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Miracle in the Rain
1956 Jump to Synopsis and Details
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Private Arthur Hugenon (Van Johnson) and the lonely Ruth Wood (Jane Wyman) meet in a rain-soaked New York City during World War II in MIRACLE IN THE RAIN. The two quickly begin a passionate affair but events conspire to keep them apart as their tale unravels, leading to some desperately sad and emotional scenes.


This sentimental film about World War II was made ten years after the war ended. It opens in 1942, when timid Ruth Wood (Jane Wyman) is accosted by boisterous GI Art Hugenon (Van Johnson) on the street. Despite her protestations, he cheekily invites himself to dinner with her and her mother. Ruth's mother is in a state of permanent depression. Years ago, her husband left her for another woman and abandoned her and Ruth. She's held a grudge against men ever since, even though she's carefully preserved all her husband's possessions and continues to carefully mend the clothing he left behind. She definitely has issues. Needless to say, she cowers at the sight of Art. Art makes her even more miserable when he finds some music her musician husband wrote before he left. Art sits down at the piano and plays it and starts to make up words to go with the music. Ruth's mother is terrified that Ruth will abandon her the same way her husband did. We can see the kind of pressure Ruth is under to please her mother and how desolate her life was before she met Art.

Art and Ruth have a whirlwind courtship that consists of enjoying the city. They go to an auction and Ruth buys Art a supposedly old Roman coin for two dollars. Art says he'll punch a hole in it and wear it around his neck to remind him of her. Art loves New York, and after the war he wants to move to the city and be a reporter for the New York Times. He even manages to sell the paper a story about a retired sailor he and Ruth meet in Central Park. They also have dinner at a French restaurant where Ruth's dad (unbeknownst to her) plays the piano for the diners. Her father recognizes her and his response is to knock down some drinks at the bar and then creep out the door. He and his wife are obviously a perfect match when it comes to emotional inadequacy. Poor Ruth!

As to be expected, Art's unit is called overseas. He and Ruth have an emotional farewell. Art asks Ruth to marry him and gives her his mother's engagement ring. Considering how emotionally neglected Ruth has been her whole life, this is earthshaking. She gets a scrapbook with his name embossed on it and carefully cuts out his article from the Times and pastes it in. She writes him every day, but he never writes back. Then, she gets a letter from one of his Army buddies. Art has died in combat and his last words were of his love for Ruth. Ruth is heartbroken naturally, and she goes off the deep end.

Her friend Agnes takes her St. Patrick's Cathedral to see if sitting quietly in the church will help her come out of her grief. Instead it makes Ruth's behavior even stranger. Given the fact that she has a mother who's had a psychotic break and an alcoholic father, are we surprised? Mental illness definitely runs in this family. Ruth (who's not Catholic) becomes obsessed with lighting candles and putting them in front of a statue of St. Andrew so that he won't be "alone in the dark." A handsome young priest tries to help her, but to no avail. Ruth's also coughing all the time, she's starting to get sick. Her sleazy, womanizing boss takes her out to the same French restaurant she went to with Art and tries to hit on her. Her dad is there to play the piano, but he turns on the radio and hears the song he wrote with Art's words. Art had a musician friend Dixie Dooley and he gave Dixie the music before he went overseas. Ruth's dad figures his wife must have sold the song and, despite all the years he's spent away from her, casually decides to call her on the phone. He doesn't see Ruth. She leaves her creepy boss and walks out of the restaurant while he's in the phone booth. A coward again, he hangs up when his wife answers the phone.

Now Ruth is really sick. She has pneumonia. Her mom actually comes to life and starts to take care of her daughter instead of her usual moping around their shabby apartment. Ruth's mother falls asleep on the divan in the living room and Ruth climbs out of her sickbed and walks out into into the rainy New York night. Her father, who has been lurking around the building trying to work up the courage to see his wife, doesn't see her. He finally makes it upstairs to the apartment and apologizes to Ruth's mother for what a heel he's been. Ruth's mother comes to her senses (somewhat) and then realizes Ruth is gone. She shrieks to her husband that he must find Ruth, even though it's obvious that Ruth's father is totally incompetent.

