Friday, 18 October 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1944: Eddie Bracken in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

Eddie Bracken did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying either Woodrow Truesmith in Hail The Conquering Hero or Norval Jones in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

Both of the Preston Sturges comedies of 1944 are both very entertaining films with Hail the Conquering Hero about a man who could not get into the marines being made a false hero by a group of real marines, and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek about a small town girl who finds herself married and pregnant to a man she can't even remember the father's name.

Eddie Bracken plays the lead to both films and in both films he plays a sad sack who is unable to make it in the military due to failing the physical examine. The performances are similar in nature but differ in that his performance as Woodrow Truesmith is a bit more serious as Woodrow is a smarter sad sack, and his performance as Norval Jones is more directly comedic as Norval is a not particularly bright sad sack. Both find themselves in absurdest situations who don't really know how to handle them although, except for the ending to Hail the Conquering Hero, Norval is allowed just a little more control in them giving frankly some more space for comedic moments.

Out of the two performances I would say I prefer The Miracle of Morgan's Creek because of the nature of the performance being just simply funnier. Bracken is good in Hail the Conquering Hero though as well and does deliver particularly well with the dramatic final speech in the film. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek simply gives Bracken more opportunities to be funny in the film. Eddie Bracken plays the role of the somewhat whiny rather wimpy semi-romantic lead. This sorta part can often be a rather obnoxious character to say the last, but frankly Eddie Bracken is quite a master of this type of role as shown in Hail and even more so in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. 

Bracken is an easy charm as Norval and rather then the less then positive qualities of Norval being obnoxious in anyway they actually are all made rather endearing by Bracken energetic performance. Eddie Bracken manages never to go overboard with his portrayal of Norval even if the character behavior is rather absurdest to say the least. Bracken fits the screwball atmosphere perfectly and makes the most of every single comedic moment he has in the film. His physical timing could not be timing and every pratfall and slapstick moment is carried quite beautifully by Bracken throughout the film.

Eddie Bracken performance is simply a great fit for Preston Sturges's brand of comedy and in both of those films Bracken makes a most unusual but rather enjoyable protagonist to follow through the insanity of the story. Bracken performance goes along with every beat of the story and through his reactions adds greatly to the comedic value of every scene. I just found Bracken performance to be a very funny performance that leads both The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero splendidly. Although even more splendidly when it comes to The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

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