The Horn Blows at Midnight

The Horn Blows at Midnight

Director: Raoul Walsh Cast: Jack Benny, Alexis Smith, Guy Kibbee

DVD (Full Frame)

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Overview

Though Jack Benny made a cottage industry out of joking about the purported rottenness of his 1945 vehicle Horn Blows at Midnght, the film is in fact a delightful comedy-fantasy-certainly not Benny's best film, but far from his worst. While dozing off during a radio broadcast, studio musician Athaniel (Benny) dreams he's a trumpet player in Heaven's celestial orchestra. At the behest of glamorous angel Elizabeth (Alexis Smith), Athaniel is brought into the lavish chambers of The Chief (Guy Kibbee), who has a job for our hapless hero. It seems that The Front Office, dissatisfied with the state of things on planet Earth ("just a six-day job"), has decided to destroy the tiny globe. Athaniel is to go down to New York City and blow his trumpet at midnight, thereby heralding the end of the world. Unfortunately he botches the job and remains stuck on earth as a "fallen angel" along with previous Heavenly dropouts Osidro (Allyn Joslyn) and and Doremus (John Alexander). Having persuaded The Chief to give Athaniel a second chance, Elizabeth herself comes to Earth to make sure that her sweetheart successfully completes his mission. Alas, the impoverished Athaniel has used his precious trumpet to pay for a meal, thereby setting off a chain reaction of comic complications, culminating with a Harold Lloyd-like climax wherein Athaniel is but one of six people precariously dangling from a skyscraper ledge. Evidence exists that the "dream" framework and slapstick finale of Horn Blows at Midnight were last-minute additions: A 1949 radio version of the Sam Hellman-James V. Kern screenplay is quite different, with a more sentimental and "meaningful" finale. Whatever the case, the screen version of Horn Blows at Midnight delivers plenty of laughs for Benny fans and casual viewers alike. Alas, the film proved a box-office disappointment, which was injurious for Benny's film career but a boon to his radio and TV shows, which thrived on derisive Horn Blows at Midnight jokes for the next two decades!

Product Details

Release Date: 11/12/2013
UPC: 0883316879368
Original Release: 1945
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Presentation: [Full Frame]
Time: 1:18:00
Sales rank: 5,619

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Benny Athanael
Alexis Smith Elizabeth
Guy Kibbee The Chief/Radio director
Margaret Dumont Miss Rodholder/Mme. Traviata
Allyn Joslyn Osidro/Second trumpeter
Dolores Moran Fran Blackstone/Violinist
Reginald Gardiner Archie Dexter/Composer
John Alexander Doremus
Franklin Pangborn Sloan/Radio engineer
Ethel Griffies Lady Stover
Paul Harvey Hotel manager
Truman Bradley Radio announcer
Mike Mazurki Bass player/Humphrey
John Brown Lew
Murray Alper Tony
Pat O'Moore Clerk
Monte Blue Actor
Emma Dunn Actor
Isobel Elsom Actor
Henry Morgan Actor
Harry Rosenthal Actor
Jack J. Ford Actor
Robert Blake Junior
Oliver Blake Heavenly photographer
James Burke Cop
Jack Norton Drunk
Francis Pierlot Heavenly personnel manager

Technical Credits
Raoul Walsh Director
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Mark Hellinger Producer
Sam Hellman Screenwriter
Sidney Hickox Cinematographer
Stan Jones Sound/Sound Designer
James Kern Screenwriter
Irene Morra Editor
Hugh Reticker Art Director
Carl Stalling Score Composer
Clarence I. Steensen Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Perc Westmore Makeup

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