The Miracle (1959)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Period Film, Religious Drama, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although The Miracle is based upon a rather legendary stage production by Max Reinhardt, this film version is a rather free adaptation that conveys little of the epic religious quality that was purportedly a key element of the theatrical production. Instead, what one gets is an annoying pseudo-religiosity which is used in a most pretentious manner and which succeeds only in giving the film a message that is at odds with the beliefs of the Catholic Church it would seem to represent: that God is quite happy to smite innocents with plagues and death merely to bring a wayward postulant back into the fold of the convent. Frank R. Butler's screenplay is a hodgepodge of incidents in search of a credible plot, stock characters and heaps of portentous symbolism. The dialogue is exactly what one would expect from such a description. Irving Rapper's direction is uninspired and insipid, which means that the already long film seems even longer. In the leading role, Carroll Baker looks as beautiful as one could wish, but she's too cold for the character she plays and not a strong enough actress to provide the anchor that Miracle very clearly needs. A young Roger Moore is also physically striking but can do little with the role he is given. The supporting cast is made up of good actors, but they too have to struggle against the material. The only elements that can be considered truly successful are Elmer Bernstein's atmospheric score and Ernest Haller's striking cinematography.