THE COCKEYED MIRACLE (1946)
Article #698 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-11-2003
Posting Date: 7-11-2003
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
Featuring Frank Morgan, Keenan Wynn, Cecil Kellaway
A man dies and meets his father, who is ready to escort him to heaven. However, he doesn’t want to leave until he helps his family solve some of their problems.
About fifteen minutes into this movie, I became suspicious that I was watching a movie adaptation of a stage play, and sure enough, that’s just what it is. Actually, in some ways, though, that really isn’t a problem here; the cast is talented and do all they can to bring the play to life. The big problem here is the play itself; the script is contrived, repetitive and predictable, and the comedy is strained and tiresome. Ultimately, one of the main problems in the story is that the dead men can only influence the outside world by causing storms, so naturally the plot bends over backwards to set up situations where that is exactly what must be done to solve a problem. Unfortunately, we get an endless series of scenes where the dead characters yell at the living characters in order to get them to do something to no avail, and this gets positively annoying, especially during the last twenty minutes of the movie. The actors do their best; in particular, Gladys Cooper manages to imbue her character with a sense of real strength and depth (fortunately, she doesn’t have to try to contend with the lame dialogue) and Keenan Wynn actually manages to wring some good laughs out of his lines, but ultimately they lose out to a poor storyline. I cannot recommend this movie, but if you do watch it, keep an eye out for Morris Ankrum as a doctor.