This is one of the best comedies ever made! In trying to under gird my argument, I ran up against that old saying about comedy attributed to E.B. White – Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.
But I’ll try anyway.
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) follows Trudy (Betty Hutton), a small town girl who, in a drunken haze, marries an anonymous military man who is deployed the next day. She cannot remember his name and soon discovers she’s pregnant (and might not be married). She convinces the boy-next-door, Norval (Eddie Bracken), to help her keep the secret from her father (William Demarest).
On the face of it, it’s not funny at all.Yet somehow it had me laughing like crazy .
Why is this one of the best comedies ever?
- It has clever writing and direction by the legendary Preston Sturges. You cannot go wrong watching one of his films.
- The story is ripped straight from the headlines of the newspaper, making it current for its audience. Finding the lighter side of a very serious and well-ruminated subject is refreshing.
- Betty Hutton’s zany brand of comedy is tamped down to a manageable size since her character must mope around most of the time. Hutton is at her most hilarious in movies like this when she is not straining for a laugh.
- Diana Lynn is on hand as the wise-beyond-her-years little sister. Her stoic delivery cracks me up.
- This is a movie for and about 4Fs and other people who feel left behind, abandoned, not the center of attention, etc. Norval is a guy who has been passed over in many ways in his life, he’s the guy who never gets the girl, the one who is forever frozen in the “friend zone.” But he gets the girl – and then some – fairly early on in the film. Now what does he do? Not many films that I can name off hand have a genuine (and comic) soft spot for 4Fs.
- Diana Lynn plays another sassy young girl in The Major and the Minor (1942)with Ginger Rogers.
- Watch anything written or directed by Preston Sturges. Sullivan’s Travels (1941), The Lady Eve (1941) ... it doesn’t matter. Just watch it. He’s good.