Pennies From Heaven


1h 47m 1981
Pennies From Heaven

Brief Synopsis

A traveling salesman's music-inspired dreams lead to tragedy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dinero caído del cielo
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
1981
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Modern Film Effects
Distribution Company
MGM Distribution Company; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; United International Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m

Synopsis

A musical fantasy about a drifter who becomes friends with a pitiful orphan girl and her grandfather.

Crew

Ken Adam

Associate Producer

Ken Adam

Visual Consultant

Richard L Anderson

Sound Editor

Fred Astaire

Song Performer ("Let'S Face The Music And Dance")

Abel Baer

Song ("It'S The Girl")

Jim Bedoian

Music Research

Hal Bell

2nd Assistant Director

Irving Berlin

Song ("Let'S Face The Music And Dance")

Connee Boswell

Song Performer ("I'Ll Never Have To Dream Again")

Ross Brown

Casting

Christopher Burian-mohr

Set Designer

Johnny Burke

Song ("Pennies From Heaven")

Johnny Burke

Song

Richard Butler

Stunts

Elsie Carlisle

Song Performer ("The Clouds Will Soon Roll By")

Bing Crosby

Song Performer ("Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?")

Bernie Cutler

Art Direction

Danny Daniels

Choreography

Dolly Dawn

Song Performer ("It'S A Sin To Tell A Lie")

Craig Denault

Camera Operator

Buddy G Desylva

Song ("I Want To Be Bad")

Alan Disler

1st Assistant Camera

Don Dittmar

Color Consultant

John Dunn

Sound Effects Editor

Len Engel

Original Disc Sound Restoration

Wayne Fitzgerald

Title Design

Stephen Hunter Flick

Sound Editor

Carl Gibson

Key Grip

Bobby Goodman

Supervisor

Greg Gormick

Music Research

Frank Griffin

Makeup Supervisor

Warren Hamilton

Sound Editor

Marvin Hamlisch

Music; Music Director

Marvin Hamlisch

Music Arranger

Jay M Harding

Sound Rerecording

Walter S Harrah

Song Performer ("Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries")

Ken Hekel

Original Disc Sound Restoration

Herman Hupfeld

Song ("Let'S Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep")

Louise Jaffe

Music Coordinator

Arthur Johnston

Song ("Pennies From Heaven")

Helen Kane

Song Performer ("I Want To Be Bad")

Nora Kaye

Producer

Ted Keep

Music

Michael J Kohut

Sound Rerecording

George Korngold

Music Editor

Barbara Lampson

Hairstyles

Garrett Lewis

Set Decorator

Harry V Lojewski

Music Supervisor

Bob Mackie

Costumes

Bob Magahay

Wardrobe (Men)

Mark Mangini

Sound Editor (Dialogue)

Richard Marks

Editor

Billy May

Music Arranger

Billy May

Music; Music Director

Billy Mayhew

Song ("It'S A Sin To Tell A Lie")

Rick Mccallum

Executive Producer

Hank Mccann

Casting

Harper Mckay

Music Associate

Gene Merlino

Song Performer ("Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries")

Joe Monte

Music Research

Connie Nichols

Hairstyles

Emmitt-leon O'neill

2nd Assistant Director

Ronald Oliney

Stunts

David Oliver

Title Design

Al Overton

Sound Recording

Conrad Palmisano

Stunts

Dennis Parrish

Property Master

Cole Porter

Song ("Let'S Misbehave")

Dennis Potter

Screenwriter

Dennis Potter

Other

Stephen Purvis

Sound Editor (Dialogue)

Ron Quigley

Location Manager

Ray Quiroz

Script Supervisor

Phyllis Robbins

Song Performer ("Love Is Good For Anything That Ails You")

Glen Robinson

Special Effects

Herbert Ross

Producer

Verne Rowe

Song Performer ("Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries")

Ric Sagliani

Makeup

Mark Sandrich

Other

Murray Schwartz

Unit Production Manager

L Andrew Stone

1st Assistant Director

Daniel C Striepeke

Makeup

Robert Tebow

Song Performer ("Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries")

The Boswell Sisters

Song Performer ("It'S The Girl")

Arthur Tracy [the Street Singer]

Song Performer ("Pennies From Heaven")

Mel Traxel

Stills

Kenith Trodd

Music Consultant

Judy Truchan

Wardrobe (Women)

Fred Tuch

Art Direction

Dick Tyler Sr.

