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Angel Baby

Angel Baby(1961)


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Shocked into muteness by a brutal father, young Jenny Brooks tries to escape the loneliness of her life by becoming the town trollop. Then one day a faith-healing preacher named Paul Strand comes to the small southern town where Jenny lives and miraculously restores her power of speech. Deeply moved, she abandons her former ways and joins Paul's troop of touring evangelists. The simple honesty of her faith wins her the friendship of the somewhat alcoholic Mollie and Ben Hays, but the soft beauty of her youth arouses the jealousy of Paul's wife, Sarah, an older, twisted, vindictive woman. After accusing Paul of having adulterous thoughts, Sarah "persuades" Jenny to go out on her own, and, accompanied by Mollie and Ben, the young girl--now billed as Angel Baby, The Preacher of the Ages--begins a tour of the South. An unscrupulous drug manufacturer, Sam Wilcox, becomes her manager and uses the innocence of her spiritual fervor to further his own mercenary ends, even resorting to rigging a phony healing in which the unsuspecting Jenny restores a "blind" man's sight. The night after the "miracle," as hundreds of the ill and maimed wait to be cured, Sarah arrives at the tent, denounces Jenny as a fraud, and exposes the bogus miracle. As the stunned Jenny staggers from her platform, the crowd riots, and in the ensuing melee, Sarah is killed. Paul seeks out Jenny and tries to persuade her to return to preaching. At first she refuses, but when her prayers help a crippled child to walk again, she rediscovers her faith and decides to join Paul in the continuance of his evangelical work.