In the opening scenes of The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, Tracy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) is introduced as she is lipsyncing to a song recording of a deep bass. As the notes are held, she bends, crouches and wildly waves her arms.
Don’t be alarmed. You’ve just entered the hilarious comedic adventure that is The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. Often overlooked, this is a mad-capped, fast-paced, wildly funny picture directed by Preston Sturges (the man behind The Lady Eve and Sullivan’s Travels.)
Tracy, a small-town girl, is the darling of Morgan’s Creek. Her charm and pretty looks attracts attention everywhere she goes. So naturally, on the eve of a massive farewell party for the troops, Tracy’s protective father, Constable Kockenlocker (William Demarest) forbids her from attending. Desperate, Trudy calls upon her neurotic friend Norval Jones, played by Eddie Bracken, for help.
She pretends to go out with Norval, who is unfit for military because he sees “black spots” when panicked. Instead she borrows his car and after too much Victory “lemonade”, Trudy returns from her wild night with a few problems. She doesn’t remember the night before. It’s up to Trudy, her wise-cracking younger sister Emmy (Diana Lynn), and Norval to fix her mistakes, even if it means breaking the law.
What’s great about this picture, is how it is not only a genius comedy with sharp, suggestive dialogue, a cute love story, and hysterical physical aspects, but it is a social satire as well. Director and writer Preston Sturges uses to picture to comment on the pristine image of small town America.
This is by far my favorite Preston Sturges picture. The duo of Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken is perfect. And I love The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek a little bit more every time I see it.
Updated October 11, 2010