Back in the 1930s and 1940s this kind of movie was almost a subgenre with pictures like HERE COMES MR. JORDAN; ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER; THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT. Then the fad slackened off, so it was a refreshing waft of air when Gelbart wrote the adaptation of Corman's novel. He received
an Oscar nomination for his script, the only nod from the Academy for this film, but that didn't stop it from making more than $30 million on the first release and inspiring a sort-of sequel that didn't come close to the excellence of the first one. Denver, in his film debut, is married to Garr
and working as an assistant manager in a supermarket. For some reason, he is chosen by Burns (God) to be the man who spreads The Good Word on Earth. Nobody believes him, of course, and Denver is soon a pariah in his job, his town, and even in his own home. But he has faith and manages to win in
the end, as he's at a trial and Burns shows up to defend him. Lots of sharp one-liners and a hysterical turn from Sorvino as a TV evangelist who is in the religion business for big bucks. Reiner does one of his best directing jobs and never resorts to some of the silliness he's demonstrated in
other films. Denver is very affable and could have had a good movie career given the right material. Burns, who was coming off his Oscar in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, delivers the goods and can turn an average joke into a scream with his impeccable timing. Good work from all the other actors, but the
talented Pleasence is wasted in a tiny role. Furth alternates between acting and writing; he did the book for the Broadway shows "Company" and "Twigs." Dinah Shore and Reiner do cameos on a TV talk show.
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