Kehr Capsule of the Week: Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Frank Capra‘s last film (1961) is a remake of his 1933 Lady for a Day, about a bunch of lovable gangsters who pitch in to help an elderly apple seller (Bette Davis) convince her long-lost daughter that she’s a queen of New York society. Capra’s powers as a cunning audience manipulator largely deserted him after World War II, when—with the glorious exception of It’s a Wonderful Life—he seemed to lose faith in the sentimental fables he told. This lumpy and depressing farewell film measures the extent of his fall from conviction; not a moment in it rings true. With Glenn Ford, Hope Lange, Peter Falk, and an amazing collection of aging character actors, including Edward Everett Horton, Thomas Mitchell, Sheldon Leonard, Jerome Cowan, Fritz Feld, and Barton MacLane. 136 min.

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