Miracles for Sale (1939)

Miracles for Sale [1939] “THRILLS! CHILLS! LAUGHS! The Season’s Surprise Film!” Tod Browning’s last feature film is a taut little murder mystery that features Robert Young as magician “Mike Morgan” (known as “The Amazing Morgan”), who tirelessly sets out to expose fake spiritualists. The arrival of “Judy Barclay” (Florence Rice) into Mike’s life leads to his investigation of a bizarre double murder. The cast includes Frank Craven, Glora Holden, William Demarest, Harold Minjir, Walter Kingsford, Cliff Clark, Henry Hull, Lee Bowman and Astrid Allwyn. Miracles for Sale was based on the 1938 novel Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson. The running time is just 71 minutes. The film was well received by critics but bombed at the box office, sending Browning, who had directed such classic horror flicks as Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1932), into retirement. From that time forward, Browning lived the life of a recluse, struggled with alcoholism and died of throat cancer in 1962 at the age of 82. Rice (1907-74), who retired from acting in 1943 (her last film: The Ghost and the Guest), was the daughter of legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice.

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