The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Romance, War


The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943) Poster

After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity.


7.6/10
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Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges (original screenplay)

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17 April 2017 | AlsExGal
8
| The miracle is that this ever got past the censors
In the middle of WWII comes this film that is full of references to that war yet manages to undermine the usual image of the valiant warrior marching off to battle, suggesting that along the way one of them took advantage of a tipsy girl, maybe even drugged her drink from her lack of recollection of the evening that was supposed to be an innocent farewell dance for the soldiers, and left her pregnant from a one night stand, never to inquire about her again. In the 21st century date rape comes to mind. If it was even a date.

Now of course this soldier is never found or named. And instead a sanitized version of the story appears. What I wrote in the first paragraph is strictly between the lines. Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) is an underaged girl, probably late teens, back when legal age was 21, who is told by her widowed father, the town constable (William Demarest), that she is not to go to the farewell party because he rightly fears the rowdiness of the event. So Trudy says instead she will go to the movies with Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken). She knows he loves her and she is accustomed to using him, although she would probably never admit that to herself. So she borrows Norval's car, tells him she will pick him up after the last feature, but does not appear again until the next morning at 8AM, with a big blank where the latter part of the evening should be. As they drive away a "Just Married" sign falls off of the car's rear bumper, and when Trudy gets home she notices she is wearing a ring. Slowly, through the haze of memory, a "maybe" wedding comes back to her, but not the who or where. The trouble appears later when Trudy realizes she is pregnant by her anonymous husband, and she has no marriage license to prove her story.

As in any Sturges film, there is a veritable cornucopia of wonderful one liners, which can come from any and every member of the large comic ensemble cast, at any time. No scene is too sacred, including a wedding, or a father's viewing of his newborn children. As for the cast, Hutton plays it sweet and somewhat dizzy, showing that she could prevail in other genres besides musicals, Eddie Bracken plays it nervous and a bit over the top as the only man in Morgan's Creek between 18 and 40 who is not in the military because of his 4F status, and the always funny William Demarest is full of pratfalls and one liners and even compassion when it is called for as Trudy's exasperated dad.

Why does this remain in Paramount's possession when they sold off just about every other talking picture made between 1929 and 1949 to Universal? It is because, at the time, nobody believed anyone would ever allow this to be shown on TV.

Highly recommended.

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