The Miracle Woman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Miracle Woman Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2018
Barbara Stanwck really lets loose with her frustration and anger in this film's opening scene, as only she could. As she rails at the congregation from a pulpit, a reverend stands in the crowd and implores her to remember she's in the house of God. "What God? Who's God? Yours? This isn't a house of God! It's a meeting-place for hyporcrites!" she screams in reply.

Now, it is a little hard to believe when she then turns around and becomes a hypocrite herself, under the guidance of a con-man played well by Sam Hardy. The scenes of her evangelizing to the masses and over the radio are a little slow at first, but the film grew on me. What really makes it is Stanwyck falling for a blind man (David Manners) who was helped by one of her sermons. The scenes between the two are charming and romantic, including him doing some ventriloquism so that he can have his dummy express his feelings, and her playfully singing "The Farmer in the Dell" in a funny voice and breaking up laughing. That bit is so naturally it seems like we're seeing Stanwyck in her home, impromptu. She also sends him letters made with cut-out, raised letters so he can read them, which I thought was touching. David Manners is reasonably good at playing blind, and seems to get better as the film goes on, keeping up with Stanwyck.

Frank Capra is a great director, and uses interesting camera angles, slow pans to show a character's gaze, and cuts to minor characters making comments about what they (and we) are seeing. He can really put a finger on what touches us, for example, when Manners elaborately prepares himself so that he can pretend he's got his vision back, but Stanwyck eventually sees through him. Capra also builds to dramatic moments towards the end, though he's unfortunately heavy-handed in the expressions of 'true faith'. I'm not a big fan of that, but for me, the film is a love story, and about the miracle of love, more than anything else.
½ December 29, 2014
Barbra Stanwyck plays a phony evangelist named Florence 'Faith' Fallon. Sadly, this film is still very up to the minute. There are plenty of fake evangelists still at work taking money from good, religious people. It's kind of sad that a movie over 80 years old still mirrors problems that we have today... Darkly Luminous--Beware of false prophets which will come to you in sheep's clothing... 'The Miracle Woman' is offered as a rebuke to anyone who, under the cloak of Religion, seeks to sell for gold, God's choicest gift to humanity - FAITH"... Stanwyck Gets Capra's Blessing!!
September 24, 2014
good pre-code talkie
July 10, 2014
An early Capra melodrama with Stanwyck starring as a corrupt evangelist loosely based on Aimee Semple McPherson. She falls in love with blind veteran David Manners and has a change of heart, which doesn't sit well with the con man pulling her strings. Quite a few similarities to "Elmer Gantry", which was published a few years before this.
May 6, 2014
A disturbing early talking picture starting the great Barbara Stanwyck as an Aimee Semple McPherson type evangelist, pulls out all of the stops in her emotional performance. Any fan of hers, classic movies and Frank Capra should check this out.
December 9, 2012
Typical Capra but well worth watching
April 24, 2011
pre-code early talkie in this saucy melodrama
½ September 19, 2010
A strong enough story that manages to overcome alternately limp and showy handling by Capra. It's clear that he was still finding his feet with this film. Stanwyck is very good - David Manners is one of the least convincing blind people I've ever seen. I wonder if Richard Brooks looked to this when he tackled Elmer Gantry - there are a few similarities.
½ February 8, 2010
Barbara Stanwyck gives a powerful performance in the title role. Frank Capra does a fine job directing. It's a good story, with a great pace and characters that are very well developed.
½ February 8, 2010
Barbara Stanwyck gives a powerful performance in the title role. Frank Capra does a fine job directing. It's a good story, with a great pace and characters that are very well developed.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2009
a cynical capra film inspired by notorious evangelist aimee semple macpherson. a very young barbara stanwyck is great in one of her best early roles. it's similar in tone and plot to elmer gantry, another great film about religious hucksters based on macpherson, who lost most of her flock after faking her own kidnapping in 1926. you can tell this is precode as someone gets the bird lol
½ August 20, 2009
I surprisingly enjoyed this movie. It's a very well done complete movie with a very well written female lead. Stanwyck plays a woman angry at God and the Church for tossing her Minister father to the curb when he was sick and voices it. In her grief she ends up becoming the 30's version of a televangelist claiming to heal the sick. One day a young man who was blinded in an aviation accident is about to commit suicide... when he overhears one of her sermon's and stops himself. They meet and fall in love in a very sweet and believable way that feels very natural and sincere. She finally breaks away from the con routine and the two lovers get engaged and she finally finds peace as a Salvation Army girl.

This is one of Capra's preachy ones but it's much more subtle and interesting and naturalistic than his later ones were. I completely buy Stanwyck's transformation, motivation, and demeanor. The boyfriend even gets a great arc in finding joy in life despite his handicap and his maid is delightful as the comic relief.

A really great film if you can track it down. Early Capra really was quite good at make culturally unsympathetic characters really sympathetic.
June 14, 2009
Barbara Stanwyck had great talent and range, and Capra tells a story like no one can. This is an early example of these two awesome talents.
½ May 18, 2009
Another story of loss and failure turned to sucess. Then back again but earning the enlightenment that comes from the journey. This seems like a true story added with Capra's hopefull touches and glossed over with a veil of hollywood glamour. I love Barbara Stanwyck in almost anything and she does just fine playing the slightly nieve preachers daughter lead astry by a con man into a life of a evangelist. I liked the lead man's portrayal of a man blinded by the war and crushed by his failing music career. It might of been nice to hear his music or see him play since music seemed so important to him. I liked his ventrilqism thou it did confuse me a bit since he was suposed to be musically inclined but instead threw his voice maybe this is some kind of metaphor? In the 1 1/2 hr of the story this is just a detal so it would be a shame to ignor the rest of the film for a small inconsistancy like this.
½ April 17, 2009
The legend of director Frank Capra certainly exists here, as this early talkie looks and feels far too ahead of it's time for a 1931 release! While it may feel a little ordinary it is a benchmark of Hollywood filmmaking and a formula copied time and time again.
½ November 10, 2008
Barbara Stanwyck, once again, is fabulous as an evangelical preacher scamming communities by performing fake miracles. Her & David Manners have great chemistry, and the final scene with Stanwyck screaming over the fire is wonderfully intense. Capra's cinematography is also very good, particularly the silhouettes you get with Stanwyck and Manner in the apartment.
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