Miracle Of The Bells, The

2140. THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS (1948 USA). With FRED MacMURRAY, VALLI, FRANK SINATRA, LEE J. COBB. Not a dry eye will be left in the house at the conclusion of this delicately beautiful yet pointed drama. It also offers an opportunity to see what Ol’ Blue Eyes looks like in priests’ garb! Fred MacMurray is well-cast as Bill Dunnigan, veteran show biz press agent. At the outset he arrives in a dingy Pennsylvania coal town with a coffin, in it lies the body of Olga Treskovna, an actress on the verge of Hollywood stardom who has just passed away. Dunnigan explains that he was “just a friend” of the deceased, but clearly his relationship with her was much deeper and more complex that that of a casual companion. As the story unwinds we learn about the life of Olga Treskovna. There is her humble childhood and the character of her town’s various residents. There are Olga’s struggles as a clumsy young dancer attempting to make a success for herself in the harsh world of show business, and the manner in which Dunnigan impacts on her career. Even though you know of Olga’s fate from the outset, the film is crammed full of surprises and insights, and ultimately succeeds as a poignant story of faith and love. Sinatra has what may be his most unusual screen role as the humble Father Paul, a priest who heads a parish in which poverty is an old friend. Plus, along the way, he even gets to sing! This film was produced at a time when the House UnAmerican Activities Committee was clamping down on Hollywood regarding the content of its product. With this in mind, take note of the sequence in which a movie studio head pointedly affirms his patriotism during an argument with an ungrateful Polish (translate: foreign-born) actress. Because she trashes America, he is willing to close down her film during its production and lose millions. This sequence clearly is meant to make a point to the American public about the unassailable character of Hollywood mogul’s. 114 minutes. Drama