Miracles for Sale (1939)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Release Date - Aug 14, 1939 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 71 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Merlini the Magician, Clayton Rawson's crime-solving illusionist, has been singularly ill-used by Hollywood, having appeared in a mere two films, "starring" in only one. Miracles for Sale compounds the oversight by rechristening Merlini as "Michael Morgan", in the person of Robert Young. The picture starts well, with a grisly political execution revealed to be an elaborate bit of stage magic perpetrated by the personable Morgan. The story then goes into a fraud and murder scheme perpetrated by Dave Duvallo (Henry Hull), whose consummate skill with makeup and Houdinilike escape devices comes in handy for phony spiritualist Madame Rapport (Gloria Holden). The film's highlight finds Morgan exposing several tricks utilized by magicians and fortune-tellers to gull the public, a sequence which incurred the wrath of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians, who took a dim view at having the secrets of their trade revealed for the cost of a movie ticket. Of historical interest is the fact that Miracles for Sale was the final directorial effort of Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks etc.)

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Keywords

illusion, investigation, killing, magic, medium [psychic], murder, occult, supernatural