Sound Rerecording

Al Vescovo

Song Performer ("Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries")

Ken Wannberg

Music Editor

Robert Werden

Publicist

Gordon Willis

Director Of Photography

Sidney Wolinsky

Assistant Editor

Thomas J Wright

Second Unit Director

Tom Wright

Production Illustrator

Photo Collections

Pennies From Heaven - Poster Art
Here is the original art used on the movie posters for the Steve Martin film Pennies From Heaven (1981).

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Dinero caído del cielo
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
1981
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Modern Film Effects
Distribution Company
MGM Distribution Company; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; United International Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1982

Best Costume Design

1982

Best Sound

1982

Articles

Pennies From Heaven (1981) - Pennies From Heaven (1981)


In the wake of Heaven's Gate (1980), the $38 million dollar epic by director Michael Cimino that become one of the most expensive box office disasters in movie history, every studio in Hollywood began to carefully monitor their production costs. This was especially true at MGM, which had recently acquired United Artists, the producer and distributor of Heaven's Gate. You would think in this financially conservative new climate, created by near-bankruptcy conditions, MGM would have steered clear of producing a risky commercial venture like Pennies From Heaven (1981), based on the critically acclaimed six-part British TV mini-series by Dennis Potter. Yet, despite the odds, the studio took a chance on this dark and disturbing tale of a traveling sheet music salesman who escapes the daily drudgeries of his job and miserable married life through fantastic daydreams.

In some ways, Pennies From Heaven was any even riskier project than Heaven's Gate. Despite a grim storyline involving adultery, prostitution, homelessness and murder, the film was technically a musical, a genre that hadn't performed well with moviegoers since the late sixties. The elaborately designed and staged musical numbers in the film, representing the emotional states of the various characters, were also a gamble: the actors didn't use their own singing voices; instead they lip synched the lyrics. Even more unconventional was the choice of songs. Pennies From Heaven featured musical selections which were far removed from the contemporary pop mainstream. Since the film was set during the Great Depression, the soundtrack was brimming over with tunes from that era such as "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking" (by Bing Crosby), "Let's Face the Music and Dance" (by Fred Astaire), and "Love is Good for Anything That Ails You" by Ida Sue McCune. But probably the biggest risk of all was casting comedian Steve Martin in the lead role of the hapless salesman, Arthur Parker. Martin's goofy comic persona was well established at this point from his TV appearances and his previous box office hit, The Jerk (1979), but Pennies was NOT a comedy. Arthur Parker was a serious dramatic part that also required an actor who was an expert dancer, talents Martin had yet to reveal.

But Nora Kaye, the producer of Pennies From Heaven and the wife of its director, Herbert Ross, was convinced Martin was perfect for the lead. In a Los Angeles magazine article by Stephen Farber, Kaye remarked, "If you just had a terrific actor, the musical numbers wouldn't come off. Steve knows how to put across the number. He's right for the part in another sense, too. In the '30s all the leading men were classic American types. But today, there are very few stars who are not ethnic - either Italian or Jewish. You kind of feel Steve is a Baptist, and that's what this story needs. He's so guileless, like a Capra hero."

Kaye first saw the BBC version of Pennies From Heaven starring Bob Hoskins in England when she was casting for her husband's 1980 film, Nijinsky and brought it to Ross's attention. Together they convinced writer Dennis Potter to adapt his original scenario to an American setting (Chicago instead of London). After MGM green-lighted the project at a budget of $15 million, Oscar-winning set designer Ken Adam (Barry Lyndon, 1975) was recruited along with cinematographer Gordon Willis (The Godfather, 1972) and other musically gifted cast members like Bernadette Peters (Martin's girlfriend at the time and former Broadway veteran), Christopher Walken (whose singing/dancing background included a stint as "Riff" in a touring version of West Side Story) and Vernel Bagneris, the writer, director and star of the stage musical One Mo' Time, who performs a show-stopping version of the title song by Arthur Tracy in the film. Adam's production design, in particular, places the film in a realm of its own, combining Art Deco styles with Busby Berkeley-like sets and a sense of "heightened realism." During an interview, Adam stated, "Herb [Ross] was very much influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh and the photographs of Walker Evans. So I incorporated those into my designs. When I'm doing a period film, I like to do my research first, then put away all the paintings and photographs and refer to them as little as possible. I want the research to inspire me, but I don't want them to become rigid."

