Charles Petzold

Betty Hutton and “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek”

March 15, 2007
New York, N.Y.

Actress Betty Hutton — who was born in 1921 and died this past Monday — made a bunch of movies in the 1940s that have long since drifted into obscurity. One big exception is The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek from 1944.

In The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, Betty Hutton plays Trudy Kockenlocker, who goes out dancing and partying with some soldiers about to ship out, and comes home the next morning... well, confused. She can't quite remember all the details but she thinks she got married, and perhaps the lucky soldier's name was Ratzkywatzky. Or maybe not. Whether she actually got married or not, she is definitely pregnant.

If this sounds like inappropriate subject matter for a Hollywood movie from the early 40's, that's correct, and if it were a drama, it would never have been made. But The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is a very, very silly comedy, and one of seven masterpieces written and directed by Preston Sturges between 1940 and 1944, a run that also includes The Lady Eve and Sullivan’s Travels.

Betty Hutton was 22 years old when The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek was filmed, but her comic timing in this film is just impeccable. She is surrounded by incredible supporting cast, and a screenplay that demonstrates how a night out partying can eventually turn the tide of WW II.