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 ...
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The Bates sadly care for their severely disabled daughter Pattie. Martin arrives at their door claiming to be her college friend. He charms them into accepting him as a lodger and carer for Pattie. But Martin is not all he seems.
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 »
Michael Murray is an ambitious and charismatic politician, Jim Nelson is a much loved headmaster of a local school for disturbed children. When the paths of these two men cross, things are ... See full summary »
The mysterious murder of an environmental activist leads her straight-laced father, an Inspector of the local police force, through a haunting revelation of the murkiness of the British ... See full summary »
Another of Dennis Potter's "visitation dramas": Adultery by John disturbs Janet, so she flirts with the simple, mistreated Billy during the middle of giving him a reading lesson. ... See full summary »
Wolfie Smith is an unemployed dreamer from Tooting London, a self proclaimed Urban Guerilla who aspires to be like his hero Che Guevara. Leading a small group called the Tooting Popular ... 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 »
We're all going to hell. We're all going to burn in hell. Thank you very, very much, sir. Thank you very, very much, madam. Thank you very, very much, sir.
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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.
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