54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2000
Capra didn't have kind words to say about this, his last feature film. Blinding headaches, a star/producer out of control, his memoirs reflect an experience which soured him on directing completely. Given that, and the lukewarm box office, Pocketful of Miracles has always been considered the ugly stepchild of the Capra cannon, especially when compared to his first version, Lady For A Day. But what a pleasure this film is, almost 40 years later. If you are familiar with Capra's films, you'll recognize many of the supporting actors, three from It's A Wonderful Life, such as Ellen Corby (Grandma on The Waltons,) who played one of George Bailey's depositors, Sheldon Leonard (in a cameo as Darcey the mob boss) who played bartender Nick @ Martini's and Thomas Mitchell who was George's Uncle Billy (also Scarlett's father Gerald O' Hara in Gone with the Wind.) Capra's wove the fabric of life into his films with his supproting cast, and he does much the same here. Peter Falk is great as Junior, deservedly winning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Also look for the fabulous Edward Everett Horton as the butler. While Bette Davis is given little to do in the second half, and while Glenn Ford and Hope Lange tend to the hammy, it is still Capra and there are many pleasures to be had. You may even find a tear in your eye at the end, for there is plenty of Capra corn. Indulge and enjoy! They truly don't make 'em like this anymore.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES is a perfectly-acceptable update of LADY FOR A DAY. Frank Capra revisits the material with an amazing cast headed by Glenn Ford and Bette Davis (playing against her usual screen persona) as `Apple Annie' herself.
The story concerns the colourful apple-seller Annie, who has managed to send her daughter Louise (Ann-Margret in her movie debut) to an expensive overseas boarding school. Now the time has come that Louise is to be married (to a member of the Spanish nobility, no less) so Annie turns to her oldest customer `Dave the Dude' (Glenn Ford) to help her out. Dave turns Annie into the worldly and rich Mrs Worthington-Manville, so that Louise will not be ashamed of the poor apple-seller that her mother really is.
Bette Davis and Glenn Ford are marvellous as Annie and Dave. The entire cavalcade of Damon Runyon characters is perfectly-realised: Hope Lange as Queenie Martin, Peter Falk as Joy Boy and Mickey Shaughnessy as Junior all add great dimensions to their well-defined characters. Also featuring Arthur O'Connell, Thomas Mitchell, Sheldon Leonard and Peter Mann.
The DVD presents the film in 4:3 ratio letterbox.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2002
"Pocketful of Miracles" was Frank Capra's last motion picture he directed. For a last picture for him, I think it is quite a masterpiece. This is a remake of the 1933 movie "Lady For A Day" which Capra directed then. Bette Davis is wonderful as Apple Annie, a boozy street peddlar whose best customer is gangster leader Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford) who thinks her apples bring him luck. His flashy girlfriend Queenie Martin (Hope Lange) thinks otherwise, and the Dude can't keep her out of his hair. Peter Falk plays on his sidekicks named Joy Boy, and Mickey Shaugnessey (Elvis' costar in "Jailhouse Rock") plays the Dude's other sidekick and chauffeur Junior. They all help Apple Annie a.k.a. Mrs. E. Worthington Manville prepare for her daughter (Ann-Margret) to come from Spain to visit with a Spanish count (Arthur O'Connell) and his son (Peter Mann). They announce that she will marry the count's son, and will give a reception. The Dude, Queenie, Joy Boy, Junior, and Apple Annie's temporary "husband" Judge Blake painstakingly round up the gang members of the dude and Queenie's chorus girls to try to impersonate officials and attend the reception. Meanwhile, the police, the comissioner, the governor, and mayor are hot on the job to track down missing reporters kinapped by the Dude. (We all know even though their tied up, Dude's still kind-hearted underneath). They're in a jam, when Queenie's nightclub is surrounded by cops. Dude makes a deal with the comissioner. What ends up happening is, the governor and mayor get word and the people at the coincidental party for the mayor show up miraculously for Annie's reception. At the end, it shows, Louise (Ann-Margret), the count and son Carlos leaving to go back to Spain where the two will get married. This is a real fanciful scene there. It's a real great classic everyone will enjoy.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2005
What do you get when you mix Frank Capra, Damon Runyon, Glenn Ford and Bette Davis? Just a pockeful of miracles that includes the first great performances of Peter Falk (Columbo) and Ann-Margret (Bye Bye Birdie) and the last great performances of Edward Everett Horton (Top Hat) and Thomas Mitchell (Gone With The Wind).
Ford plays Dave The Dude, a depression era (post prohibition) racketeer dominating New York city by sheer luck - luck from the charmed apples he purchases from and old beggar, Apple Annie (Bette Davis), who's been corresponding with her estranged daughter (Ann-Margret) in Spain, impressing the girl with a phony return address at a ritzy hotel. But luck's running out as Annie receives news of her daughter's impending visit with her fiance and his royal father, a Duke (Arthur O'Connell). Annie's at her wit's end with dread of exposing her true self to the young couple, and hits the bottle as The Dude's about to make the deal of his life with a Chicago mob boss (Sheldon Leonard), and if things go wrong for Annie, they can't go right for Dave The Dude. It's a group of beggars and The Dude's girl (Hope Lange) that suggest Annie must be put up in a penthouse suite during the Duke's visit.
The story takes on a sort of Cinderella aspect and romantic charm as the thugs, beggars and servants help transform Annie a la My Fair Lady, with the help of the penthouse butler (Edward Everett Horton) and a shady judge (Thomas Mitchell) to play her husband.
