The Next Voice You Hear…

  • Film
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Beautifully scripted and directed, the first half of this Dore Schary production is a persuasive minimalist portrait of a lower middle class small-town family (factory worker Whitmore, wife Davis, and young son Gray): loving and reasonably contented, but showing signs of stretch-marks where the struggle to make ends meet doesn't quite match consumer aspirations. Much of it is both funny and pointed; and the moments of unease, escalating into a vague sense of guilty panic, are equally well handled as the voice on the radio (heard only in reported speech, since the divine voice doesn't record) proves to be God announcing a visit. The trouble is that God's message turns out to be the usual guff (love one another, count your blessings, nature and all that); and the only way the film can drum up any suitable conflict is by waxing melodramatic about the mother's pregnancy ('Talk about your miracle!' cries delighted dad when all goes without a hitch). Schnee's dialogue and Wellman's direction deserve better than this crowd-pleasing scenario.

Release details

Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: William Wellman
Screenwriter: Charles Schnee
Cast: James Whitmore
Nancy Davis
Gary Gray
Lillian Bronson
Art Smith
Tom D'Andrea
Jeff Corey
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