#820 Pennies from Heaven (1981)

Based on the BBC serie of the same name, Pennies from Heaven is a musical that is for some reason being served as drama, although its core concept of dancing and mouthing old hits from the golden era cannot be perceived as anything but comedic and silly.

The big gimmick of the movie, escaping the grim day-to-day life to a jolly song totally detached from reality – a concept used later successfully in Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark – works well for a short time, until it gets repetitive and then finally gimmicky. Actually, it’s not the musical numbers but the actual movie bits that start to feel tiresome after awhile: Pennies from Heaven is the kind of period picture that relies far too heavily on just establishing the period for a cozy feeling, and if taken to the current time, the story just wouldn’t have much going for it.

The dance numbers themselves are fabulously constructed and clearly it’s taken a lot of practise for the actors to train for them. What’s distracting though is the way the original songs are being lip-synced instead of having the actors perform them. The real treat of the movie is Christopher Walken whose brief performance is nothing short of a breathtaking.

80s-o-meter: 45%

Total: 58%