HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Heavens Above! Charity Begins At Home
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: ComedyBuy from Amazon
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 6175 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: