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

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Sonja Ziemann and Petula Clark 
MADE IN HEAVEN (1952). Director: John Paddy Carstairs.

In a post-war British village, Basil Topham (David Tomlinson) and his wife, Julie (Petula Clark), live with his parents but are hoping to move into a new house -- and get a new cook because grandpa (A. E. Matthews) burns all of their food. They are expecting an elderly maid to arrive, but instead it turns out to be the beautiful Hungarian refugee, Marta (Sonja Ziemann), who sets a lot of hearts and hormones a 'flutter. Julie isn't crazy with this situation and matters aren't helped when she and Basil are chosen to be competitors for a side of bacon if they prove to be the happiest married couple in the village. But then Marta starts coming on to Basil, the bacon is stolen, the Vicar is in an uproar, and Marta's ex-fiance (Ferdy Mayne) shows up with a new marriage proposal. Yes, Made in Heaven has a strange plot, but while it's amiable enough, it has no laugh-out-loud moments. You know a comedy is in trouble when the funniest line is that old gag about "saving your bacon." Watching this, one gets the impression that a memorable film might have been made if MGM had bought the rights, turned this into a musical, hired top stars and some great American character actors, and turned the whole thing into a jolly farce with singing and dancing. The performers are all good, however, including Sophie Stewart and Charles Victor [The Woman in Question] as Basil's parents, Richard Wattis [The Prince and the Showgirl] as the Vicar, and Athene Seyler [I Thank a Fool] as the Vicar's formidable sister, Rosabelle. Most Americans got to know Petula Clark when she had a hit with the record "Downtown" in the sixties, but she'd been performing in England for years, and later appeared in Goodbye, Mr Chips with Peter O'Toole. Ziemann primarily worked in German movies. Tomlinson [War-Gods of the Deep] was a busy actor on both sides of the Atlantic. John Paddy Carstairs also directed He Found a Star with Sarah Churchill.

Verdict: Well, it's certainly different.... **.

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