DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE HEAVENLY BODY (director: Alexander Hall; screenwriters: Michael Arlen/Walter ReischHarry Kurnitz/story by Jacques Thery; cinematographer: Robert Planck; editor: Blanche Sewell ; music: Bronislau Kaper; cast:  William Powell (William B. Whitley), Hedy Lamarr (Vicky Whitley), James Craig (Lloyd X. Hunter), Fay Bainter (Margaret Sibyll), Henry O'Neill (Prof. Stone), Spring Byington (Nancy Potter), Morris Ankrum (Dr. Green), Alex Melesh (Vladimir), Marietta Canty (Pearl, maid), Connie Gilchrist (Beulah Murphy); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.; MGM (Warner Bros.); 1944)

"A contrived lamebrain wartime comedy."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A contrived lamebrain wartime comedy that costars the wooden Hedy Lamarr and the still recovering from ulcers after two years away from films William Powell. Alexander Hall  ("Forever Darling"/"Here Comes Mr. Jordan") flatly directs in black and white. It's based on a story by Jacques Thery. The writers Michael Arlen, Walter Reisch and Harry Kurnitz fail to come up with much comical material that works.

In Bandello, California, a suburb near Los Angeles, Bill Whitley (William Powell) is a noted astronomer, who discovered a new comet that is named after him. Vicky (Hedy LaMarr) is the neglected wife of the workaholic scientist, who spends all night in the Mount Jefferson Observatory observing his comet. Upon the suggestion of a neighbor (Spring Byington), the bored Vicky goes to the astrologist Sibyll (Fay Bainter) for a horoscope reading and is told a handsome stranger will come into her life as her dream man on a certain day. As predicted, the handsome stranger pops up as Lloyd Hunter (James Craig), the new air-raid warden. His presence makes hubby jealous, and he takes devious actions to save the marriage.

There were no laughs despite Powell often mugging for the camera and a few silly scenes, including one where Powell gets drunk on vodka with his house filled with Russians. The mediocre film relied on the good looks of Hedy and her exquisite wardrobe to gain favor with the public.

REVIEWED ON 8/21/2016       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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