During the filming, Steve Martin "was so absorbed in his role that he refused to talk to the press while production was going on," wrote Stephen Farber in an aforementioned magazine article. "Between takes he stood off by himself, practicing his dance steps in front of a mirror. Occasionally his wild-and-crazy humor surfaced: When a crewmember sprayed the bottoms of his spats before a take, Martin went into a spastic laughing-gas fit, as if he'd been drugged. But on camera he seemed to be approaching the part with deadly earnest intensity. Whether he will be able to bring off this radical change in his image remains to be seen."

Unfortunately, Steve Martin alone was not enough to attract moviegoers or even his hard-core fans to Pennies From Heaven who seemed to instinctively know in advance that this movie was not for them. It's a shame because the film is often an astonishing visual wonder that expertly toes the line between heartbreaking tragedy and exhilarating flights of fancy. The musical numbers are truly inspired and full of surprises - Martin lip-synching to Connie Boswell's rendition of "I'll Never Have to Dream Again," Christopher Walken's lewd, mesmerizing dance number set in a sleazy bar to the tune of "Let's Misbehave." Yet, despite the film's obvious artistic merits and genuine audacity, critics and reviewers were equally mixed in their reviews. Some absolutely hated it and were possibly already prejudiced against it after hearing reports of its runaway budget, which ballooned from $15 to $22 million, only earning back $3 million in receipts. Still, Pennies From Heaven managed to score three Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Costume Design, and it certainly helped launch Dennis Potter's career as a screenwriter; he would go on to do the screenplays for Brimstone and Treacle (1982) starring Sting, Gorky Park (1983) and Track 29 (1988), among others, before his death from cancer in 1994. In fact, there are current plans afoot to release a film version of Potter's other acclaimed BBC mini-series, The Singing Detective, with Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead.

Producer: Nora Kaye, Herbert Ross
Director: Herbert Ross
Screenplay: Dennis Potter
Cinematography: Gordon Willis
Film Editing: Richard Marks
Art Direction: Bernie Cutler, Fred Tuch
Music: Con Conrad
Cast: Steve Martin (Arthur Parker), Bernadette Peters (Eileen), Christopher Walken (Tom), Jessica Harper (Joan Parker), Vernel Bagneris (Accordion man), John McMartin (Mr. Warner), John Karlen (Detective).
C-108m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford
Pennies From Heaven (1981)  - Pennies From Heaven (1981)

Pennies From Heaven (1981) - Pennies From Heaven (1981)

