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The Miracle Woman

Screening on Film
Directed by Frank Capra.
With Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Sam Hardy.
US, 1931, 35mm, black & white, 90 min.

My next picture would deal with the most controversial idea I could think of—religion! I asked Harry Cohn to buy me Bless You Sister, a satirical play inspired by Aimee Semple McPherson, and written by Robert Riskin, the brightest of the ‘young Turks’ Cohn had imported from New York. [….]

Miracle Woman, the film version, had a most powerful opening sequence—a promise of greatness. A stiff-necked country congregation had replaced their aging, old-fashioned pastor with an up-an-coming ‘modernist.’ Sunday morning the villagers gather to yawn through the old man’s last sermon. Instead, his daughter comes out, eyes flashing with hate. She mounts the pulpit. In a nutshell, this is what she says: ‘My father is not able to preach his last sermon. He just died in my arms. And you killed him. For thirty years he tried to touch your stony hearts with the mercies of God—and failed! Why? Because you don’t want God. And you’re right! There is no God […].” — FC

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