Friday, September 7, 2012

The Heavenly Body (1944).

The Heavenly Body (1944). Romantic/comedy. Cast: William Powell and Hedy Lamarr. Joan Crawford was offered the lead role but turned it down saying, "It was about a girl who stands around and does nothing. I told the studio to give the part to Hedy Lamarr."

The story begins with Astronomer William S. Whitley, who is about to make scientific history with his discovery of a new comet. His wife Vicky, is supportive of his work, but.. she is left alone most of the time and is very lonely. She decides to visit astrologer Mrs. Margaret Sibyll, after her eccentric neighbor, Nancy Potter, suggest that she go for a reading about her future.

After her reading Vicky's astrological chart, Mrs. Sibyll predicts that "something important" is going to happen to her.

 Later, at home, Vicky tells Bill that because of her astrological reading he can no longer kiss her on Tuesdays. Angry, Bill runs next door and hoses down, neighbor, Nancy Potter, for interfering in their lives.

Two weeks later, Vicky goes to see Bill while he is working at the observatory, to tell him that she is leaving him. So, she will be free to meet her "dream" man. Bill, does not take her very seriously, until.. Vicky, moves out of their bedroom .

Two weeks later, Vicky calls Bill at work to tell him that that there is no dream man and that Mrs. Sibyll, is a fake. Bill, wastes no time getting home, but.. before he arrives, Vicky meets the tall dark and handsome Lloyd, a neighborhood air raid warden. He fits Mrs. Sibyll's description of Vicky's dream lover perfectly. Everyone, seems to hit it off at first.

The next day, Lloyd returns to the Whitleys,' to pick up a bag he left behind. Bill, can not believe it when he finds out that Lloyd, plans to marry Vicky. Bill, convinces Lloyd, to changing his route to avoid Vicky, but.. he quickly changes his mind and confess that he plans on seeing her again..

Later, Bill at the end of his rope, jumps from Professor Stowe's car, on the way to his lecture, to see if he can put a stop to Vicky and Lloyd's plans. With Bill gone, Stowe, prepares to give the lecture himself, when Bill shows up at the observatory last minute... happy thinking that he has broken up Vicky and Lloyd relationship, once and for all. As Bill is looking through a small telescope, he sees that she has gone to their mountain cabin, the same place where he sent Lloyd. Bill, tries to carry on with his lecture.

Soon after Bill, rushes to the cabin and finds Lloyd seranading Vicky, who tells Bill, "that this is further proof that they are destined to be together".

The next day, Bill comes up with the idea to steal Vicky's weekly horoscope and replace it with one that predicts his death. Vicky, not believing her horoscope calls Mrs. Sybill, to confirm the prediction. Bill, is with the astrologer, threatening to expose the truth about her being a rations hoarder (much frowned upon during WWII). As hoped, Bill's plan works like a charm. Until, Bill starts to re-write his will and Vicky is summoned by Mrs. Sibyll, who wants to come clean..

A fun romantic comedy with a wartime/astrological subplot. William Powell and Hedy Lamarr, are very charming together and you hope there is a happily ever after ending for everyone... Astronomy, is one of my hobbies, so I loved all the scenes at the observatory. Spring Byington, is one of my favorite character actors, so it was a special treat seeing her in this cute film.

Fay Okell Bainter (December 7, 1893 - April 16, 1968). MGM persuaded her to try films and her movie debut was in, This Side of Heaven (1934), the same year she appeared in, Dodsworth on Broadway and the film, It Happened One Day (1934).

Bainter quickly achieved success, and in 1938 she became the first performer nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Actress, for White Banners (1937), and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938), winning for the latter. Since then, only nine other actors have won dual nominations in a single year. She was again nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in, The Children's Hour (1961).

Fay Bainter and Reginald Venable married on June 8, 1921, in Riverside, California. The couple had one son, Reginald Venable Jr. (1926–1974), who became an actor. Bainter was the aunt of actress Dorothy Burgess.


  1. With that face, Hedy Lamarr didn't really have to do much to light up the screen. But her enigmatic presence added much to her cinematic persona - and she was quite intelligent (though I doubt many cared)...

  2. Yes, I heard Hedy was an inventor, although I don't know much more than that. I haven't heard I this picture but I imagine Hedy and Bill are great together.

  3. Emma, I think that you would love this movie...

  4. Hey!

    Nick from here. Doing some scout work for the LAMB. We're wanting to make an email newsletter for community features as well as a list we're making similar to Sight & Sound's best movies of all time list. Just need an email! Email me at npowe131 at

  5. Dawn, I very much enjoyed your HEAVENLY BODY review, and it sounds like it would be fun for a rainy day (like this one, as of this writing! :-))! I can well imagine William Powell and Hedy Lamarr being a find romantic comedy team! Since astrology plays a big role in this film, I was tickled to see that co-star Fay Bainter and Reginald Venable were married on June 8th, which happens to be MY birthday! Of course, I was born many years after the talented Ms. Bainter! :-) Delightful post, Dawn, as always!

  6. I am not overly familiar with Hedy Lamarr, but what I've seen her in, I've enjoyed. This film sounds adorable, plus it's got the wonderful William Powell. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  7. DorianTB, I agree.. cute light-hearted films are best watched on rainy days.. William Powell, makes the perfect leading man. I do not think I have ever seen him give a bad performance. I remember celebrating your birthday last June. Cheers, to many more!!

    Patti, I know.. TCM does not air enough of Hedy Lamarr's films. I have enjoyed her performances in all of her films that I have seen her in.


  8. Dawn, Joann and I love this film. And the ways to drink Vodka is classic. Remember we used this as a question on Trivia Time?

  9. Paul2, I need a minute to remember.. :)
    I will be back..


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