Heaven Forbid: Rage in Heaven

DATELINE:  Koo-Koo Bird Special

 Two-faced Sanders

Note the two faces of George Sanders in the publicity still!

If you think you have seen Rage in Heaven, you may be mistaken. Around the same time came other movies called Leave Her to Heaven and Heaven Can Wait. Worse yet, the latter film also starred Robert Montgomery.

In this movie, Mr. Montgomery may not be above suspicion (after all, he carried an old lady’s head in a hatbox in Night Must Fall). Here too Ingrid Bergman is fresh off being driven mad by her husband in Gaslight, and everyone’s favorite reprobate, George Sanders, is never trustworthy!

This is the sort of movie where we have to trust the psychiatrist (Oscar Homolka) who let the dangerous psycho escape and looks kind of fishy in every scene.

You may begin to think this movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock or perhaps Mel Brooks. A mysterious inmate of a Parisian insane asylum has escaped—and shows up in Merry Olde England.

So, your usual nuthouse quotient is higher than normal.

As for us, we never did like the way Robert Montgomery looked at Fluffy the cat, and George Sanders was simply too too nice hereabouts. As for Bergman, she looks like she wants to catch the next plane to Casablanca.

This period piece of fluffy nutter came from a novella by James Hilton who had given us Lost Horizon, Random Harvest, and Goodbye Mr. Chips. Lightning did not strike twice, or thrice, even with notable Christopher Isherwood doing the screenplay.

However, this is an MGM movie with a pedigree, and is first-class all the way to the nuthouse.

 

 

 

Should Auld Movies Be Forgotten? Well, in this case…

DATELINE: Movie Views and Reviews

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Our Delightful Auld Stars: Greer Garson & Ronald Colman, Auld Hands at James Hilton Stories

James Hilton had a run in Hollywood. His successful novels were turned into a trio of well-received and always fondly remembered movies.

 

Frank Capra turned Lost Horizon into a timeless tale about a magical municipality in the Himalayas where people never aged and counted their lives in centuries. Debonair Ronald Colman played the hero.

 

A few years after Goodbye Mr. Chips came upon the scene about a beloved old British schoolteacher whose grand love was the stunning new star, Greer Garson. Colman couldn’t pass muster as an old academic and the role fell to Robert Donat.

 

By 1942 with the new World War underway, Hollywood turned to shell shocked soapy tale about a man who lived at Random Hall and forgot.  Set in the first World War, Random Harvest may be the weakest, most sentimental tripe of the trio—and not to miss a trick, Ronald Colman and Greer Garson were teamed up in a totally unbelievable story about recurring amnesia. Forget me not.

 

From John Smith, a loony war victim who escapes his asylum and finds love with a showgirl (Garson) singing in a chorus no less, Charles Rainier (Colman) is inevitably hit by a taxi, loses his memory again, makes a fortune as a titan of industry, unknowingly hires his lost first wife as his secretary, and must spend the rest of the movie looking foggy.

 

Will he regain his memory and realize his secretary is the woman he loved when he had lost his mind? You will lose yours waiting to find out.

 

If you think the answer will build suspense, you’d be living in a Hollywood of yesteryear when this sort of romantic claptrap had currency.

 

If you don’t fall into the plot holes and lose your memory, you will enjoy his sappy and tear-jerking movie. It will help if you have no memory of ever seeing this film, but unfortunately you may watch it again without realizing it all seems vaguely familiar.

 

You can find TO SEE–OR NOT TO SEE, a book of movie views and reviews on Amazon.com in either e-book format or softcover.

 http://williamrusso.us