Made in Heaven (1952)

David Tomlinson and Petula Clark star in this post-war comedy about a couple, Basil and Julie, who hire a maid from Hungary.

Made in Heaven
(via rarefilmposters.com)

The couple lives with Basil’s parents and grandfather while waiting for their home to be built. Apparently the process is making very, very slow progress. Everyone in the house is tired of the clutter and the burnt breakfasts that are served courtesy of grandpa, so they all decide that a maid is needed.

Expecting an older woman whose picture did not impress Basil or his father, Basil is shocked to find a young, beautiful maid named Marta waiting for him at the station. All of the men of the house soon become enamored by her, much to the chagrin and jealousy of Basil’s mother and Julie.

At the same time that this drama is unfolding at the home, the town decides to hold a “happiest couple” contest. In order to win, a couple must be recognized as having been living blissfully in marriage for the past  year. Despite the recent drama, Basil and Julie are nominated, further complicating their relationship.

Made in Heaven
Sonja Ziemann as Marta (via recollective.tumblr)

The comedy of this film is definitely exaggerated, especially in the way that the community reacts to Marta. The men instantly become googly-eyed and the women become visibly disturbed, with their faces instantly shifting into very stern expressions.

Obviously, the performances in this film are equally exaggerated. In some cases they take a huge dive off of the corny cliff, but in some cases the exaggeration works and gets a laugh out of the audience. A.E. Matthews is particularly crazy-but-hilarious as the forgetful, clueless grandfather.

Crazy facial expressions and over-exaggerated performances aside, there are a number of laughs that are carried of successfully and subtly through the dialogue as well.

Is Made in Heaven the best British comedy of the 1950s? Not by a long shot. But it is a humorous little film that’s very fun and worth a watch if you feel like a pleasant comedy that’s off the beaten path and not very well remembered. The film is available for instant streaming on Netflix. The score: 3/5

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