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The Horn Blows at Midnight

(1945 b 78')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A musician dreams he is an angel sent to Earth to blow his trumpet for Judgment Day, but he gets distracted.

In a radio orchestra trumpet player Athanael (Jack Benny) plays wrong notes and falls asleep during a Paradise Coffee commercial. He dreams he is in a heavenly orchestra and is summoned to the Chief (Guy Kibbee), who sends him to blow his horn at midnight for Judgment Day on Earth. His friend Elizabeth (Alexis Smith) gives him his instructions.

Athanael descends to the Universe Hotel in New York and comes out of the missing elevator. Archie Dexter (Reginald Gardiner) and Fran (Dolores Moran) try to steal pearls, but Athanael gets in the way. Fallen angels Osidro (Allyn Joslyn) and Doremus (John Alexander) see Athanael and learn he is to blow the horn. They tell him not to and invite him to a party with girls. Athanael remembers his mission and gets his horn ready; but he sees Fran crying and stops her from jumping off the roof. They both are hanging over the edge as midnight strikes. In heaven Elizabeth pleads for Athanael and cries. Athanael sees Osidro and Doremus get their hourly twinge.

Athanael tries out for his job in a dance hall playing swing jazz; but his playing is not hot enough, and he is carried out. He orders food and eats; but he has no money, and the waiter takes his trumpet. Elizabeth persuades the Chief to let her go help Athanael. When she comes out of the elevator, Osidro and Doremus see her. She wins $5 and gives it to Athanael for the restaurant; but the waiter Pulpinsky loaned the horn to his son (Bobby Blake). Athanael finds the boy and plays a game to get it back and runs off. Osidro and Doremus ask Dexter to steal the trumpet without using violence. Dexter has Humphrey (Mike Mazurki) steal a harp so he can lure away Elizabeth. Fran grabs Athanael and tries to seduce him, and after many tries Humphrey steals the trumpet.

The Chief comes out of the elevator. Athanael and Elizabeth go on the roof to find Osidro and Doremus and get the trumpet. They hold Athanael over the edge while Elizabeth and Fran hold the Chief over the edge. Athanael holds on to a flagpole but falls into a large cup of coffee in an advertisement. Finally Athanael wakes up in the studio and plays trumpet.

This apocalyptic farce gives a heavenly perspective on earthly life.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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