In the wake of Heaven's Gate (1980), the $38 million dollar epic by director Michael Cimino that become one of the most expensive box office disasters in movie history, every studio in Hollywood began to carefully monitor their production costs. This was especially true at MGM, which had recently acquired United Artists, the producer and distributor of Heaven's Gate. You would think in this financially conservative new climate, created by near-bankruptcy conditions, MGM would have steered clear of producing a risky commercial venture like Pennies From Heaven (1981), based on the critically acclaimed six-part British TV mini-series by Dennis Potter. Yet, despite the odds, the studio took a chance on this dark and disturbing tale of a traveling sheet music salesman who escapes the daily drudgeries of his job and miserable married life through fantastic daydreams. In some ways, Pennies From Heaven was any even riskier project than Heaven's Gate. Despite a grim storyline involving adultery, prostitution, homelessness and murder, the film was technically a musical, a genre that hadn't performed well with moviegoers since the late sixties. The elaborately designed and staged musical numbers in the film, representing the emotional states of the various characters, were also a gamble: the actors didn't use their own singing voices; instead they lip synched the lyrics. Even more unconventional was the choice of songs. Pennies From Heaven featured musical selections which were far removed from the contemporary pop mainstream. Since the film was set during the Great Depression, the soundtrack was brimming over with tunes from that era such as "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking" (by Bing Crosby), "Let's Face the Music and Dance" (by Fred Astaire), and "Love is Good for Anything That Ails You" by Ida Sue McCune. But probably the biggest risk of all was casting comedian Steve Martin in the lead role of the hapless salesman, Arthur Parker. Martin's goofy comic persona was well established at this point from his TV appearances and his previous box office hit, The Jerk (1979), but Pennies was NOT a comedy. Arthur Parker was a serious dramatic part that also required an actor who was an expert dancer, talents Martin had yet to reveal. But Nora Kaye, the producer of Pennies From Heaven and the wife of its director, Herbert Ross, was convinced Martin was perfect for the lead. In a Los Angeles magazine article by Stephen Farber, Kaye remarked, "If you just had a terrific actor, the musical numbers wouldn't come off. Steve knows how to put across the number. He's right for the part in another sense, too. In the '30s all the leading men were classic American types. But today, there are very few stars who are not ethnic - either Italian or Jewish. You kind of feel Steve is a Baptist, and that's what this story needs. He's so guileless, like a Capra hero." Kaye first saw the BBC version of Pennies From Heaven starring Bob Hoskins in England when she was casting for her husband's 1980 film, Nijinsky and brought it to Ross's attention. Together they convinced writer Dennis Potter to adapt his original scenario to an American setting (Chicago instead of London). After MGM green-lighted the project at a budget of $15 million, Oscar-winning set designer Ken Adam (Barry Lyndon, 1975) was recruited along with cinematographer Gordon Willis (The Godfather, 1972) and other musically gifted cast members like Bernadette Peters (Martin's girlfriend at the time and former Broadway veteran), Christopher Walken (whose singing/dancing background included a stint as "Riff" in a touring version of West Side Story) and Vernel Bagneris, the writer, director and star of the stage musical One Mo' Time, who performs a show-stopping version of the title song by Arthur Tracy in the film. Adam's production design, in particular, places the film in a realm of its own, combining Art Deco styles with Busby Berkeley-like sets and a sense of "heightened realism." During an interview, Adam stated, "Herb [Ross] was very much influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh and the photographs of Walker Evans. So I incorporated those into my designs. When I'm doing a period film, I like to do my research first, then put away all the paintings and photographs and refer to them as little as possible. I want the research to inspire me, but I don't want them to become rigid." During the filming, Steve Martin "was so absorbed in his role that he refused to talk to the press while production was going on," wrote Stephen Farber in an aforementioned magazine article. "Between takes he stood off by himself, practicing his dance steps in front of a mirror. Occasionally his wild-and-crazy humor surfaced: When a crewmember sprayed the bottoms of his spats before a take, Martin went into a spastic laughing-gas fit, as if he'd been drugged. But on camera he seemed to be approaching the part with deadly earnest intensity. Whether he will be able to bring off this radical change in his image remains to be seen." Unfortunately, Steve Martin alone was not enough to attract moviegoers or even his hard-core fans to Pennies From Heaven who seemed to instinctively know in advance that this movie was not for them. It's a shame because the film is often an astonishing visual wonder that expertly toes the line between heartbreaking tragedy and exhilarating flights of fancy. The musical numbers are truly inspired and full of surprises - Martin lip-synching to Connie Boswell's rendition of "I'll Never Have to Dream Again," Christopher Walken's lewd, mesmerizing dance number set in a sleazy bar to the tune of "Let's Misbehave." Yet, despite the film's obvious artistic merits and genuine audacity, critics and reviewers were equally mixed in their reviews. Some absolutely hated it and were possibly already prejudiced against it after hearing reports of its runaway budget, which ballooned from $15 to $22 million, only earning back $3 million in receipts. Still, Pennies From Heaven managed to score three Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Costume Design, and it certainly helped launch Dennis Potter's career as a screenwriter; he would go on to do the screenplays for Brimstone and Treacle (1982) starring Sting, Gorky Park (1983) and Track 29 (1988), among others, before his death from cancer in 1994. In fact, there are current plans afoot to release a film version of Potter's other acclaimed BBC mini-series, The Singing Detective, with Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead. Producer: Nora Kaye, Herbert Ross Director: Herbert Ross Screenplay: Dennis Potter Cinematography: Gordon Willis Film Editing: Richard Marks Art Direction: Bernie Cutler, Fred Tuch Music: Con Conrad Cast: Steve Martin (Arthur Parker), Bernadette Peters (Eileen), Christopher Walken (Tom), Jessica Harper (Joan Parker), Vernel Bagneris (Accordion man), John McMartin (Mr. Warner), John Karlen (Detective). C-108m. Letterboxed. by Jeff Stafford

