The Miracle Man

  • 1932
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

This was a controversial story when originally written as a play by George M. Cohan, Frank Packard, and Robert Davis. It stayed a hot subject as a silent in 1919 and raised a lot of hackles as this 1932 sound film. Even today, there is much that is familiar in this story. A gang of thugs is working the Chinatown area in San Francisco. When one of them is...read more

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This was a controversial story when originally written as a play by George M. Cohan, Frank Packard, and Robert Davis. It stayed a hot subject as a silent in 1919 and raised a lot of hackles as this 1932 sound film. Even today, there is much that is familiar in this story. A gang of thugs

is working the Chinatown area in San Francisco. When one of them is knocked off, Morris (their leader) thinks he'd better flee until the heat is off and he goes to hide out in a small town on the windswept California coast. Once there, he learns of the powers of Bosworth, a local faith healer who

seems to be able to make the lame walk. Morris concocts a plan to bilk wealthy invalids out of their money by using Bosworth's ability on the air waves. Sydney poses as Bosworth's distant relative and brings in another of the gang members, Wray, to pose as a cripple who is healed by Bosworth. Wray

is, in fact, a contortionist who can twist his body into knots and can convulse at will. The scheme backfires when the gang members note that Bosworth's powers are real and people are actually healed. Then, one by one, they reform and, in the end, the money that Morris and company had hoped to use

for high living is put to work to build a chapel after Bosworth dies. Karloff is seen briefly as a Chinese tavern owner and it's interesting to note that Wray and not Karloff was touted as "the new Lon Chaney" in this film, and that it's Wray who takes the role played in the silent film by "The

Man of a Thousand Faces." Karloff's career had been sputtering and he attempted to jump-start it with this part. Bosworth is superb as the faith healer, a role originally set for Tyrone Power, Sr., but given to Bosworth when Power died before shooting began. Times have changed and television has

replaced radio, but you can still see scenes similar to this film's on any night's TV fare in the US. The 1919 silent version of this film was one of the films that brought Lon Chaney, Sr., to prominence. (He originated the John Wray-contortionist part.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This was a controversial story when originally written as a play by George M. Cohan, Frank Packard, and Robert Davis. It stayed a hot subject as a silent in 1919 and raised a lot of hackles as this 1932 sound film. Even today, there is much that is familia… (more)

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