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Miracle in Soho (1957)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Soho, West London. The residents of St Anthony's Lane awake one morning to the sound of workmen. The men are re-laying tarmac on the street, closing the road down for ten days. Michael Morgan, a driller new to the crew, faces hostility from some of his colleagues, who know about his womanising reputation. Sam Bishop, the local postman and a Salvation Army member, warns Michael to stay clear of the girls in St Anthony's Lane. Michael ignores him, having already agreed to meet barmaid Gwladys that evening.

Later, Julia Gozzi, the youngest daughter of Italian immigrants, returns to the street with her teenage boyfriend Johnny. She won't let him kiss her and they argue, causing Michael to tease Johnny before leaving to see Gwladys. At her flat, Gwladys' boyfriend - Filippo, Julia's brother - interrupts the pair and Michael has to escape onto the roof at the back of the street. Julia spots and reprimands him, threatening to tell her brother. Her sister Mafalda stops her, letting her know that the family's residency permits have arrived and they will be soon be moving to Canada. Both Mafalda and Filippo, however, want to stay in London with their partners, but haven't yet told their parents. Julia, anxious to keep her family together, pleads with both to change their minds, resolving to tell Filippo about Michael and Gwladys if he disagrees.

The following day, Michael is trying to buy some dog biscuits - a way of chatting up a young dog owner - and happens across the pet shop in which Julia works. Unimpressed with Michael's philandering, she nevertheless asks him to tell Filippo that he was visiting Gwladys the previous night. He refuses, and the Gozzis have a big argument when Filippo announces he is not going to Canada.

That evening, Michael joins Julia, Mafalda and Sam in the local late-night restaurant, debating what to do about the girls' family argument. Sacrificing his chances with the dog owner, he is talked into owning up to Filippo, who reacts violently and runs off. Mafalda also starts having doubts when she realises her feelings for the restaurant owner, Karl, are not very strong. The next day, Julia kisses Michael for confessing to Filippo.

The weekend is full of tiny miracles: Michael spends his first Saturday night in for years, listening to the concert he knows Julia is attending with Johnny, and during Sunday the Gozzis reunite after Filippo and Mafalda decide to come to Canada.

As the second week of work begins, Michael is more involved with his workmates and is invited onto the darts team. Tragedy strikes when Michael's workmate Tom suffers a nasty tar burn and is hospitalised, forcing Michael to miss the darts match and a date with yet another girl. Michael's devotion to Tom touches Julia. Walking home from the hospital, the couple begin to fall in love. Julia asks Michael to talk to Gwladys, who is threatening to sue Filippo for breaking off their engagement. She is proud of living in St Anthony's Lane and asks for a piece of the old asphalt. The following morning, Michael delivers a stolen street sign as a leaving present.

The next day, the Gozzis prepare to depart. The whole street rises at 6.30 am to wave them off and all except Julia leave. Planning to be driven by Johnny later that day, Julia has a change of heart halfway and instead returns to St Anthony's Lane.

The workmen lay the final piece of tar as the day closes. Julia returns to confront Michael, who has now moved into the Gozzi's old flat. He angrily accuses her of being foolish, declaring that the moment he finishes in a street, he also finishes with the girls in it. Later, however, his lonely old dad warns him to beware a life of solitude.

Julia goes to the street's church to pray to St Anthony to do something that will persuade Michael to return. With Sam as witness, Julia's prayer is answered, and the new asphalt erupts from a burst water pipe. Nobody recognises the miracle, blaming a fault caused by the digging of the road, but Julia is happy as the workmen return and Michael embraces her.