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If you are at all familiar with astrology, you'll find the tongue-in-cheek
astrological subplot very amusing. Essentially a straightforward romantic
comedy of the era, with a wartime subplot in addition to the astrological
one. Astronomer Powell, pre-occupied with recent developments in his work,
doesn't devote sufficient time to his marriage, so wife Hedy seeks
from the neighborhood astrologer. Informed that she is about to meet a new
love, she becomes infatuated with a handsome air raid warden, presuming
to be her foretold lover. Predictable hijinks ensue, with the predictable
A comment on the role of the astrologer, portrayed by Fay Bainter. Her character is more a shrewd neighborhood gossip than a psychic, but appears to be a genuine believer in astrology as opposed to a calculating charlatan. Her character is presented as essentially a harmless eccentric. However, she is later revealed to be a rations hoarder (much frowned upon during WWII). Some PC Pagan/New Age persons may therefore be offended by the negative, 'discriminatory stereotype' depicted in the film. Others can look forward to some silly, harmless entertainment.
I recall this amiable hodge podge of a film with affection. The stars are charming and appealing. It also has considerable camp value. And yes, Hedy's ethereal gorgeousness is nothing short of stunning.
When this was made, MGM was no longer making a serious effort to get Hedy Lamarr good roles. Though while the story isn't all that brilliant, Hedy's infinite loveliness and a few lightly amusing parts make this movie worthwhile. She's just impossibly gorgeous and a very warm presence throughout. And such a charming voice she had! Her and William Powell made a pretty good on-screen couple in this their second and final film together. He supplied most of the humor while she supplied all of the heavenliness. This movie certainly isn't a monumental classic, but it's quite entertaining.
This delightful film works well because of the perfect combination of William Powell and Hedy Lamarr. It's a classic screwball romantic comedy -- silly, fluffy, hilarious. Stunningly beautiful Hedy Lamarr (who was actually a serious intellect offscreen) is surprisingly convincing as a ditz who is blithely unaware of the effect her obsession with astrology is having on her long-suffering professor/astronomer husband (Powell). If this were real life, you'd want to throttle her -- but that's a lot of the humor here. Powell puts across just the right amount of loving good humor mixed with near-homicidal frustration. There are some cute surprises along the way, and lots of recognizable character actors rounding out the cast. While the script falls short of the witty dialogue you'll find in comedies like The Palm Beach Story and Bringing Up Baby, it's still a fun trip down memory lane.
Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this trite comedy, but it seemed to
me to be all over the place. Hedy Lamarr plays a silly woman, who,
neglected by her astronomer husband, William Powell, believes an
astrologer who tells her that she will meet another man at a certain
time. She does, and it turns out to be the neighborhood air raid
warden, James Craig. She then announces she's leaving her husband, to
The heavenly body refers to Lamarr, of course, who is absolutely gorgeous in this movie as usual, if not much of an actress, also as usual. She did have one of the most exquisite faces of all time, though. The heavenly body also refers to Whitley's comet, a comet to be named after her husband.
Powell handles the comedy well. It's a good cast, mildly enjoyable, but in the end, there's not much to it.
Obviously, the title of this movie described this actress perfectly. She had perfect chemistry with that thin man Powell. It was a different time and the country at war, but it brings back many memories of what went on during that period. ..the air raid wardens, the blackouts and Hedy waving at the window while Powell was telescoping her magnificence in that nightgown. A harmless and pleasant comedy.
"Heavenly Body", which was shown on cable recently, is one of those
forgotten MGM comedies of the forties that had a lot style and showed a
great promise based on the people involved. As directed by Alexander
Hall, the movie capitalizes on the talented William Powell and the
beautiful Hedy Lamarr, perhaps one of the most beautiful women in the
movies of that era.
The comedy seems to be a struggle between sciences that even though sound similar, are completely opposite. William Whitley is an astrologer married to the gorgeous Vicky. They appear happy together, that is, until Nancy Potter, a neighbor, interests her in astronomy. The good natured Vicky falls prey to horoscopes and charts that take her interest away from her husband, who has made an important discovery in a comet that will be crashing on the moon.
Things get complicated when journalist LLoyd Hunter enters the picture and falls for Vicky. William feels neglected and wants to get Vicky to realize what's important and what's not, so he takes matters into his own hands and has a confrontation with the astrologer Ms. Sybill. Right after that, Vicky realizes how much William loves her and leaves all the predictions aside.
William Powell was an actor with a lot of charm. He was wonderful playing comedies, as he shows here. It's easy to see how he would be good next to Ms. Lamarr, who shows good chemistry with her co-star. In supporting roles we see a lot of the best character actors of the time, James Craig, Spring Byington, Fay Banter, Henry O'Neill, among others.
See the film as curiosity piece.
Enjoyed this silly 1944 Comedy starring William Powell, (William S. Whitley) and his wife, Vicky Whitley, ( Hedy Lamarr). Vicky is being badly neglected by her husband and seeks the aid of a woman Astrologist who predicts she will meet another man and fall in love. Vicky's husband Bill is a very famous Astromist who has recently discovered a new planet in the solar system and has no idea that his wife Vicky is not happy with him. Vicky does meet a handsome young man in her life who is a neighbor and is also an Air Raid Warden, which was needed during World War II. Hedy Lamarr looked fantastic in this film and her natural beauty is clearly shown along with her great acting abilities. Great actor William Powell gave and excellent supporting role and it looked like they both enjoyed making this film. This is a worth while film to view from 1944.
I usually avoid watching movies that get less than a 3-star rating on the Turner Classic Movies channel but maybe I should reevaluate that policy because - being a big William Powell fan and an admirer of Hedy Lamarr - I decided to watch this movie, having never seen it. Glad I did. Yes, it's got its silly side - but so do many comedies. What's really significant is that it features William Powell at his comedic best, with many brilliant creative and hilarious scenes you just have to see and enjoy. Though this is a flawed movie, it is nonetheless engaging and highly entertaining due to Powell's ability to conjure up some of the most ingenious funny scenes ever. Though Hedy Lamarr is a ditz here and not necessarily the kind of character most men would want as a wife (being quixotic and ruled by astrologers), there are in fact women like this (I was married to one) and so even her part rings true to those of us who've "been there." So...silly but not so silly. Yet...really really funny! And you don't have to be a William Powell fan to like this one. Enjoy! (You will!)
Hedy Lamarr was never more beautiful than in this movie, true. But that
doesn't save it. She is given a thankless part, completely undeveloped,
with no good lines and a lot of embarrassingly foolish situations. The
result leaves her with nothing to work with, so she can do nothing but
look nice. I suppose the part could have been cast with a
scatter-brained blonde - imagine Ann Southern, perhaps? - but they why
would the astronomer have married her?
William Powell was one of Hollywood's great actors in the 1930s and 40s. But an actor has to have something to work with, and once again, the scriptwriters gave him nothing. Whether it was his own idea or the director's, he ends up hamming some scenes up badly, which is embarrassing from the actor who gave us My Man Godfrey, the various Thin Man movies, etc.
By 1944 Fay Bainter had given us her portrayal of Ellen Whitcomb in *Woman of the Year.* Why was she cast in the ungrateful role of an astrologer who suddenly turns out, with no preparation at all, to be a rations hoarder?
Or, put more bluntly, why was this script made into a movie without a lot more development, and why was it cast with these people in parts that were not suited to them?
This is an annoyingly bad movie.
After making CROSSROADS, a clever mystery set in 1930s Paris, at MGM in
1942, William Powell and Hedy Lamarr were brought together again in
1944 to star in an MGM comedy called THE HEAVENLY BODY. Although they
played husband and wife on-screen again, the results are less than
satisfactory due to the dull and predictable script.
Of course, Hedy Lamarr is incredibly beautiful herefor example, she wears a white negligee that translucently outlines her well-endowed assets in one scenebut she's off-screen for almost half the film. She portrays the happily married Paris-born wife of an astronomer (William Powell) who seeks guidance from the local astrologist (Fay Bainter) and eventually falls for a handsome air raid warden (James Craig). Predictable comic situations ensue when a jealous Powell tries everything in his power to bring his wife back to him. The dependable Spring Byington, who is usually amusing in her other films, is irritating as an eccentric next-door neighbor who motivates Hedy to take up astrology.
Powell handles the comedy well, but Hedy's acting, as opposed to her naturalistic acting in better films like COME LIVE WITH ME (1941) and CROSSROADS, seems artificial and her performance doesn't really come across well here. Perhaps the script was to blame, containing dated and unfunny World War II jokes about rationing and air raid wardens. However, the film has the usual lush MGM production values and fine black-and-white cinematography (by Robert Planck). Special mention should go to the use of Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No.1 in G Major", which Hedy listens to in a concert hall scene.
Unless you want to see a stunning Hedy in a somewhat revealing negligee and hear William and Hedy yodel and sing a bit with the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar, don't waste your time with this boring, trite film. If you want to see William and Hedy together in a slightly better film, I recommend CROSSROADS.
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