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The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)

Passed | | Comedy, Fantasy, Music | 28 April 1945 (USA)
A trumpet player in a radio orchestra falls asleep during a commercial and dreams he's Athanael, an angel deputized to blow the Last Trumpet at exactly midnight on Earth, thus marking the end of the world.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Sam Hellman (screen play), James V. Kern (screen play) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Benny ... Athanael
Alexis Smith ... Elizabeth
Dolores Moran ... Violinist / Fran Blackstone
Allyn Joslyn ... Second Trumpeter / Osidro
Reginald Gardiner ... Composer / Archibald 'Archie' Dexter
Guy Kibbee ... Radio Director / The Chief
John Alexander ... First Trumpeter / Doremus
Franklin Pangborn ... Radio Engineer / Sloan - House Detective
Margaret Dumont ... Mme. Traviata / Miss Rodholder
Robert Blake ... Junior Poplinski (as Bobby Blake)
Ethel Griffies ... Lady Stover
Paul Harvey ... Hotel Manager Thompson
Mike Mazurki ... Bass Player / Humphrey Rafferty
Truman Bradley ... Radio Announcer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sailor Vincent ... Clerk (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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 <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

GET SET FOR LAUGHS! GET SET FOR ROARS! BE FIRST IN LINE WHEN WE OPEN OUR DOORS! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Tech Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - January 1, 1946 - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the May 15, 1974 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Robert Blake said it was an unhappy set due to Jack Benny being at odds with Warner Brothers Studio not accommodating his request for a different leading lady than Alexis Smith. He also said that Jack Benny accidentally sneezed on him. See more »

Goofs

When Athanael (Jack Benny) is summoned from the Heavenly Orchestra to The Chief's office (Guy Kibbee), he pauses at a large directory along the way to find the "Dept of Small Planet Management". As he approaches the directory, the camera shows the bottom 10 rows. It then cuts to a close up shot of only 6 rows as Athanael points out his destination.

The departments listed on the close up do not match those of the long shot.

Bottom 6 rows in long shot:
  • Prefect of the Pleiades
  • Designer of Sunsets
  • Commissar of Constellations
  • Dept of Small Planet Management
  • Bureau of Cloud Maintenance
  • Inspector of Rainbows


Six rows in close up:
  • Dept. of Comets, Meteors and Falling Stars
  • Inspector of Rainbows
  • Designer of Sunsets
  • Vice-President in Charge of Tomorrow
  • Dept of Small Planet Management
  • Bureau of Cloud Maintenance.


Then the camera cuts back to the long shot. See more »

Quotes

Athanael: Hey... I'm getting wet!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Jack Benny Program: Humphrey Bogart Show (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Tea for Two
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Vincent Youmans
Played when Sloan asks Dexter about the elevator
See more »

User Reviews

 
Just What Do They Put In That Paradise Coffee, Anyway?
24 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Engel mit der Trompete See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,831,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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