Review: ‘The Next Voice You Hear …’

This unusual picture experience, so beautifully handled in the understanding writing, direction and playing, was suggested by George Sumner Albee's story of what happened to the peoples of the world when God reminds them that there is more to life than what they are getting out of it. In writing it for the screen, Charles Schnee pinpoints the message on the more intimate level of the small family and its reaction to the voice that spoke out to the universe each evening for six days.

This unusual picture experience, so beautifully handled in the understanding writing, direction and playing, was suggested by George Sumner Albee’s story of what happened to the peoples of the world when God reminds them that there is more to life than what they are getting out of it. In writing it for the screen, Charles Schnee pinpoints the message on the more intimate level of the small family and its reaction to the voice that spoke out to the universe each evening for six days.

Voice socks its preachment without preaching. There’s no Holy Joe pulpiting. Footage carries a hearty load of warm, earthy humor that adds to the potency of the story-telling.

James Whitmore and Nancy Davis are average Americans, living a quiet life and enjoying the small pleasures permitted by their income. They have a son (Gary Gray) and another child is on the way. One night a voice suddenly speaks out from the radio, a voice that is heard all over the world.

William A. Wellman’s direction turns scene after scene into actual slices of life. Davis’ obvious pregnancy, the little bits of business between her and Whitmore, and with young Gray, ring true. There is Whitmore’s regular morning adventure with his car and a traffic cop. His friends at the factory (Tom D’Andrea, Jeff Corey) are real, as are Art Smith as the grumpy boss, and Lillian Bronson as the frigid maiden aunt.

The Next Voice You Hear ...

Production

M-G-M. Director William A. Wellman; Producer Dore Schary; Screenplay Charles Schnee; Camera William Mellor; Editor John Dunning; Music David Raksin; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Eddie Imazu

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1950. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

James Whitmore Nancy Davis Gary Gray Lillian Bronson Art Smith Tom D'Andrea
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