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British cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s turned out a series of gently satirical films that mocked established institutions, and Heavens Above! is the member of the group that turned its attention to religion. Peter Sellers, in an unusually low-key performance that's all the better for being underplayed, stars as a young vicar whose tendencies to interpret Christian doctrines in his own individualistic way, rather than conform to church traditions, leads to all kinds of chaos. He really believes, for example, in taking from the rich to give the poor. It's a quietly funny film rather than a festival of belly laughs, but the points it scores against religious hypocrisies are deftly and persuasively made, and it's one of those British comedies in which squadrons of wonderful character actors fill out the minor roles. Any fan of vintage British comedy will find a cast including Irene Handl, Eric Sykes, Miriam Karlin, Ian Carmichael, Cecil Parker, and Roy Kinnear hard to resist, and there are also very brief appearances from Derek Nimmo and Rodney Bewes at the beginning of their careers.

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ANB11931 Heavens Above! DVD (1963/Bernard Miles) 30% Off! $19.98 $13.99