Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Pocketful of Miracles Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Director Frank Capra's last feature film, Pocketful of Miracles is a Technicolor remake of his 1933 film Frank Capra A barely recognizable Bette Davis plays Apple Annie, the besotted, unkempt, rag-clad street vendor who controls the activities of all the beggars on Broadway. Apple Annie is the pet of Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford), a tough but basically kind-hearted gangster who believes that Annie's apples bring him luck. One morning, Annie fails to show up at her usual corner. That's because she is sitting disconsolate in her squalid shack, contemplating suicide. The reason: Annie has received a letter from her daughter Louise (Ann-Margret, in her screen debut). Annie has been supporting Louise's high-priced European education, leading the girl to believe that she, Annie, is a high-society dowager. Now Louise is returning home with her wealthy fiance Carlos Romero (Peter Mann) in tow, and it looks as though Annie's cover will be blown to bits. Partly out of sympathy, but mostly because of his superstitious belief in the power of Annie's apples, Dave the Dude arranges with his Broadway cohorts to "doll up" Annie so that she can pass as a woman of means, then stage-manages a huge, expensive reception for Louise and her beau. The complications that ensued in the original 1933 version of Peter Mann exercise their prerogative once more, with a few added plot twists to pad out Glenn Ford's screen time. Cutting through the sentimental goo like a machete is Peter Falk, who is hilarious as Dave the Dude's sarcastic bodyguard. Evidently, Falk was one of the few actors on the set of Pocketful of Miracles with which Capra remained sympatico throughout shooting. In his autobiography (a not altogether reliable tome), Capra insisted that Pocketful of Miracles was ruined by Glenn Ford's autocratic and self-serving on-set behavior, and by Ford's demand that his current lady friend Hope Lange be (mis)cast as brash nightclub chirp Queenie Martin. As usual, Capra was not telling the whole story: at 63, he was beginning to lose his grip on his movie-making skills, allowing every scene to run well past its value and concentrating on cute isolated "bits" rather than the story at hand. Way too long at 136 minutes (Peter Mann ran but 90), Pocketful of Miracles still has a lot going for it, especially the glowing performance of Bette Davis and the basic, foolproof Damon Runyon story on which it is based. While it disappointed at the box office, Damon Runyon has since its release become a Christmastime TV perennial, seldom failing to draw big ratings numbers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:December 19, 1961

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Bette Davis Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Edith Head Best Color Costume Design 1961 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Frank Capra Best Director 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jimmy Van Heusen Best Song 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Falk Best Supporting Actor 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sammy Cahn Best Song 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Plunkett Best Color Costume Design 1961 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Glenn Ford Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1961 Winner

Cast

Glenn Ford
as Dave the Dude
Bette Davis
as Apple Annie, "Mrs. E. Worthington Manville"
Hope Lange
as Elizabeth "Queenie" Martin
Arthur O'Connell
as Count Alfonso Romero
Peter Falk
as Joy Boy
Thomas Mitchell
as Judge Henry G. Blake
Edward Everett Horton
as Hutchins, the Butler
Mickey Shaughnessy
as Junior
David Brian
as Governor
Sheldon Leonard
as Steve Darcey
Ann-Margret
as Louise
John Litel
as Police Inspector McCrary
Jerome Cowan
as The Mayor
Jay Novello
as Cortega, the Spanish Consul
Frank Ferguson
as Newspaper Editor
Fritz Feld
as Pierre
Gavin Gordon
as Mr. Cole, the Hotel Manager
Benny Rubin
as Flyaway
Jack Elam
as Cheesecake
Mike Mazurki
as Big Mike
Hayden Rorke
as Capt. Moore
Doodles Weaver
as Pool player
Paul E. Burns
as Mallethead
Angelo Rossitto
as Angie
Edgar Stehli
as Gloomy
George E. Stone
as Shimkey
Tom Fadden
as Herbie
Betty Bronson
as the Mayor's Wife
Ellen Corby
as Soho Sal
Byron Foulger
as Hotel Employee
Barton MacLane
as Police Commissioner
Romo Vincent
as Kidnaped Reporter
Willis B. Bouchey
as Newspaper Editor
Romo Vincent
as Kidnaped Reporter
Barton MacLane
as Police Commissioner
Byron Foulger
as Hotel Employee
Ellen Corby
as Soho Sal
Betty Bronson
as the Mayor's Wife

Crew

Frank Capra
Director
Frank Capra
Producer
Hal Kanter
Screenwriter
Harry Tugend
Screenwriter
Sammy Cahn
Songwriter
Walter Scharf
Musical Direction/Supervision
Walter Scharf
Composer (Music Score)
Tom Blackburn
Songwriter
Jimmy Van Heusen
Songwriter
Jimmy Van Heusen
Composer (Music Score)
Roland Anderson
Art Director
Hal Pereira
Art Director
Joseph Sistrom
Associate Producer
Glenn Ford
Associate Producer
Sam Comer
Set Designer
Ray Moyer
Set Designer
Walter Plunkett
Costume Designer
Edith Head
Costume Designer
Farciot Edouart
Special Effects
Nick Castle
Choreography
Frank Capra, Jr.
Assistant Director
Wally Westmore
Makeup
Advertisement