The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (September 30/05)
While The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is far from terrible, there's no denying that it's an extremely dated and thoroughly mediocre piece of work. Writer/director Preston Sturges imbues the film with a frenetic pace and broad instances of comedy, but comes up short in terms of giving the audience a single character worth rooting for.
Eddie Bracken stars as Norval Jones, a hopelessly nice guy who's been lusting after Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) since the two were teenagers. Trudy just doesn't think of Norval in that way, though, and uses the poor sucker as an excuse to get out of her father's house to attend a dance. When Trudy finally returns from the soiree, she's married and pregnant - and has absolutely no idea who her new husband is. This leaves Trudy with no choice but to use her feminine wiles to convince Norval to marry her, thus allowing her to save face in front of her father (and the entire town, for that matter).
Not surprisingly, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek has the feel of a typically fast-talking '40s comedy, complete with overly clever bits of dialogue and wacky pratfalls. And while there are a few jokes that work, the majority of this stuff just isn't funny (ie the irreverent cameos by both Mussolini and Hitler) - a problem that's exacerbated by the exceedingly broad performances. This is particularly true of Bracken's over-the-top portrayal of Norval, which doesn't contain an ounce of subtlety and successfully transforms the character into a flamboyant caricature.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek has - over the years - gained the status of a classic, which is awfully high praise for a film that's pretty much instantly forgettable (although, to be fair, it's clear that the movie will have a much more positive effect on fans of this kind of comedy).