“You’re driving me right into the hot girdle business!”
A trumpeter (Jack Benny) on a late-night-radio show falls asleep and dreams he is an angel named Athaneael sent on a special mission by his supervisor (Guy McKibbee) to destroy the planet Earth. Benny is foiled in his first attempt by two fallen angels (Allyn Joslyn and John Alexander) who have enlisted the help of a racketeer (Reginald Gardiner) and his girlfriend (Dolores Moran) to prevent him from blowing his horn at midnight; but Athanael’s loyal girlfriend (Alexis Smith) comes down to Earth to help give him a second chance.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alexis Smith Films
- Jack Benny Films
- Raoul Walsh Films
Raoul Walsh directed this quirky fantasy tale which travels in unexpected directions from beginning to end — starting with Benny’s original character falling asleep during an advertisement for a somniferous coffee (!?), and continuing through his outlandishly slapstick adventures as an angel attempting to blow his darn horn at midnight while encountering endless Earthly obstacles. Buxomy blonde Moran is surprisingly amusing as a “cigarette girl” who’s primarily interested in pleasing her sleazy boyfriend (Gardiner); she effectively distracts Benny, though not in the way one might expect.
Indeed, Benny’s character is such a genuinely good-hearted fellow — his name is a variation on Nathanael, which means “gift from God” — that we can’t help cheering him on despite his sincere intention to blow up the Earth; instead, we’re simply grateful he has such a loyal and stoically plucky girlfriend literally waiting in the wings to help him out.
Note: This film was primarily infamous as the flop Benny loved to self-flagellate over; too bad, as it doesn’t deserve that reputation.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine art design and special effects
- Alexis Smith as Elizabeth
Yes, as a unique outing. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.