Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Next Voice You Hear was a pet project of MGM producer Dore Schary, who lavished more attention on this modestly budgeted drama than he did on some of his "bigger" projects. Though based on characters first introduced in the 1942 film Joe Smith, American, Next Voice was not a sequel to the earlier film. James Whitmore stars as blue-collar family man Joe Smith, while future first lady Nancy Davis appears as his pregnant wife and Gary Gray rounds out the family unit as their son. The Smiths, their relatives, their neighbors and the citizens of the World are shaken out of their complacency when the voice of God begins delivering messages over the radio. For six consecutive evenings, the voice speaks over the airwaves (the movie audience never hears the voice, thanks to a series of clever evasionary tactics). At first frightened, the listeners gradually realize that God simply wants to convey the age-old message "Love thy Neighbor." With this realization comes several changes of attitude, some minor, others profound. The concept may sound portentous (and pretentious), but the actors handle their responsibilities with subtlety and conviction. So, too, does director William A. Wellman, a curious choice indeed for this sort of film.
broadcasting, family, ghost, God, life-changes, radio, voice [speaking]