Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Edmund Gwenn and Clifton Webb
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE (1950). Director: George Seaton.

"Successful angels do not use sarcasm."

Charles (Clifton Webb) and Arthur (Edmund Gwenn) are angels sent down from heaven to oversee the birth of two little angels (Gigi Perreau; Tommy Rettig) whose parents seem reluctant to bring children into the world. Charles sees actress Lydia Bolton (Joan Bennett) and her husband, Jeff (Bob Cummings) as selfish, irresponsible people when they are simply talented artists who quite sensibly don't want to have children. But snippy Charles, to the horror of prissy Arthur, decides to help things along by becoming human for a time and interfering with the lives of the Boltons. Inspired by a Gary Cooper movie, Charles takes on the persona of wealthy rancher "Slim" Charles, but will the allures of earthly passions prevent him from completing his assignment ..? For Heaven's Sake is bolstered by a good cast, with Webb and Cummings especially helping to put this weird material over. Jack La Rue [The Story of Temple Drake] also makes his mark as a tough guy actor who is not as hard as he thinks, and the dour Charles Lane [The Invisible Woman] is well-cast as an IRS man who wonders why "Slim" doesn't pay any taxes. Perreau and Rettig are suitably adorable. Harry von Zell [The Saxon Charm] and Joan Blondell make shorter appearances. Bennett was very effective in both slinky and maternal roles; in this she's sort of caught in the middle. It's interesting that the little girl is determined to be born to such wealthy parents, although nothing is ever made of this.

Verdict: Charming in spite of itself. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Great cast, need to catch this one. I've never seen it. Clifton Webb is another of those "forgotten stars" who was absolutely brilliant...and had a distinctively lavender vibe!

William said...

He did, but the funny thing is he was such a great actor that he was completely convincing even when he played family men with a dozen children. He is one of my absolute favorites. Sadly, the true love of his life was his mother.