If "Miracle at Midnight" weren't a true story, it would be impossible to believe.
This "Wonderful World of Disney" presentation (Sunday, 6 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) retells the amazing story of how in 1943 the Danish people almost overnight saved the vast majority of their Jewish neighbors from being rounded up by Nazi occupiers."Miracle at Midnight" uses an actual Danish family to tell the story (although the family's story is somewhat fictionalized). There's Karl Koster (Sam Waterston of "Law & Order"), a prominent doctor in Copenhagen; his wife, Doris (Mia Farrow); their 18-year-old son, Hendrik (Justin Whalin), who's in the Danish resistance; and their preteen daughter, Else (Nicola Mycroft). They're good people who are shocked when word leaks out that the Nazis plan to round up all of Denmark's approximately 7,500 Jews on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.
While Doris is rather reluctant, fearing for the safety of her own family, the Kosters and thousands of their countrymen don't hesitate - in less than two days, the Danish Jews are hidden in homes, hospitals, churches, farms and other sites across the country.
That's just the beginning. The real task is to smuggle the Jews to Sweden, where they will be safe. And despite a Nazi crackdown - and at the cost of some non-Jewish lives - all but a few hundred of the hunted reach safety.
"Miracle at Midnight" gets a bit preachy at times, but generally does a fine job of demonstrating the shades of gray in the characters. Not all the Danes are portrayed as heroes and not all the Germans are portrayed as villains.
Actually, the telefilm film makes a point that a German diplomat (Patrick Malahide) - a member of the Nazi party - not only tipped off the Danes about what was going to happen but persuaded the Swedes to accept the refugees.
This is Farrow's first television role since she left "Peyton Place" in 1966. And, in a prepared statement, she said it took something like "Miracle at Midnight" to bring her back to the small screen.
"I found the story compelling," she said. "It's easy to lose faith when you look at World War II and the behavior of the countries who turned away from their Jews. But here you have all of Denmark who acted in unity, (and) overnight resolved to protect their Jewish population.
"I just thought it was a story worth telling and it brought me back to television to do this one thing. I want my kids to see it and I wanted to be in it."
And "Miracle at Midnight" will not only capture the interest of children but teach them something about tolerance and courage and compassion. Not that it's easy to explain to kids how the Holocaust could have happened.
Nor is this always an easy movie to watch. While there's not a whole lot of blood, people get shot and characters die - including valiant, sympathetic characters.
But this is a story that deserves retelling. Executive producer John Davis deserves a lot of credit for sticking with the project through more than a decade of development as it bounced from studio to studio, network to network.
As do Disney and ABC for finally making and broadcasting "Miracle at Midnight."