Cast & Crew
Ned A. Sparks
Doc, a crook in Chinatown, must flee when Nikko, a local bazaar owner, gets fresh with Doc's accomplice, Helen Smith, and Doc nearly kills him. Using the name John Madison, Doc hides out in Meadville, California, where he meets the Patriarch, a faith healer. Hoping to capitalize on the Patriarch's reputation, Doc sends for Helen to pose as the Patriarch's grand niece, Helen Vail, and she is joined by fellow crooks Frog, a contortionist, and Harry Evans, a pickpocket. Doc stages a mock miracle in which Frog is "transformed" from a crippled state to perfect health. At the same time, however, the Patriarch heals real cripples Bobbie Holmes and Margaret Thornton, who has come to Meadville with her millionaire brother Robert for the Patriarch's miracle cure. The miracles cause a great fervor, and Doc collects money in Helen's name from scores of believers, ostensibly to build a chapel. Robert falls in love with Helen, and one night, they get stranded on his yacht and Doc flies into a jealous rage, planning to kill Robert. Later, the Patriarch is nearing death, and Helen, Frog and Harry refuse to support Doc's extortion efforts. Doc is about to abscond with the chapel money, when Robert tells him he proposed to Helen, but was turned down because she loves Doc. Suddenly sorry for his greed, Doc returns the money and swears his love to Helen as the Patriarch dies.
Ned A. Sparks
"Doc's" alias is "John Morgan" in the film, but he is listed as "John Madison" in the credits. Tyrone Power, Sr. was first cast as "The Patriarch," but died at the beginning of filming on December 30, 1931 and was replaced by Hobart Bosworth. A reel of footage from this film was presented to Tyrone Power, Jr., as the last photographic record of his father. Frank L. Packard and Robert H. Davis' novel was first filmed in 1919 by Mayflower/Famous Players-Lasky. The silent film version, which also was titled The Miracle Man, was directed by George Loane Tucker and starred Betty Compson, Thomas Meighan and Lon Chaney (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2953).