9 January 2011 | blanche-2
Peter Sellers plays a minister with a new assignment in "Heavens Above!" a 1963 film written by John Boulting and directed by John and Roy Boulting. Sellers is the Rev. John Smallwood, and he's assigned to a new parish from his current prison ministry by mistake when he's confused with another Rev. Smallwood. He gets to the parish and really shakes things up, so much so that he practically brings down the entire British economy. He's well-meaning, but not very practical. He convinces the wealthy woman in town, Lady Despard (Isabeal Jeans) to give away food. Naturally the grocers are upset. Then he trashes the product the big factory in town produces, and their stock crashes. While he's at it, he takes in a huge family that was forced off of their property.
The film makes fun of religion with a straight face. Smallwood tells Lady Despard that she won't go to heaven because she hasn't given up her earthly belongings and followed Christ. He preaches God to such an extent that when the Despard butler tells him off, he does it with two different Bible quotes - for me, that was the funniest scene in the movie.
The British economy suffered greatly after World War II, and there are many films about it. This is but one, taking its place with "The Man in the White Suit," "I'm All Right, Jack," and others.
Peter Sellers is amazing as Smallwood, modeling the character on a former teacher of his. He's a gentle man, not given to temper outbursts, who stands by his principles, even though he's a complete airhead.