Pennies from Heaven

Dennis Potter's remarkably intelligent transatlantic adaptation of his BBC serial turns the pitfalls of 'Hollywoodisation' into profit, now stressing the 'pennies' over the 'heavenly' symbolism by specifically locating Arthur Parker's grubby melodrama in the Chicago of the Depression, and culling his liberating daydreams from not only the era's popular music, but its even more culturally resonant musicals, recreated with both MGM opulence and biting Brechtian wit. Parker's search for sexual and spiritual silver linings takes him (Martin) through the dark worlds of Edward Hopper and Walker Evans, as he and fallen angel Bernadette Peters become true nighthawks whose epiphanies are those of the glitzy sound-stage production number, and who re-problematise every earnest thesis on the evils of escapism by confronting economic and emotional recession with Holmlywood's eternal currency. Let's face the music and dance, indeed.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Herbert Ross
Screenwriter: Dennis Potter
Cast: John McMartin
Tommy Rall
Christopher Walken
John Karlen
Vernel Bagneris
Steve Martin
Jessica Harper
Bernadette Peters
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