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THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK

In 1944, THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK ($15) was writer-director Preston Sturgesí hilarious one-man assault on the Hays Office (the official censor of the motion pictures industry in that long ago era) and The Production Code.  THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK is a highly satirical comedy that tweaks the noses of the censors at every opportunity, yet Sturges is so subtle and so sophisticated in his offensive, that it is doubtful that the folks at the Hays office had any clue of what they were watching (otherwise how would this film been released during the WWII era). In typical Preston Sturges fashion, THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK takes potshots at revered American institutions, such as motherhood, marriage, family values, respect for the law, politics and virginity.

THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK is the tale of a small town girl who attends a USO dance the night before the soldiers of her town are sent off to fight in WWII.  The next morning she arrives back home in a stupor, and find herself pregnant by a soldier whom she married on a whim, but can no longer remember.  Betty Hutton is Trudy Kockenlocker, the girl with the big problem.  Eddie Bracken is Norval Jones, the poor schnook whoís in love with Trudy, and whom Trudy tries to trick into saving her good nameÖ by taking his.  William Demarest steals the movie out from everyone as Constable Kockenlocker, Trudyís somewhat clueless father, who imbues the film with hilarious bits of physical comedy.  The cast of THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK also includes Diana Lynn, Porter Hall, Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff, who reprise their roles from THE GREAT MCGINTY (sadly, still absent from DVD).

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK available on DVD in a terrific looking black and white transfer that frames the film in its proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio.  Whether the film elements are very well preserved, or a bit of digital voodoo has been applied to the transfer, Paramountís presentation of THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK appears very clean and virtually free from defects and other signs of age.  In general, the image is reasonably sharp and pretty nicely defined.  There is some softness, here and there, but it is never particularly bothersome.  Blacks are inky, whites are stable, plus the picture produces smooth contras and good grayscale. Again, the film elements appear exceedingly clean and there isnít too much noticeable grain.  Digital compression artifacts are always nicely contained. 

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack monaural soundtrack is perfectly fine for a film of this vintage.  Most signs of background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, which leaves a generally smooth sounding track.  Fidelity has all the expected limitations of a movie over six decades old; however, the track is never harsh or tinny.  Preston Sturgesí marvelous dialogue is easy to understand, even when the characters speaking it do overlap.  No other language tracks are provided, but English subtitles have been included.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of really nice extras.  Preston Sturges And The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek is a nearly fourteen minute program that looks at the legendary writer/director, his work and THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK in particular.  Censorship: Morgan's Creek Vs. The Production Code clocks in at seven minutes and looks at Hollywoodís self-imposed censorship and how Sturges managed to circumvent the code with THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK.

THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK is a hilariously brilliant comedy/satire from silver screen genius Preston Sturges.  Paramountís DVD looks and sounds great, so if you are a fan, youíll be more than thrill to be finally able to own your copy of THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK.  Highly recommended.

 

THE MIRACLE OF MORGANíS CREEK 


Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)

 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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