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Let's watch: THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS tonight on TCM!


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There's a film that moved me, and I cried a lot of tears over it. I watched it for the first time about three years ago. I knew I felt something watching it, but I wasn't sure what. I would mention it occasionally but I just moved on to other films.

 

I found the title recently on Amazon Prime and put it on my watchlist. I figured I would watch it again, not exactly sure when. So a few nights ago, I couldn't sleep and I turned the TV on and played this movie. It started to work its magic on me all over again.

 

I thought about it all day and when I arrived home from work I sat down and watched it again. I wanted to figure out why it was magical and why it moved me so much emotionally.

 

It worked its magic on me even more. In fact, I am getting emotional just thinking about it right now. The leading man's voice overs are so involving. We share his every thought and feeling. The leading actress dies half way through the picture and her death scene, which is actually a death scene before a death scene because she is an actress playing a woman about to die, before she actually dies herself-- is pure, raw, and so honest. She dies in a fire, with tears streaming out her eyes and down her cheeks. The tears were flowing from my eyes too, watching it. What exquisite acting.

 

Then the best part of the film occurs. Where the leading man tries to convince the studio to release the dead actress' movie and does all this while staying in her hometown as her body awaits burial. 

 

I mean, for all intents and purposes this rather morbid story should not work. But it does work, in every way imaginable and then some. 

 

There probably isn't a five minute stretch that goes by in this movie, especially in the second half where you cannot feel this deep pain and this deep love. 

 

They just do not make movies like this anymore. Or maybe it's that I forgot how to get involved in a classic film story. This picture restored my faith in the power of cinema, and in the power to feel something with characters that were played so many years ago by actors now dead themselves and producers, writers and a director also now dead. They're all dead. But this film lives on and its love story is very there and very here and very real.

 

I hope everyone finds a film that matters like this one does to me.

 

 

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Miracle of the Bells (1948)?

Yes.

 

I decided to buy a DVD copy of it in case Amazon Prime ever takes it down. 

 

I read a user comment on another website that compared MacMurray's voice-over narration in MIRACLE OF THE BELLS to his v-o narration in DOUBLE INDEMNITY which I found rather interesting. In both cases, we really get to know more regarding the personal struggles his character faces when it comes to loving a woman he really can't have. 

 

The other two leads-- Sinatra and Valli (who would ordinarily seem miscast as a Polish actress) give extraordinary performances. In fact, I consider this to be Valli's best Hollywood role. And then there's Lee J. Cobb's spectacular supporting turn as the hard but vulnerable producer. In fact, I felt Ring Lardner's script gives Cobb's character just as much attention as the leads and allows him his own personal redemption.

 

This is an extraordinary film.

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I saw this film either on old TCM or old AMC, many years ago, but never again. I wonder why this film is now never shown on TV?

 

I also saw it in a theater in 1948.

 

I found this review on IMDB, so it was TCM that aired it back in 2002:

 

Author: winterday-1 from Burke, Virginia
30 December 2002

I happened to turn on Turner Classic Movies on Christmas Day and fortunately came in on the beginning of this movie. I totally freaked out. I think it was wonderful. Fred MacMurray was great, the best acting job I've ever seen of him. He really brought the character to life, and the leading actress was excellent. I'm not a religious person, but the themes that ran through this movie are universally appealing. I love this movie!

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FredCDobbs--Going by the reviews section of the website,TMoTB looks like it's been shown yearly, from 2010--2014, sometime after Thanksgiving.  TCM definitely has this, keep an eye out for it.

I believe it was originally released in late March 1948, in time for Easter. 

 

When you watch it on AmazonPrime, the Republic Pictures logo appears before the RKO logo-- so maybe it was a joint studio venture. Jesse Lasky was the producer. It deserves to be seen again on TCM. Maybe if Frank Sinatra is Star of the Month in December (since it would be his 100th birthday), this film will be chosen. It would be perfect not only around Easter time, but Christmas too.

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This film might now have "rights" problems. IMDB shows it as having Lasky as production company, RKO for theatrical release, NTA home entertainment, Olive films for Canadian DVD, Republic pictures for home video, and Spotlite Video for Video tape distribution.

 

Trying to get rights to show it on TV might be difficult.

 

I remember seeing it in a theater as a kid because I remember the statues turned and I wondered why. Years later I saw the film on TCM in 2002, and I found out why.

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This film might now have "rights" problems. IMDB shows it as having Lasky as production company, RKO for theatrical release, NTA home entertainment, Olive films for Canadian DVD, Republic pictures for home video, and Spotlite Video for Video tape distribution.

 

Trying to get rights to show it on TV might be difficult.

