to make the world a utopia. Richardson, a somewhat deranged ex-colonel, thinks that this would be a mistake, so he goes after Young with a gun, only to find that

the man has made himself bullet-proof. Despite his abilities, Young can't affect people's emotions, so he is unable to get shopgirl Gardner to love him. He causes a policeman to go to Hell, then to San Francisco. He cures a young woman of freckles. He eventually creates a great palace from which

he will rule the Earth. He brings all the people to that place and tells them of his plan, but they simply don't believe he has the power he claims, despite finding themselves in his castle with no knowledge of how they got there. To demonstrate his might, Young orders the Earth to stop rotating,

but the result is that the crowd flies off the Earth and begins tumbling in space. Since Young is impervious, he is able to shout his final wish, that he be returned to the little pub where this all began and that matters go back to where they were with no one remembering what has happened. Young

is left with the feeling that it may have all been a figment of his imagination. The going gets heavy as Wells makes the point that Utopia can never be achieved because the world is not ready for it. The film features exceptional special effects that would cost millions today, but the whimsy wears

a bit thin after a while. The film is fondly recalled by those who haven't seen it lately. Lajos Biro was not credited for his contribution to the screenplay. Sources conflict on the actress who played the role of Effie Brickman; some credit Joan Hickson while others attribute Gertrude

Musgrove.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Although billed as a comedy, this followup to THINGS TO COME (which was filmed earlier, but released afterward) is more of a whimsical social drama without many laughs. Three gods look down on Earth and try to decide if the place is worth keeping. Sanders,… (more)

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