The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)

USA, 1945
78m, 80m [original cut], 6988 feet, 2130 metres
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American fantasy film directed by Raoul Walsh. The film was a box office failure and star Jack benny used this fact as source material for jokes throughout his subsequent television and radio career. He reprised his role in a radio version four years later and in a television version broadcast in 1953.

Plot Summary

An orchestra’s third trumpeter falls asleep during a performance and dreams that he’s the angel Athanael, deputized to blow the Last Trumpet at exactly midnight on Earth. Two other angels, Osidro and Doremus, try to steal the trumpet with the help of jewel thief Archie Dexter.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Raoul Walsh
Copyright MCMXLV [1945] by Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Warner Bros. Pictures Inc. presents a Warner Bros.-First National picture
Produced by: Mark Hellinger
Executive Producer: Jack L. Warner
Screen Play by: Sam Hellman & James V. Kern
Based on an Idea by: Aubrey Wisberg
Dialogue Director: Hugh Cummings
Director of Photography: Sid Hickox
Film Editor: Irene Morra
Music by: Franz Waxman
Musical Director: Leo F. Forbstein
Orchestral Arrangements: Leonid Raab
Sound by: Stanley Jones
RCA Sound System
Gowns by: Milo Anderson
Makeup Artist: Perc Westmore
Special Effects by: Lawrence Butler
Art Director: Hugh Reticker
Set Decoratons by: Clarence Steensen
Studio: Warner Brothers Burbank Studios, Burbank, California, USA *

Jack Benny [Athanael]
Alexis Smith [Elizabeth]
Dolores Moran [violinist/Fran Blackstone]
Allyn Joslyn [second trumpeter/Osidro]
Reginald Gardiner [composer/Archibald ‘Archie’ Dexter]
Guy Kibbee [radio director/the chief]
John Alexander [first trumpeter/Doremus]
Franklin Pangborn [radio engineer/Sloan – house detective]
Margaret Dumont [Mme. Traviata/Miss Rodholder]
Bobby Blake [Junior Pulplinsky]
Ethel Griffies [Lady Stover]
Paul Harvey [Hotel Manager Thompson]
Mike Mazurki [bass player/Humphrey Rafferty]
Truman Bradley [radio announcer]

Alternative Titles

Der Engel mit der Trompete – Germany
Un toque de trompeta a medianoche – Spain
La tromba squilla a mezzanotte – Italy

Omnibus: The Horn Blows at Midnight (1953)

Extracts included in
The Projectionist (1971)
Heaven (1987)

See also
The Leghorn Blows at Midnight (1950)



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.10 p.42
  • Kine Weekly no.2152 (29 July 1948) – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.15 no.176 (August 1948) pages 114 – credits, review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.159 no.1 (7 April 1945) – review
  • New York Motion Picture Critics Reviews vol.2 no.13 (23 April 1945) pages 398,399 – credits, review reprints
  • Today’s Cinema vol.71 no.5678 (23 July 1948) – review


  • The New York Times 21 April 1945 p.18 – review (The Screen: Horn Blows at Midnight, With Jack Benny as Trumpeter, of Strand by Bosley Crowther)


  • Feature Films, 1940-1949: A United States Filmography by Alan G. Fetrow p.214
  • Ghosts and Angels in Hollywood Films by James Robert Parish pp.189-192 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.199 – credits
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy by David Pringle (general ed.) p.53 – credits, review
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.54-55 – credits, review