Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)


“The trouble with kids is they always figure they're smarter than their parents”

            If you are a fan of Old Hollywood you would know that there were several taboo subjects that could not be addressed or even joked about. Marriage was often taken as a joke, well to a certain extent like two people accidentally getting married in a drunken stupor. Motherhood was never really taken as a joke because it was a serious duty for a woman back in the age of Old Hollywood. Well, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek take both marriage and motherhood and turns it into a free for all comedy.
            The film opens up on the governor of a state on the phone with a newspaper editor from the small town of Morgan’s Creek. The editor is frantic asking the governor for back up and more supplies because people will be flooding their town soon. When the editor finally reveals why he needs the supplies for the governor gets extremely excited and he wants the press called to the small town.
            Going back to Morgan’s Creek where everything all began: a group of soldiers looking for a date to a dance. It is to be their last dance before they leave for war. A girl on the street points them towards the record shop where Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) works. As soon as she sees the soldiers she has stars in her eyes. She agrees to go to the dance with the group of soldiers. As the soldiers walk out of the shop Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) walks in. Norval is in love with Trudy. He wishes he could be going to the dance but he is not a soldier. He has tried to enlist time and again but every time he goes to get his checkup he breaks out in spots because he gets so nervous.
            That night Trudy has gotten all ready to go out but her father is furious with her and will not let her leave the house. Trudy calls Norval to come get her. Her father knows Norval is a good guy who would not try anything with his daughter so he lets Trudy go out. Trudy has other plans. She just wanted Norval to come get her so she can go off and have some fun with the soldiers. She tells Norval to stay by the movie theater and she will be back to get him at 1:30.
            Trudy has more than a great time. She pulls up to the movie theater later than 1:30 in the morning. As she drives away a sign falls off her car that says “Just Married”. At home while sitting with her sister, Trudy recalls what she can remember of that night. She recalls someone mentioning something about getting married. She looks down at her hand to see a ring on her finger. Trudy cannot do anything because she gave a false name when she and one of the soldiers got married.
            With a lot of coaxing and nudging Trudy manages to get Norval to propose to her. She explains to him what has happened that she knows she got married. She needs Norval know because she is going to have a baby. After some thinking Trudy does not want to have Norval marry her because he loves her so much and he so nice. They decide to go get married at a Justice of the Peace out of town. They give false names but Norval messes everything up handing the JP a piece of paper with his real name on it. The JP thinks Norval is abducting Trudy because she is a minor. The police and a whole crowd of people bring Norval and Trudy home. Trudy’s father manages to get the JP to rip up the marriage certificate to make it look like the wedding never happened. Trudy and her sister finally break down and tell their father why she had to marry Norval. The father is a police officer he tells his girls that he can try to get Norval out of jail by making it look like he escaped. Norval is such an idiot he does not realize what is going on until Trudy and her sister show up at the jail.
            Months go by. Norval went to see if he could find the group of soldiers Trudy went out with but he was unsuccessful. He comes back to town. Trudy and her father and sister are living somewhere out of town. Norval is still wanted but he has to find Trudy. A storeowner was just about to take Norval to Trudy when the bank owner notices him and calls the cops. The storeowner tells Trudy that Norval is back in town. She feels so bad about what has happened to him. She has her father and sister bring her to town to explain everything to set Norval free.
            The sister rushes up to where her father is trying to talk to some of the council members to say Trudy needs to go to the hospital. Turns out Trudy has SIX babies! That is the reason the newspaper editor called the governor. The governor pardons Norval since he could not have it reported that the father of the towns new fame is in jail. No one knows besides Trudy, Norval, her sister, and father that the babies are not his. Poor Norval has a nervous breakdown when he sees the babies in the hospital.
            Oh my god I felt so bad for Norval! The poor guy got into something that he had nothing to do with in the beginning. If I were him and I saw those six babies I would have told Trudy goodbye she is on her own I did not sign up for this! My good lord six babies. I would have told the hospital to take them back I do not want that many. My one cousin has four month old twins and they are an absolute handful, never mind the thought of more than two babies. The story in the film did remind me of something my cousin and her husband were talking about: they have identical twin boys Aiden and Paul. I do not even know what got the conversation started but my cousin asked her husband if he could imagine when the boys are older a girl coming to the door telling them one of the boys got her pregnant. We all laughed and hoped to God that that does not happen.
            I was not crazy about The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and I think it had a lot to do with Eddie Bracken and the character of Norval Jones. Holy crow the actor and character were beyond annoying. Betty Hutton was good but not as good as the other films I have seen her. Now I know this was during World War II but almost half the film felt propaganda and it got annoying really fast.  I had heard so much about The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and how it was incredible that the story got by the censors. With Preston Sturgess as the director and Betty Hutton in the lead I was expecting a good film. I felt let down. Still do not let me and my negative feelings towards it keep you from seeing the film. It is worth watching at least once.