Cinerama: Pocketful of Miracles

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Pocketful of Miracles

By Mike Derderian

Many people do not enjoy the luxurious or even humble life style that some of us do, in fact some of those tortured souls have to go through humiliating degrees in order to provide money for their families.

It was about 6.30 in the morning, as I sat on our little balcony. The neighborhood was quiet, cats were patrolling around the garbage container probably in search for breakfast. Yet it wasn’t only cats that I saw. Sadly some “Homosapiens” are forced to assume the role of a cat nowadays.

A human figure from a distance begun to approach the container. It was a 15-year-old boy dressed in dirty cloths and used tennis shoes. In each hand, he was carrying two bags full of cans that he was collecting in order to sell. As the poor thing got closer to the “money making machine”, a voice from afar yelled at him reprimanding him for his bold attempt to plunder the garbage.

Afraid, the boy passesd over the garbage container— his figure became smaller and smaller until he was no longer in sight.. It’s a sad yet true phenomenon that is wide-spread here in Amman—human beings searching for a means to earn money to support themselves even if it is found under piles of garbage.

The incident made me realize that nowadays, even looking in the garbage has become a luxury that poor people cannot afford, so all they can hope for is a miracle like in the film “Pocketful of Miracles.”

Directed by Frank Capra, the 1961 film starred Glenn Ford, Peter Falk, Ann Margret, Hope Lange and Bette Davis as Apple Annie.

The story revolves around the special relationship that develops between a crime boss called Dave “the Dude Conway” and Apple Annie, a poor old woman who sells apples in down town New York. It seems that Dave (Ford) regards Annie’s apples as a good omen and he feels optimistic each time she passes by his neighborhood to sell him an apple.

The superstitious Dave refuses to start his day without buying one of Annie’s apples, an act that is regarded as being crazy rather than optimistic by his girlfriend Queenie (Lange) and Joy Boy (Falk).

Peter Falk’s excellent portrayal of a frantic, sharp tongued wise guy who worries a lot and believes that his boss’s philanthropist tendencies will help in throwing them all in jail, landed him an Oscar nomination in the same year of the film’s release, unfortunately, he lost it for George Chakiris in West Side Story.

The humanistic aspect of the film is revealed to us when Annie learns that her long forgotten daughter Louise who was brought up in a foreign convent is coming to New York with her wealthy and noble fiancé Count Alfonso Romero.

Imagine the shock of the wealthy count when he finds out that the mother of his charming love is nothing more than an old poor apple seller—Annie’s greatest fear is that the count might leave her daughter after finding out who she really is.

Of course when Dave hears Annie’s heart breaking story, he decides to help her despite of Joy Boy’s warnings about the police commissioner who is on his tail and will arrest him at the same night when Louisa arrives.

So now, Dave is faced with two knotty and tough choices—he either stays and helps Annie or skips town and lives in prosperity for the rest of his life. What will it be?

For Annie’s luck Dave decides to stay and help her, “you must be crazy, real crazy, am I the only one who isn’t crazy around here” Joy boy shouts in a hilarious way when he learns of Dave’s decision.

Unfortunately, Dave and his gang are arrested, however, in a desperate attempt Dave beseeches the police commissioner to release him and let him go just for a little time so he can help Anni. After Dave’s truthful argument the commissioner, the mayor and the governor are convinced and decide to help him in staging an act that will make Annie the happiest mother in the world.

Imagine a party attended by the famous actors, politicians and law biding citizens, celebrating the little old lady and congratulate her for her daughter’s engagement. A gesture that turned a poor old woman who had nothing to a true lady dressed in the finest attire and jewelry that would impress any noble Count.

Tears of joy soon would come gushing out of Annie’s eyes as she embraces her daughter— a scene that made Dave and his gang realize that the whole charade was worthwhile, so the next time you snarl at someone who is less fortunate than you, think twice before doing so, for the person in front of you is of flesh and blood, kinda like you yet with one difference he or she weren’t as lucky.

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