But if Republic can get it on AmazonPrime, and Olive can get it released on DVD, then obviously the rights for all that was ironed out. I am sure whoever owns the cable broadcast rights would appreciate making money by renting it to TCM.

 

Incidentally, I think Aaron Spelling Productions controls the Republic film library (since Republic Studios is defunct).

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The way the copyright laws have changed so much, every company that ever had any kind of "rights" to it might now be claiming some cut of the TV broadcast rights. The law might have been different when TCM first aired it in 2002.

 

IMDB also says that some company owns the rights to the bell sounds. How odd!

 

Among the "rights" issues, see:

Other Companies
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The way the copyright laws have changed so much, every company that ever had any kind of "rights" to it might now be claiming some cut of the TV broadcast rights. The law might have been different when TCM first aired it in 2002.

 

IMDB also says that some company owns the rights to the bell sounds. How odd!

 

Interesting information, Fred. 

 

Incidentally, the DVD copy I ordered of MIRACLE OF THE BELLS arrived today. On the outside of the case, it says Olive Films. But when I looked at the disc inside, it says Olive and it also says Paramount.  

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I Googled Olive Films--it specializes in hard to find & classic films.  A few of their soon-to-be-released dvds:

 

"Roar"--(1981) Film that almost bankrupted Tippi Hedren & her family.

 

"Daniel"--(1983)--A Sidney Lumet film that came & went so fast I didn't get to see it.

 

"The Babysitter"--(1995)--An Alicia Silverstone film that's hard to find.

 

"The Singing Detective"--(2003)--Robert Downey Jr. & Mel Gibson star as singing gumshoes(!?)  Based on a BBC series.  TCM--please consider adding this to programming.  It sounds like a hoot.

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I Googled Olive Films--it specializes in hard to find & classic films. 

What I like about Olive is they release a lot of Paramount and Republic classic films from the 40s & 50s that TCM does not air. And the picture quality is always excellent.

 

Olive is a bit pricey, but if you have a subscription with ClassicFlix, you can rent films on DVD by Olive through ClassicFlix, which is a bit more economical way to access these hard-to-find titles.

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Incidentally, another film that moved me quite a bit-- and it brought my father to tears when we saw it together first-run in a movie theatre was FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. You know that part where Kathy Bates goes to the nursing home and believes that Jessica Tandy's character has died. Something about that moment just triggered an avalanche of tears. You can't kill Jessica Tandy off in a movie! LOL

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Incidentally, another film that moved me quite a bit-- and it brought my father to tears when we saw it together first-run in a movie theatre was FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. You know that part where Kathy Bates goes to the nursing home and believes that Jessica Tandy's character has died. Something about that moment just triggered an avalanche of tears. You can't kill Jessica Tandy off in a movie! LOL

You're right there, TB. Not sure why, but I can't watch it more than the once.

 

But The Ghost and Mrs. Muir kills me every time, and I have to watch it when it is on. 

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"The Singing Detective"--(2003)--Robert Downey Jr. & Mel Gibson star as singing gumshoes(!?)  Based on a BBC series.  TCM--please consider adding this to programming.  It sounds like a hoot.

MOVIES! has been showing that on a lot recently. Apparently they have the rights to it. TCM can't have every movie, nor should they.

 

Imitation of life (1934 version ) Was officially my first classic film. My older cousin was watching the late late show. He was babysitting me. I was maybe seven. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. And I was hooked. But, I haven't been able to watch it since.

 

Boys Town (1938 ) There is the scene where Mickey Rooney is leaving the home. He walks across a busy street. The little kid follows him across that street and gets hit. I have an older brother. At that age ,I might have followed him the same way. It really gets me everytime.

 

I'm sure there are more.

 

Nice to see a thread about film. And the impact they have on us. Probably the reason most of us are here.

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GGGGerald--didn't mean to suggest TCM should have exclusive rights to every film.  :)

 

#2.--Is "The Singing Detective"  (2003) any good??  Or is it a disaster to be avoided at all costs??

 

My 1st classic movie was "The Mummy" (1932) (on tv)--I was maybe 8--on the movie screen was "What's Up Doc?" (1972)--I've loved horror film & musicals ever since, & started my own learning about classic film back then--was much more interesting than  math, LOL :)

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I Googled Olive Films--it specializes in hard to find & classic films.  A few of their soon-to-be-released dvds:

 

"

 

"The Singing Detective"--(2003)--Robert Downey Jr. & Mel Gibson star as singing gumshoes(!?)  Based on a BBC series.  TCM--please consider adding this to programming.  It sounds like a hoot.

 

Arguably it might be a better idea to broadcast the original BBC series.  Incidentally, Gibson apparently helped Downey quite a lot here, showing faith in him when he was otherwise uninsurable and unemployable, and helping revive his career.

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