MIRACLE IN THE RAIN (director: Rudolph Maté; screenwriter: novel by Ben Hecht/Ben Hecht; cinematographer: Russell Metty; editor: Thomas Reilly; music: Franz Waxman; cast: Jane Wyman (Ruth Wood), Van Johnson (Pvt. Arthur 'Art' Hugenon), Peggie Castle (Millie Kranz), Fred Clark (Steven Jalonik), Eileen Heckart (Grace Ullman), Josephine Hutchinson (Agnes Wood), William Gargan (Harry Wood), Marcel Dalio (Marcel - Waiter), George Givot (Headwaiter), Barbara Nichols (Arlene Parker nee Witchy), Halliwell Hobbes (Ely B. 'Windy' Windgate), Paul Picerni (Priest), Alan King (Sgt. Gilbert 'Gil' Parker), Arte Johnson (Monty); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Frank P. Rosenberg; Warner Bros.; 1956)

"Schmaltzy tear-jerker soap opera."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Former cinematographer Rudolph Maté ("The 300 Spartans"/"D.O.A."/"Second Chance") directs this schmaltzy tear-jerker soap opera with a supernatural climax. It's based on the 1943 novel by Ben Hecht, and Mr. Hecht also pens the screenplay. It's set in NYC, in 1942 during World War II.

Ruth Wood (Jane Wyman) is a plain-looking lonely-heart secretary. She lives with her depressed elderly mother (Josephine Hutchinson), who has never recovered when her piano playing hubby deserted the family many years ago. Ruth works at the Excelsior Shoe Manufacturing Co. Her secretary co-workers are fellow lonely-heart Grace Ullman (Eileen Heckart) and the sexpot blonde Millie Kranz (Peggie Castle), who is having an affair with her married boss (Fred Clark). Also in the office is Monty (Arte Johnson), a talkative shipping clerk classified as 4-F.

Ruth is picked up in the street leaving work during a rainstorm by affable, chatty and handsome Tennesse soldier, Pvt. Arthur 'Art' Hugenon (Van Johnson). Though the aspiring journalist is from a rural farming family, the opposites hit it off and begin a romance. The soldier goes overseas and gets killed in action. The news wears on Ruth, as her health declines. When she seems to be dying, she goes to St. Patrick's Church on Fifth Avenue (the first-time the cathedral was shot inside) and her soldier boy materializes as a ghost and tells her he loves her and leaves her the antique Roman coin Ruth bought him for good luck to prove the miracle really happened. 

There were some comic and pleasant moments in this whimsy about keeping the faith, but too much gets weighed down by the heavy moments to make it entertaining.

REVIEWED ON 2/2/2010       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"