Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »
Arnie and Maud Cole are a very odd couple. She wanted a father for her unborn child, he needed the money middle-class Maud could provide. Together they negotiate the rough and tumble world ... See full summary »
Frances de la Tour,
Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »
Past and present intertwine: An elderly couple returns to the hotel where they became close when they were young and flashbacks to the earlier visit reveal the origins of both their ... See full summary »
In a drunken and disheartened state, Michael Henchard sells his wife at a fair. When he becomes sober again he realises what he has done, and though unable to find his wife and child, ... See full summary »
An English girl marries a German lawyer in the 1930s and they try to live as normal a life as they can in Hitler's Germany. When Allied bombs start falling on German cities, Christabel ... See full summary »
Nigel Le Vaillant
During the Suez Crisis of 1956, two young clerks at the stuffy Foreign Office in Whitehall display little interest in the decline of the British Empire. To their eyes, it can hardly compete... See full summary »
Dr. Emma Porlock and her colleagues, attempting to unlock the secrets of human memory for the Masdon drug empire, get a cryogenically stored 400-year-old human head to project its memories ... See full summary »
Frances de la Tour
Daniel Feeld is a screenwriter with pains in his gut and a new screenplay called "Karaoke", about a girl named Sandra who works in a seedy Karaoke bar and is murdered by a lowlife named ... See full summary »
Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest frustrations in his life. He meets an innocent young school teacher, Eileen, who seems to hear the same music, but when Eileen learns that he's married, and that she's pregnant with his child, she runs away. Arthur gives up everything to find and protect her, but fate and the music haven't finished with Arthur Parker. Written by
The BBC original was composed of six episodes, each a bit over an hour long. Their titles are: 1: Down Sunny Side Lane 2: Love Is The Sweetest Thing 3: Easy Come, Easy Go 4: Better Think Twice 5: Painting The Clouds 6: Says My Heart See more »
Brilliantly evokes the hopes and despairs of humanity
Dennis Potter's PENNIES FROM HEAVEN is a masterpiece of both style and substance. It is a masterpiece of style in that it vividly conjures the look and atmosphere of mid 1930s England. This setting perfectly complements the original recordings of Depression era songs that emerge from the characters' mouths when they try to express themselves. It is a masterpiece of substance in that it is a riveting drama, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes poignant, sometimes both simultaneously.
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN dramatizes the trials and tribulations of Arthur Parker (Bob Hoskins), a song sheet salesman who unceasingly hopes the lyrics of the music he tries to peddle will become reality. It is a compelling story not only because of the novel use of lip synching to illustrate Parker's and the other characters' fantasies, but because of Potter's stark contrast between the songs' cheery lyrics and the characters' troubled lives. PENNIES also benefits from the cast's persuasive performances, especially Hoskins, Gemma Craven as his repressed wife Joan and Cheryl Campbell as a shy schoolteacher Arthur's infatuated with. One feels great empathy for the characters, even though they are flawed, because one can easily identify with their wishes and frustrations.
On one level, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN is a chilling cautionary tale- a warning that dreams of paradise are folly because life is cruel and hard. On another level, it is an inspiring story of hope- that even when life is at its most grim, we can always lift our spirits with those same dreams. Whatever message one may perceive, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN is thoroughly moving and absorbing, a testimony to the late Dennis Potter's genius.
32 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?