The Miracle of the Bells (1948)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Drama, Melodrama  |   Release Date - Mar 16, 1948 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Miracle of the Bells wants to be a heartfelt, moving tribute to the power of faith, and as such, some people, especially those with a strong religious connection, will find much in it to appreciate. Those who require a film to have more than good intentions, however, will not be so favorably inclined to it, and are liable to find it mawkish, manipulative and dramatically sterile. There's also something simply uncomfortable about watching a film involving a Hollywood press agent trying to get a shelved religious-themed film released in order to honor the deceased young star of the film. In other hands, it could make for an interesting satire; played entirely too straight as it is, it becomes a little hard not to think of the stereotypical anything-for-a-buck studio hacks in Hollywood and wonder whether they thought they could put one over on audiences with this one, simply because of its subject matter. All this aside, however, the fact is that the screenplay is simply terrible, the direction is turgid, and the performances are below par for this talented cast. A miscast Frank Sinatra is the worst, but Fred MacMurray's lethargic performance and Lee J. Cobb's stiff one are not tremendously better. Bells turns up quite frequently as a Christmas movie, and perhaps this is just as well; seeing it while filled with holiday spirit will make one more willing to overlook its many flaws.