Curious Case of the Bells
Press agent Bill Dunnigan (Fred MacMurray) first came across Olga Treskovna (Alida Valli) when she was trying to make it on the stage but with two left feet it wasn't going well. But thanks to Bill she gets her shot and a while later they end up running in to each other on a Christmas Eve where a gracious Chinese restaurant owner treats them to a lavish feast. But now Bill finds himself keeping a promise to Olga as following her death he has brought her body back to her small hometown to bury her but finds the locals a miserable, money grabbing bunch.
"The Miracle of the Bells" is one of those old curious movies which on paper sound like a hit but in reality something about it doesn't work or maybe it does work but just doesn't deliver what audiences expected. Part of the movie probably is what audiences expected as we see through flashbacks how Bill met Olga and we learn how close they became. It has that charm of a romantic drama with some memorable scenes such as the Christmas Eve spent in a Chinese restaurant. But then you have the part of the movie which focuses on what happens not only when Bill returns Olga home to bury her but the events leading up to this and suddenly we have a different movie one which tries to spin this positive message and it doesn't quite gel with those earlier flashbacks scenes.
But the thing is that whilst "The Miracle of the Bells" struggles when it comes to the split story it benefits massively from whose in it especially Alida Valli who I don't think I have ever seen look so captivating as she does as Olga. Whilst Valli grabs you with her beauty you also have Fred MacMurray delivering not only his gift for the gab but also some tender moments of emotion which to be honest surprise you. Surprising is the casting of Frank Sinatra as a priest not a role which suits him but he brings plenty of character to it.
What this all boils down to is that "The Miracle of the Bells" is not a great movie and one which I reckon you have to be in the right mood to enjoy. But between MacMurray giving it the gift of the gab and Alida Valli never looking so beautiful it is still an attention grabbing movie.