Pennies From Heaven on DVD


Steve Martin was fresh off the popular success of his first starring feature film in The Jerk (1979) when he signed on for a particularly chancy project. For his follow-up, he chose a lavishly-mounted big-screen adaptation of an acclaimed 1978 BBC TV miniseries concerning a struggling Depression-era sheet music salesman whose only release from his dreary existence came from slipping into elaborate, Hollywood-ized fantasies orchestrated around the then-popular tunes he peddled. It wasn't at all what an American public still steeped in Martin's stand-up shticks was expecting, and neither it nor most of the critics of the day knew quite what to make of it. Still, Pennies From Heaven (1981), has developed a cult following, and those adherents should derive lots of satisfaction from the film's recent and much-anticipated release to DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video.

Dennis Potter, the British screenwriter also enduringly famous for The Singing Detective (1986), adapted his own teleplay for the screen. Potter would later express his own dissatisfaction with the compression, but he did a remarkable job of preserving the TV show's tone while creating a narrative that quite ably stands on its own. In early '30s Chicago, Arthur Parker (Martin) manages to eke out a living through his primary virtue, an ear for a catchy melody. His only buffer between the long weeks on the road hustling for blase music store owners comes in the unsatisfactory attentions of his sexually repressed wife Joan (Jessica Harper). Though he longs for his own storefront to sell 78s, times are tight and the lenders are unresponsive.

Arthur finds some escape in the course of his travels once he fixates upon the virginal country schoolteacher Eileen Everson (Bernadette Peters). Being a wistful dreamer doesn't necessarily make Arthur the nicest guy; he strings Eileen along and gets her pregnant, which ultimately costs her her job. Joan, in a last-ditch effort to keep from losing him, spends her own inheritance to open the record store. The new business proves tepid, however, and Arthur remains unfulfilled, at least until the fallen Eileen re-enters his life.

These developments, along with various subplot threads, are interspersed with lushly mounted production numbers that preserve the miniseries' conceit of having the performers lip-sync to the actual popular renditions of the period score. The crew of Pennies from Heaven were only too eager to show their touch with the fading genre of the musical, and their labors were spectacular. Beyond the showy spectacle of the fantasy sequences, the look and feel of the film's grim "reality" evokes the paintings of Edward Hopper. As a choice for director, Herbert Ross fit the material perfectly; the former choreographer had an impeccable sense of how to capture dance on film, and he would never have another project that so provocatively tapped into those talents.

Martin made a very respectable showing in his first straight acting role. His willingness to venture into less commercially safe waters was commendable, and the film's reception didn't deter him from continuing to do so. Peters, who was also Martin's leading lady off-screen at the time, was ideally cast; her singing and dancing credentials were impeccable, and her kewpie sensuality made her uncannily at home in a '30s scenario. The always-welcome Harper, never one for conventional casting, is particularly memorable as the hung-up, mentally fragile spouse.

In what has unfortunately become a footnote in his career, Christopher Walken provides the right touch of menace as a pimp who takes Eileen under his wing when she comes to the big city is search of Arthur. The actor used his experience as a Broadway chorus boy to audacious effect, performing an energetic striptease to Let's Misbehave. Other standout moments belonged to Vernel Bagneris, a stage dancer who'd never find another fit for his talents in a major motion picture. Cast as an indigent and seemingly innocuous accordionist that Arthur treats to a meal, Bagneris gives a mesmerizing, rubber-legged dance performance to Arthur Tracy's mournful crooning of the title tune.

The extras that Warner provided for the DVD release of Pennies from Heaven are relatively spare but wholly worthwhile. A thoughtful scene-specific commentary is provided by film critic Peter Rainer, who was one of the film's few champions upon its initial release. Also included is a 35-minute video capturing the cast-and-crew symposium that followed the movie's 20th anniversary screening in Los Angeles; Rainier served as moderator for the reminisces of Martin, Harper, costume designer Bob Mackie, editor Richard Marks, art director Bernie Cutler, producer David Chasman and executive producer Rick McCallum.

