Review: Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Outside of Peter Falk and Edward Everett Horton, everyone in Frank Capra’s final film is miscast. An overblown, overlong, charmless comedy.

My hat’s off to you if you can stand Glenn Ford for more than 15 minutes in any movie, most of all this one. He’s always struck me as the William Hurt of his generation. Very dull, very bland, always the same.

In this film he’s a little more overblown and out of control than usual, playing a gangster, laughably known as “Dave the Dude.” The Dude is superstitious by nature, and part of his daily ritual involves buying an apple from his good luck charm Apple Annie (Bette Davis), a street peddler who frequently takes a nip while serving as a kind of union leader for all the peddlers.

I can’t recall now how the script explains it away, but somehow Annie has a beautiful daughter living in Europe who Annie’s apple earnings have managed to put through finishing school. (Yeah. Right.) She of course, has no idea of her mother’s true situation, thinking instead that she’s some grand dame living in luxury. Complications ensue when the daughter (a squeaky Ann-Margret) announces her impending arrival to introduce mom to her fiance and his diplomat father. Yeah. Right. Again.

Bette Davis, Thomas Mitchell, Peter Falk, Edward Everett Horton in a story by Damon Runyon, directed by Frank Capra–you’d expect a lot more from this collection of talent. Ford spins off in every direction, fighting hot and cold with his showgirl girlfriend, a miscast Hope Lang. Falk and Everett Horton are shining points of comedy genius in the midst of a pretty dead weight movie that wears out its welcome long before it’s over. [** out of 5]

2 thoughts on “Review: Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

  1. I’ve never heard of this movie, but that’s no big surprise as I’m not much of a movie watcher.
    I love your comparison of Glenn Ford and William Hurt. It is perfect and explains to me why I’ve never cared for either of them. Bland, for sure.

  2. It looks like Glenn Ford just died because you said bad things about his acting. I hope you’re satisfied.
    I really had no idea he was stil alive.

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