Episode 39: Second Time Lucky (1984)

Do you enjoy puerile comedy, gratuitous nudity, and forced sentimentality? Oh boy do we have a film for you! When the Devil makes a bet with God that humanity would once again fall from grace if given a second chance, two college students find themselves propelled through history in the ultimate contest of Good vs. Evil. Designed to ride a wave of raunchy (and profitable) comedies produced in North America in the early ’80s, Second Time Lucky imports an experienced British director and young American lead actors, and attempts to recreate the Garden of Eden near Thames.

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Director: Michael Anderson
Producer: Antony Ginnane
Screenplay: Ross Dimsey, Howard Grigsby, David Sigmund
Director of photography: John McLean
Editor: Tony Paterson

Diane Franklin
Adam…Roger Wilson
Gabriel…Jon Gadsby
God…Robert Morley
The Devil…Robert Helpmann


  • Second Time Lucky isn’t a particularly difficult film to get your hands on, having received DVD releases in America and Europe. At the time of writing, the UK DVD is fairly cheap and available from stores like Amazon. The entire film is also up on Youtube. We won’t link to it directly, but a quick search should be all you need to find it.
  • The brief shots of Robert Helpmann in this reissue trailer for The Tales of Hoffmann give some impression of his striking screen presence. Looking back, the similarities between his appearances in Hoffmann and Second Time Lucky are far more pronounced than the brief comparison in the podcast would indicate.
  • Director Michael Anderson really did have a strange career, encompassing both beloved war movie The Dam Busters and the much-maligned Jaws rip-off Orca: The Killer Whale.
  • The writing credits for Second Time Lucky are a bit confusing. The print we viewed includes a “Story by David Sigmund and Ross Dimsey” credit during the opening scene, along with “Additional Screenplay Material by Ron Challoner and Allan Byrns” at the very end of the closing credits. However, multiple other sources assign Allan Byrns a “Story by” credit, and at least one other doesn’t give David Sigmund a “Screenplay by” credit.

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