This was sort of a comeback and transitional role for Davis, absent from Hollywood movies in the late fifties. Falk is at his funniest as the Dude's top thug, with some great one-liners that must be heard in context. The cast is tremendous and studded with familiar faces like Hayden Rorke (Dr. Bellows on I Dream Of Jeannie), Mike Mazurki, Jerome Cowan (the D.A. on Miracle On 34th Street), John Litel (who played Nancy Drew's father), Barton MacLane, Frank Ferguson, Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton), Jack Elam, and even young Grace Lee Whitney in an uncredited bit (she was Yeoman Rand on Star Trek).
Pocketful of Miracles is a Christmas movie in the sense that it takes place during the Holiday season, with Christmas music, Santa Claus, etc. in the background, especially The Nutcracker Suite is used very effectively in some of Bette Davis's scenes.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2002
In 1961, Frank Capra decided to remake his 1933 film LADY FOR A DAY (based on Damon Runyon's MADAME LA GIMP); although it's enjoyable enough, it unfortunately pales when compared to the classic original version. Bette Davis was lured out of semi-retirement to play the gin-soaked apple peddlar, Annie, a destitute street person who learns that her Spanish convent-educated/raised daughter Louise (Ann-Margret) is planning to visit her. Annie's friends, Mobster Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford) and his blonde, brassy moll Queenie (Hope Lange) come to her rescue and transform the old girl into one Mrs. E. Worthington Manville, an elegant, wealthy dowager....Capra and Davis did NOT see eye to eye during the filming this rather dated (even in '61) and overblown fairy tale; it was Capra's swan song for the movies. Many critics felt that Davis's transformation from Apple Annie to the elegant Mrs. Manville wasn't convincing because it was done too quickly - I agree...Hope Lange does well as Queenie; her performance is sharp, honest and convincing as the moll with a heart of gold.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2006
I just love this movie, the comedy, the acting-especially that of Bette Davis.I bought the DVD version of only to discover that an important scene is missing from it-the part when the Governor, Mayor, Police Commisioner ,and the Governor's party decided to rescue Apple Annie and go to her party. That's a nice heart-warming scene and they should not have taken it out.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
Frank Capra's remake of his 1940 "Lady For A Day," is a mix of a Christmas story, Cinderella, and a 1920's gangster tale, all rolled into one! Bette Davis is excellent as a gin guzzling bag lady named Apple Annie, who has a daughter (named Louise and played sweetly by lovely Ann-Margaret) living in Spain, of whom she has never seen (except for an 8 X 10 photograph that Annie lovingly keeps in her room) since sending her there to be schooled. It isn't clear or even explained how the girl got to Spain or why that particular country was selected for Louise's schooling. Annie sends money to Louise, and collects much of it from her streetwise peddler friends, all of who she has named as Louise's Godparents. When Annie receives a letter from Louise, telling her she is bringing her fiancé' to meet her mother, Annie is devasted! Enter Mob boss "Dave the Dude" (Glenn Ford), his nightclub lady friend Queenie Martin (Hope Lange) and mob clown Peter Falk. Annie's peddler friends, along with Queenie, talk Dave into making Annie a lady of society. Dave pulls some strings and even gets Annie a penthouse suite! "Pocketful of Miracles" is a delightful story filled with sentiment, laughs, and magic! Watch as the gang transforms Annie from a street corner hag into a lady of high society. As mob member Junior delares when first seeing Annie's transformation, "She's like a cockroach what turned into a butterfly." Exactly! Hope Lange is great as Queenie Martin and Glenn Ford's "Dave the Dude" is excellent as the Mob Boss who believes Annie's apples are his key to good luck. This one belongs in every dvd collector's library of classic films, especially fans of Bette Davis and Hope Lange. It's truly special. The dvd transfer is flawless and the audio is good and clear. Dvd includes the movie trailer. This one is especially fun to watch during the Christmas holidays and will put you in the Holiday spirit!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2002
A feel good heartwarming movie, with a diverse group of characters. I am a lover of old movies, and this was always a favorite. I recently purchased for 2 people and they love it as much as I did. It is now being passed from family to family.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2001
POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES (1961) is a delightful film, wonderful to see during these trying times. Bette Davis and Glenn Ford are reunited (they starred 15 years before in A STOLEN LIFE) in this Ford-produced comedy drama directed with great spirit by Frank Capra. As for the qualith of the DVD, MGM has done a splendid job with the picture and sound. The colors are a bit faded (as it did in previous video editions) and the print source has some minor defects. There is a time code problem after the first hour and 50 minutes that causes a pause in the time code (the timecode jumps ahead 30 minutes... easy corrected by tapping the forward or backward button on the remote if this is distracting to you). This timecode error does not affect the play of the picture, mind you. Its merely a suspected authoring flaw.
Buy this DVD....wonderful picture at a wonderful price.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2000
A plot which manages to concurrently spoof organised crime, Prohibition, superstition, panhandling, royalty, and Pygmalion-style transformations is an entertaining winner. The premises are totally absurd, of course, but the hilarity is largely in its very absurdity.
Naturally, if a tough, streetwise beggar has sufficient "magical" influence that her daughter is educated in Europe and engaged to one of the nobility - and that she has been able to present herself as a Society lady to the far-off daughter whom she apparently has not seen since babyhood - the "Duke" (Glen Ford in a hilarious gangster spoof) just may be right that Annie's apples bring plenty of luck.