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Miracle in the Rain

Miracle in the Rain title card

Year - 1956
Studio - Warner Bros.
Stars - Jane Wyman, Van Johnson, Peggie Castle, Fred Clark, Eileen Heckert, Josephine Hutchinson, William Gargan, Barbara Nichols, Alan King
Director - Rudolph Maté
Writing Credits - Ben Hecht (novel and screenplay)
Music - Franz Waxman

Synopsis

Ruth Wood (Jane Wyman) is a mousy secretary in a New York City office, in May, 1942. Her boss is cheating on his wife with an employee, Millie Kranz (Peggie Castle), and Ruth's best friend is another co-worker, Grace Ullman (Eileen Eckart), Ruth lives in an apartment with her mother, Agnes (Josephine Hutchinson), a lonely woman, bitter about her husband's leaving her.

Preparing to go home at the end of a day, Ruth, holding two bags of groceries, waits at the doorway for a heavy rainfall to let up. A uniformed American soldier, Pvt. Arthur "Art" Hugenon (Van Johnson) is joking about the rain storm to no one in particular, and he offers to carry Ruth's bags under his overcoat, protecting them from the downfall. They run to a bus, and the gregarious Art continues to banter about his wartime assignment at a New York base, and his background as an aspiring journalist in Tennessee. He suggests, barely giving her an opportunity to respond, that they buy additional groceries and have dinner at Ruth's home with her mother.

Miracle in the Rain poster

When the arrive, Ruth's mother is upset and suspicious about this intruder, despite his attempts to charm her. After dinner, Art plays music on their old piano, including a song from sheet music written by Ruth's father. He asks if he can take the music with him and attempt to write lyrics for it.

The next day, Saturday, Art takes Ruth and her "chaperone," Grace, sightseeing around the city..They attend a store auction, and Ruth is the winning bidder on an antique Roman coin, which she then gives to Art. He takes them to dinner at a fancy, packed, French restaurant where he charms the maître d' into seating them. The restaurant's piano player is Ruth's father, Harry Wood (William Gargan), and, seeing his daughter, he becomes upset and leaves before she can recognize him.

On Sunday, Art and Ruth again spend the day together. In Central Park, they watch the model sailboat races and Art strikes up a conversation with an old man contestant, Ely Windgate (Halliwell Hobbes) who tells them about his life as a champion sailboat racer and real estate tycoon, before he lost his entire fortune. Art takes Ruth to the office of the New York Times, where he writes up a story about Windgate that impresses the managing editor, who promises him a job after the war ends.

Ruth continues to see Art but, one day, as she waits on a street corner, he arrives in a convoy of soldiers and informs her that his unit has been ordered overseas. He tells Ruth that he loves her and wants to marry her when he returns. Ruth gives him her mother's wedding ring to take with him and, for the first time, they kiss, before he has to return to the waiting convoy.

Ruth writes daily letters to Art, but receives no reply. But then a letter arrives, written by one of his fellow soldiers, informing Ruth that he was killed in battle.

Ruth is devastated and unable to concentrate on her job. Grace finds her wandering, on a cold New York day, in Central Park, and later suggests that they go in to St. Patrick's Cathedral. There, Ruth sees a statue of St. Andrew and, concerned for him being alone in the dark, lights a candle under it.

Ruth's father hears the song he wrote being played on the radio, attributed to an American serviceman composer.

As she continues to grieve and neglect herself, Ruth becomes bedridden with pneumonia. On a rainy night, the very ill Ruth dresses herself and walks to the Cathedral to again light candles for St. Andrew. In the meantime, her frantic mother calls Grace, who suspects where Ruth has gone. Her long-absent husband, Harry, also shows up, initially to ask about how his song ended up in the hands of another. But he breaks down and asks for her forgiveness for his transgressions.

In her fevered state, Ruth sees a soldier coming to her in the rain, in front of the Cathedral. It is Art, and, as they embrace, he tells her that "love never dies." He returns the Roman coin to her and then walks back to the street and is gone. Ruth collapses to the ground. A priest (Paul Picerni) carries back into the Cathedral and, as he waits for an ambulance, Grace arrives. They notice that the unconscious Ruth is clutching something in her hand - it is the Roman coin.

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Miracle in the Rain was nominated as a Film Blanc by correspondent Karine Philippot.