Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Another Early Present: The Miracle of the Bells

My friend John was channel surfing when the words "Wilkes Barre"  jumped out at me.  One of our St. Stanislaus parishioners had just returned from a family visit there.  TMC was airing the 1948 movie "The Miracle of the Bells".  We consulted the NY Times viewing guide, which described the film as "Ding dong ghastly."  Set in a small municipality nicknamed "Coaltown,"  the movie contained all of the basic elements and glorious incongruities that made St. Stanislaus Kostka and Our Lady of Vilnius so special.
  • A humble and holy priest who refuses money, played by Frank Sinatra, who sang a Polish song in English.
  • A luminous and saintly Polish actress played by Italian actress Alida Valli, who sang the same Polish song in Polish.
  • A platoon of extras who were real Eastern European coal miners
  • A church, St. Michaels, atmospherically similar to OLV and St. Stan's
  • Class disitinctions
  • A venal priest who seeks money
  • A rich burgher who complains about church bells
  • A miracle that could have been explained away scientifically, but wasn't
  • The conversion of many hearts
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Russell Janney.  I thought the movie was "Ding dong great!"   Here is the song Powrot/Ever Homeward as sung in the movie.  Hit it, Frank:

No comments: