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Falling asleep during the Paradise Coffee ("The Coffee that Makes You Sleep") Program, the band's third trumpeter dreams he's Athanael, an angel deputized to blow the Last Trumpet at exactly midnight on Earth. But Osidro and Doremus, two fallen angels enjoying the physical pleasures of an earthly existence, try to steal Athanael's trumpet, enlisting the aid of suave jewel thief Archie Dexter. Athanael fumbles his first try when he saves Archie's accomplice, Fran, from suicide. His second chance seems doomed when he's forced to leave his trumpet as security for a meal he can't pay for. But he gets it back just in time for a final confrontation with his desperate adversaries, dangling with them from the roof, only seconds from Midnight. Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
Just What Do They Put In That Paradise Coffee, Anyway?
In his long running radio and television show, Jack Benny often built jokes around THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT--a movie described as so awful that it put an end to his movie career. These jokes always got a laugh, but rumors of the film's failure were really only comic exaggeration; true, it had not been a major hit, but neither was it a major failure. And if Benny's film appearances were few and far between after 1945, this was more a matter of his incredibly popular radio and television series than with a lack of offers.
THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT is not a great film, but it is a very interesting one and quite often a very entertaining one. The story concerns a trumpet player (Benny) in love with a harpist (Alexis Smith)--who gets him a radio job on the "Paradise Coffee Program," which advertises a coffee that promises a gentle sleep and sweet dreams. And dream he does, but one would not call it sweet: he dreams he is an angel sent to earth to blow the trumpet that will destroy the world.
Although the script is a bit weak, it has some really great concepts. Heaven is a bureaucracy beset by an endless orchestra and a shortage of angel-power. Elevators take angels to earth, right to the lobby of a New York hotel--and tie up elevator traffic, much to the annoyance of guests. And fallen angels lie in wait to trip Ethanael up! The art direction is extremely fine, dribbling comic surrealism with tremendous flair. In perhaps the film's most memorable scene, Ethanael finds himself drowning in a gigantic cup of coffee. Paradise Coffee, no doubt! Benny, co-star Alexis Smith, and such memorable characters as Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Dumont, and Guy Kibbe perform the show with as much energy as they can muster, and at it's best the movie is hilariously over-the-top. The script lets them down once too often for comfort, but even so the whole thing makes for an entertaining show. Recommended as imaginative, often extremely clever fluff.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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