Heavens Above (1963)

April 10th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: The Boulting Brothers | Comedy Drama | with Peter Selllars, Ian Carmichael, Irene Handl, Cecil Parker, Isabel Jeans | Comedy Drama 118’

Having already socked it to the army and the trade unions the Boulting brothers now turned their attention to that other Great British institution, the Church of England.

The boys were getting very cynical in their old age and the sunny optimism of Peter Sellers’ brummie prison chaplain comes a very poor third to the corruption and venality of his flock in the fictional parish of Orbiston Parma.

A newspaper headline referring to Salan serves as a reminder of unpleasant realities abroad. There are plenty of nasty digs at travellers and welfare claimants and the coarsening of their humour is demonstrated by the use of a laxative (“Builds you up, cleans you out!”) as a major plot point and it really jumps the shark when Sellers goes up in a rocket at the conclusion.

The brothers’ perennial disrespect for institutionalised religion is tempered here as it was in their company’s 1940 production ‘Pastor Hall’ by their sympathetic depiction of an individual clergyman. @RichardChatten

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