For more information about Pennies From Heaven, visit Warner Video. To order Pennies From Heaven, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg

Pennies From Heaven on DVD

Steve Martin was fresh off the popular success of his first starring feature film in The Jerk (1979) when he signed on for a particularly chancy project. For his follow-up, he chose a lavishly-mounted big-screen adaptation of an acclaimed 1978 BBC TV miniseries concerning a struggling Depression-era sheet music salesman whose only release from his dreary existence came from slipping into elaborate, Hollywood-ized fantasies orchestrated around the then-popular tunes he peddled. It wasn't at all what an American public still steeped in Martin's stand-up shticks was expecting, and neither it nor most of the critics of the day knew quite what to make of it. Still, Pennies From Heaven (1981), has developed a cult following, and those adherents should derive lots of satisfaction from the film's recent and much-anticipated release to DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. Dennis Potter, the British screenwriter also enduringly famous for The Singing Detective (1986), adapted his own teleplay for the screen. Potter would later express his own dissatisfaction with the compression, but he did a remarkable job of preserving the TV show's tone while creating a narrative that quite ably stands on its own. In early '30s Chicago, Arthur Parker (Martin) manages to eke out a living through his primary virtue, an ear for a catchy melody. His only buffer between the long weeks on the road hustling for blase music store owners comes in the unsatisfactory attentions of his sexually repressed wife Joan (Jessica Harper). Though he longs for his own storefront to sell 78s, times are tight and the lenders are unresponsive. Arthur finds some escape in the course of his travels once he fixates upon the virginal country schoolteacher Eileen Everson (Bernadette Peters). Being a wistful dreamer doesn't necessarily make Arthur the nicest guy; he strings Eileen along and gets her pregnant, which ultimately costs her her job. Joan, in a last-ditch effort to keep from losing him, spends her own inheritance to open the record store. The new business proves tepid, however, and Arthur remains unfulfilled, at least until the fallen Eileen re-enters his life. These developments, along with various subplot threads, are interspersed with lushly mounted production numbers that preserve the miniseries' conceit of having the performers lip-sync to the actual popular renditions of the period score. The crew of Pennies from Heaven were only too eager to show their touch with the fading genre of the musical, and their labors were spectacular. Beyond the showy spectacle of the fantasy sequences, the look and feel of the film's grim "reality" evokes the paintings of Edward Hopper. As a choice for director, Herbert Ross fit the material perfectly; the former choreographer had an impeccable sense of how to capture dance on film, and he would never have another project that so provocatively tapped into those talents. Martin made a very respectable showing in his first straight acting role. His willingness to venture into less commercially safe waters was commendable, and the film's reception didn't deter him from continuing to do so. Peters, who was also Martin's leading lady off-screen at the time, was ideally cast; her singing and dancing credentials were impeccable, and her kewpie sensuality made her uncannily at home in a '30s scenario. The always-welcome Harper, never one for conventional casting, is particularly memorable as the hung-up, mentally fragile spouse. In what has unfortunately become a footnote in his career, Christopher Walken provides the right touch of menace as a pimp who takes Eileen under his wing when she comes to the big city is search of Arthur. The actor used his experience as a Broadway chorus boy to audacious effect, performing an energetic striptease to Let's Misbehave. Other standout moments belonged to Vernel Bagneris, a stage dancer who'd never find another fit for his talents in a major motion picture. Cast as an indigent and seemingly innocuous accordionist that Arthur treats to a meal, Bagneris gives a mesmerizing, rubber-legged dance performance to Arthur Tracy's mournful crooning of the title tune. The extras that Warner provided for the DVD release of Pennies from Heaven are relatively spare but wholly worthwhile. A thoughtful scene-specific commentary is provided by film critic Peter Rainer, who was one of the film's few champions upon its initial release. Also included is a 35-minute video capturing the cast-and-crew symposium that followed the movie's 20th anniversary screening in Los Angeles; Rainier served as moderator for the reminisces of Martin, Harper, costume designer Bob Mackie, editor Richard Marks, art director Bernie Cutler, producer David Chasman and executive producer Rick McCallum. For more information about Pennies From Heaven, visit Warner Video. To order Pennies From Heaven, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 1, 1981

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States Winter December 1, 1981

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in Los Angeles (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) as part of program "Turner's Tuners: Great Musicals From the Turner Library"' October 12 - December 29, 1996.)