The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1937)

Genres - Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Message Movie  |   Release Date - Feb 8, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 82 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Man Who Could Work Miracles is a cheerful excursion into somewhat whimsical science fiction -- "somewhat" because it is more the treatment than the subject matter itself that is whimsical. Indeed, the basic messages behind Miracles are familiar ones of H.G. Wells: that mankind must find some way to end its obsession with wars and pointless aggression, that the differences between people make it impossible for one point of view to always prevail, and that absolute power by itself cannot bring about a utopia. But director Lothar Mendes treats most of this with a very light touch, helping to keep some of the preachiness at bay and therefore rendering it all the more effective. The plot itself is rather delightful and the screenplay has a number of inventive elements, starting with the trio of gods that open the film. Miracles also benefits from the performance of Roland Young in the title role, who is perfect as the non-descript, average "little" man suddenly elevated to heights of unimaginable power. What may be a surprise to modern audiences is how well the special effects have held up. While not on par with today's computer-generated work, they are still quite impressive and add considerably to The Man Who Could Work Miracles' impact.