Little Joe and his wife Petunia live a modest life in a small cabin in the countryside. A compulsive gambler, Little Joe constantly struggles with his demons while Petunia, a upstanding christian woman, does her best to keep him on the right path. During one of his latest relapses, Little Joe is shot, leaving him near death. Lying on his deathbed, Joe is visited by servants of hell led by Lucivfer Jr, who explain that the devil is ready to collect his soul. Luckily for Joe, Petunia is a true believer of god and thanks to her praying, a group of Angels lead by "the general of god's army" intervene, granting Little Joe a six-month reprieve to prove he belongs in Heaven not Hell. Vincente Minnelli's Cabin in the Sky is high-concept, stylized musical that could be described as a gospel-inspired retelling of Faust. Featuring an entirely African American cast, Cabin in the Sky feels quite ahead of its time, showcasing the talented group of John Bubbles, Louis Armstrong, and most notably, Ethel Waters' pristine singing talents. Cabin in the Sky centers around the idea that men and women are constantly grappling with their conscience to do the right thing, and Minnelli uses this idea to his advantage, with creative sequences where we see 'Lucifer Jr." and "the General of God's army' going toe to toe, as they hope to have Little Joe join their side. At its heart, Cabin in the Sky is a very optimistic film, arguing that all people are inherently good, with Little Joe being a symbol of a good man whose made a few bad mistakes. Given the subject matter, Minnelli does keep the tone of Cabin in the Sky relatively light, with an abundance of music numbers that break up the more weighty dramatic and spiritual discussion. While I found the musical numbers to be a little obtrusive to the narrative, Cabin in the Sky is a wholly enjoyable, creative musical that weaves fantasy and reality together to create a powerful and enjoyable experience.
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