Ruth wanders in the rain to St. Patrick's. In her delirium, she sees Art. He bounds across Fifth Avenue and gives her a hug and tells her he loves her. It's a genuinely affecting scene. He presses the chain with the Roman coin on it into her hand and says he has to go. She collapses on the steps of the church, alone in the rain. The priest and an altar boy find her. Agnes shows up too. They notice something in her hand. It's the chain with the coin on it. Agnes exclaims that Art took wore it when he went overseas and she can't understand how Ruth has it now. That's the miracle in the rain the film's title refers to. What will happen to Ruth when she recovers? It looks like her parents will be back together again, but now Ruth may be stuck taking care of two emotional misfits instead of one. Art's death ruined her one true chance for happiness. She'll need miracle number two to separate from her demanding parents.

Review from Amazon.com

The deft and lovely Miracle in the Rain is exactly what the love doc ordered. The 1956 classic stars Jane Wyman as Ruth, that long-lost movie heroine type: a working-girl spinster caring for her ailing mother, toiling at her mundane job and feeling life's passing her by. Well, life has a little surprise up its sleeve, in the form of a random meeting on the streets of New York, with a soldier named Arthur (Van Johnson), who's on temporary leave during World War II. The streets are dingy and the rain is pounding, but the mood is changed; two lost souls connect. What follows is a believable, heart-wrenching tale with a great script (courtesy of Ben Hecht), and terrific performances by the two leads and a brassy Eileen Heckart as Ruth's best pal (and chaperone on the couple's first date!). The film presages the later weepy Somewhere in Time, with its echoes of fate, chance, and even the role of a tiny coin. Fans of romance of all eras, who believe what Arthur says--"Love never dies"--should wrap themselves in the cocoon of Miracle in the Rain--and never stop believing in miracles. --A.T. Hurley


Jane Wyman as Ruth Wood

Van Johnson as Pvt. Arthur 'Art' Hugenon

Peggie Castle as Millie Kranz

Fred Clark as Steven Jalonik

Eileen Heckart as Grace Ullman

Josephine Hutchinson as Agnes Wood

William Gargan as Harry Wood

Marcel Dalio as Marcel, Waiter

George Givot as Headwaiter

Barbara Nichols as Arlene Parker nee Witchy

Halliwell Hobbes as Ely B. 'Windy' Windgate

Paul Picerni as Priest

Alan King as Sgt. Gilbert 'Gil' Parker

Irene Seidner as Mrs. Hamer

Arte Johnson as Monty

Marian Holmes as Mrs. Rickles

Minerva Urecal as Mrs. Canelli

Rose Allen as Elderly Woman

Chalo Alvarado as Italian Count

Roxanne Arlen as Cathy Wicklow

Malcolm Atterbury as Special Delivery Man

John Connoughton as Altar Boy

Diana Dawson as Young Woman

Anna Dewey as Elderly Woman

Darlene Fields as Count's Girlfriend

Harry Harvey Jr. as Boy in New York Times Office

Charles Anthony Hughes as 55 Year Old Man

Walter Kingson as Narrator

Jess Kirkpatrick as Andy, the Bartender

Mike Lally as Antique Store Clerk

Jack Lomas as Assistant Auctioneer

Lucita as Accordionist

Peter Mamakos as Headwaiter

Paul Maxey as Stout Man

Charles Meredith as Mr. Baldwin's Associate

Allen Ray as Middle Aged Man

Grandon Rhodes as Mr. Baldwin, City Editor

Frank J. Scannell as Auctioneer

Norbert Schiller as Dr. Zero

Paul Smith as Dixie Dooley

Hal Taggart as Street Extra

Michael Vallon as Italian Flower Vendor

Glen Vernon as Master of Ceremonies

Ray Walker as Mr. McGuire, Salesman

Tom Wilson as Auction Extra


Directed by
Rudolph Maté

Writing credits
Ben Hecht novel & screenplay

Produced by
Frank P. Rosenberg - producer

Original Music by
Franz Waxman

Cinematography by
Russell Metty

Film Editing by
Thomas Reilly

Art Direction by
Leo K. Kuter

Set Decoration by
William Wallace

Costume Design by
Milo Anderson

Makeup Department
Gordon Bau - makeup artist

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mel Dellar - assistant director
Lee White - assistant director

Sound Department
Robert B. Lee - sound

Music Department
Ray Heindorf - composer: song "I'll Always Believe In You"
M.K. Jerome - composer: song "I'll Always Believe In You"
Leonid Raab - orchestrator

Other crew
Eugene Busch - dialogue supervisor

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