HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • None
    Heavens Above
    Universal/Universal . R4 . B&W . 113 mins . PG . PAL


    With the current thrill regarding the life of - to quote a way overblown cliché - consummate funnyman Peter Sellers, there’s little wonder a string of Peter Sellers films are being dragged out onto DVD by slathering distributors. And that’s okay with me. It’s about time.

    Heaven’s Above deals with the odd, the different, the before-his-time clergyman John Smallwood. He’s a hip young priest in the 60s trying his best to change the world he’s been delivered unto by actually doing something productive rather than just asking for money and altar boys. When he grants a small humanity to a family in need, it starts a chain of events that eventually leads to a national riot regarding his clergy and his parish, seeing him as an outcast though all he ever meant to do was good. (Sounds way too familiar, particularly for the human race in general).

    It’s a clever film and being made in 1963, it’s way ahead of its time in its delivery of social satire and scathing commentary on the national ethos surrounding Britain at the time. Sellers is at an early stage of his film career here, but he plays his part magnificently, donning one of the numerous characters and costumes that foreshadowed his chameleonic prowess in years to come. While this may be a little sedate for some, behind the story there’s a deeper vein of intent and meaning that is still be apparent these forty-odd years later. It's well worth the visit by anyone who enjoys a good social satire and the look on a politician’s face when he/she’s been caught in their own web of deceit.


    Being a black and white vehicle from 1963, the picture quality is quite good. Contrasts are among the best I’ve witnessed in a black and white transfer, with clear shadow detail and true blacks. There are a couple of film artefacts, which is to be expected, but this print is remarkably clear and free of general debris. And happily, we get this in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with anamorphic holy waters.

    Sound is a stable delivery of Dolby Digital stereo and this does admirably with the mostly dialogue-fuelled religious mayhem here. The musical score of Richard Rodney Bennett deserves a special note here for its unusual nature and this seems to go well with the fish-out-of-water theme. Great stuff.

    As to extras, sadly we are devoid of these here in this budget release, but at least we get to see Peter Sellers in an early role that may well have evaporated into the mists of time had he not found a new popularity with the eerily-excellent Geoffrey Rush.

    For fans of Sellers, this is a great early vehicle and one well worth checking out. The social satire of the time is excellent and proves that politicians have always been jerks, it’s just the style of suit they wear that changes. While not amongst some of Sellers’ more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of them and well worth the look for the admirer. Good stuff.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3629
  • Send to a friend.
  • Do YOU want to be a DVDnet reviewer? If so, click here

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   And I quote...
    "While not amongst some of Sellers’ more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of them…"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Jules Faber

    Narrow Margin
    "Gene Hackman as an action star? It happened… "

    A King in New York: SE
    "Taking a poke at too many demons makes this film a little stilted and not among his best works"

    A Zed and Two Noughts
    "Is it art or is it pornography? Who cares? Both are good."

    Blake's 7 - The Complete Series One
    "Performances are fine, but the flimsy sets, the crappy props and the undisguisable late 70s hairdos are just too much."

    A Woman of Paris: SE
    "...for the casual Chaplin observer there’s not much here to grab..."

      Related Links
      None listed


    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5