AN ANGEL COMES TO BROOKLYN (1945)
Article 2468 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-4-2008
Posting Date: 5-15-2008
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Featuring Kay Dowd, Robert Duke, David Street
An angel from actors’ heaven comes down to Earth to help a struggling actress get a break. He decides to help by becoming a producer for a musical revue to show off her talents. Pain ensues.
As a self-professed fan of Olsen and Johnson’s HELLZAPOPPIN’, I should be the last person to throw stones at this surreal anything-goes musical. But there are profound differences. For one thing, HELLZAPOPPIN’ undercut every moment of hokey sentimentality with de-sweetening humor; this one wallows in it shamelessly, what with its treacly “ain’t imagination great” message and “spritely feel-good music” that just makes me feel kind of sick. Personally, I’d rather spend eternity in the jolly fun of HELLZAPOPPIN’s hell, where devils store sinners in barrels and poke them with pitchforks than to have to endure ten minutes of Actors’ Heaven from this one, where bad actors sing ditties and speak in rhyme. As far as I’m concerned, we’re in DOWN TO EARTH territory here, and that’s not good; it doesn’t even boast the star power of that one. And I don’t care how many times they talk about Actors’ heaven in this one; I know real Hell when I see it.