HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
First Man
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
Blame
Upgrade
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
Disobedience
On the Job
Monsters and Men
   
 
Newest Articles
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
   
 
  Heavens Above! Charity Begins At HomeBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: John Boulting, Roy Boulting
Stars: Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, Isabel Jeans, Ian Carmichael, Bernard Miles, Brock Peters, Eric Sykes, Irene Handl, Miriam Karlin, Joan Miller, Miles Malleson, Eric Barker, William Hartnell, Roy Kinnear, Joan Hickson, Kenneth Griffith, Thorley Walters
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 3 votes)
Review: Orbiston Parva is a sleepy village in England whose inhabitants do very well out of the local factory which manufactures a pep pill popular throughout the country. The leader of the community is Lady Despard (Isabel Jeans), who cares more about her pet dogs than she does everyone else, but all that is about to change when the last Reverend has stepped down and a replacement must be sought. The Archdeacon (Cecil Parker) has an idea, and decides to appoint the Reverend Smallwood - trouble is, the wrong Smallwood gets the call, and an idealistic young prison chaplain is sent for by mistake...

Heaven's Above! was the third in the trilogy of Boulting Brothers satires, starting with Private's Progress, which skewered the military, I'm All Right Jack, the one genuine classic of the three which took on British industry, and finally this. It would be nice to say that it took aim at the Church of England and hit a bullseye, but there's an important name in the credits that you will not notice until the very end. Although he is largely forgotten today, Malcolm Muggeridge was the self-appointed moral guardian of British society for two or three decades, and it is he who is credited with the idea behind this.

Which could well explain why it is not the church which is finally at fault when Smallwood starts his charitable crusade, but his parishioners, and any of the other ordinary folks who happen to come into his orbit. Was it the influence of Muggeridge who ensured that the laughs were thin on the ground and for a comedy this was frustratingly humourless? He wasn't well known for his wisecracks, after all, but the sanctimonious tone to much of the plot leaves you feeling as if you've been lectured for the best part of two hours, and while there is such a thing as academic humour, you do not even have that offered to you here.

Instead, where I'm All Right Jack made their characters all too real and identifiable, which only made the laughs more piercingly funny, here we are dealing with types who would be better off played by extras wielding placards which displayed their characteristics all the better for us to latch on to what they are meant to represent. Luckily for the Boultings, they assembled a cast of talent who knew how to make lead into gold, and at their head is Peter Sellers as Smallwood, sporting a Birmingham accent and a demeanour of well-meaning calm during crisis. Smallwood is by far the most interesting personality, a man whose faith and decency causes him to stumble badly, but by the misjudged ending he simply looks deluded.

Whether that was intentional or not is unclear, but the Reverend's big idea is to bring charity to the fore in society. To do this, he persuades Lady Despard to fund a big giveaway of comestibles and household items so that everyone may get an adequate share of what they need. The result of this is that local shops close down because all their customers are visiting the church hall for their shopping, and when Smallwood becomes the centre of a cult following, he denounces the pep pills that make the area wealthy and they suffer a drastic drop in sales. The film takes a bleak view of the public, and to a man they are petty, selfish and greedy with the exception of Matthew (Brock Peters), the optimistic refuse collector who finds Smallwood to be on the same wavelength as he is. You might glean a few chuckles from this, but it says missed opportunity all the way through. Music by Richard Rodney Bennett.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2728 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: