The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)

80 mins | Fantasy, Comedy | 28 April 1945

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Producer:

Mark Hellinger

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Irene Morra

Production Designer:

Hugh Reticker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Contemporary news items note that in May 1942, Ida Lupino was announced to star in this picture and Jacques Thery and Ivan Goff were to write the screenplay. The exact nature of Thery's and Goff's contributions to the final film has not been determined. Jack Benny and Claude Rains performed a radio version of the story on the Ford Theater on 4 Mar 1949, and a televised version of the story was broadcast in 1955 on CBS. Aside from guest appearances in It's in the Bag (1945) and A Guide for the Married Man (1967), this was Jack Benny's final feature film. He frequently joked about The Horn Blows at Midnight on his radio and TV shows, saying that it was so awful that it ended his ... More Less

Contemporary news items note that in May 1942, Ida Lupino was announced to star in this picture and Jacques Thery and Ivan Goff were to write the screenplay. The exact nature of Thery's and Goff's contributions to the final film has not been determined. Jack Benny and Claude Rains performed a radio version of the story on the Ford Theater on 4 Mar 1949, and a televised version of the story was broadcast in 1955 on CBS. Aside from guest appearances in It's in the Bag (1945) and A Guide for the Married Man (1967), this was Jack Benny's final feature film. He frequently joked about The Horn Blows at Midnight on his radio and TV shows, saying that it was so awful that it ended his career. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Apr 1945.
---
Daily Variety
3 Apr 45
p. 3, 6
Film Daily
3 Apr 45
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1943.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 45
p. 3, 10
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 45
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 45
p. 6.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 May 1942.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
11 May 1943.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1942.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Jan 44
p. 1715.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Apr 45
p. 2393.
New York Times
21 Apr 45
p. 18.
Variety
4 Apr 45
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Based on an idea by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Matte paintings
Miniatures
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 April 1945
Premiere Information:
World premieres in New York and Los Angeles: 20 April 1945
Production Date:
late November 1943--late January 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 April 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13228
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9565
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After the third trumpet player in a radio station orchestra falls asleep during a lulling coffee commercial, he dreams he is the angel Athanael, third trumpet player in the heavenly orchestra. One day Athanael is summoned to the Department of Small Planet Management. There, the Chief tells Athanael that conditions on Earth are so bad that the planet must be destroyed and that Elizabeth, the Chief's receptionist, has persuaded him to send Athanael, with whom she is in love, to blow the horn that will signal the end of the world. The Chief instructs Athanael to blow the horn exactly at midnight as no other time will produce the desired effect and warns him that two other angels, Osidro and Doremus, who failed to blow the horn as instructed, now live on Earth as fallen angels. Carrying the special trumpet, Athanael descends to Earth through a hotel elevator. Osidro and Doremus recognize Athanael as he leaves the elevator and, realizing that the end is near, plan to prevent him from blowing his horn. Meanwhile, dapper jewel thief Archie Dexter plots with Fran, the hotel cigarette girl, to steal a strand of pearls belonging to Lady Stover. When Fran bungles the job, Archie coldly tells her he no longer loves her, and Fran retreats to the roof, where she contemplates suicide. Athanael is also on the roof, waiting for the stroke of midnight, but misses the moment when he stops Fran from committing a sin by jumping off the building. Now that Athanael is a fallen angel, he auditions for a jazz band and is booed off the stage. After ... +


After the third trumpet player in a radio station orchestra falls asleep during a lulling coffee commercial, he dreams he is the angel Athanael, third trumpet player in the heavenly orchestra. One day Athanael is summoned to the Department of Small Planet Management. There, the Chief tells Athanael that conditions on Earth are so bad that the planet must be destroyed and that Elizabeth, the Chief's receptionist, has persuaded him to send Athanael, with whom she is in love, to blow the horn that will signal the end of the world. The Chief instructs Athanael to blow the horn exactly at midnight as no other time will produce the desired effect and warns him that two other angels, Osidro and Doremus, who failed to blow the horn as instructed, now live on Earth as fallen angels. Carrying the special trumpet, Athanael descends to Earth through a hotel elevator. Osidro and Doremus recognize Athanael as he leaves the elevator and, realizing that the end is near, plan to prevent him from blowing his horn. Meanwhile, dapper jewel thief Archie Dexter plots with Fran, the hotel cigarette girl, to steal a strand of pearls belonging to Lady Stover. When Fran bungles the job, Archie coldly tells her he no longer loves her, and Fran retreats to the roof, where she contemplates suicide. Athanael is also on the roof, waiting for the stroke of midnight, but misses the moment when he stops Fran from committing a sin by jumping off the building. Now that Athanael is a fallen angel, he auditions for a jazz band and is booed off the stage. After he stops in a café for a meal, he is forced to leave his trumpet in lieu of a cash payment. In the meantime, Elizabeth persuades the Chief to allow Athanael a second chance. The Chief permits Elizabeth to join Athanael and tell him the news. On Earth, Elizabeth wins five dollars in a contest and gives the money to Athanael so that he can redeem his trumpet. When Osidro and Doremus learn that Athanael has another chance to blow the horn, they offer Archie $10,000 to steal the trumpet. While Archie and Fran distract Elizabeth and Athanael, Humphrey Rafferty, Archie's associate, unsuccessfully attempts to steal the trumpet. After several complications, the Chief arrives on Earth, and determined to fulfill his assignment, Athanael grabs the trumpet and rushes to the roof. Warning the others to keep their distance, Athanael accidentally falls off the roof. The others grab him, but during their attempt to pull him up, they also fall over the edge. While dangling at the end of a chain of people, Athanael drops into a huge coffee cup that is part of an advertisement. He hears the clock strike midnight and is about to blow his horn when he tumbles out of the coffee cup and wakes to discover that he has been dreaming the entire event. He then tells Elizabeth, who plays the harp in the orchestra, that his dream was so crazy that if they made it into a movie, nobody would believe it. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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