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One Foot in Heaven (1941)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  1 November 1941 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 721 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 6 critic

Episodic look at the life of a minister and his family as they move from one parish to another.

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(screen play), (from the book by)
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Title: One Foot in Heaven (1941)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Spence
...
Hope Morris Spence
...
Mrs. Lydia Sandow
...
Preston Thurston
Elisabeth Fraser ...
Eileen Spence
...
Elias Samson
Laura Hope Crews ...
Mrs. Preston Thurston
...
Clayton Potter
Moroni Olsen ...
Dr. John Romer
Frankie Thomas ...
Hartzell Spence
Jerome Cowan ...
Dr. Horrigan
Ernest Cossart ...
John E. Morris
Nana Bryant ...
Mrs. Morris
Carlotta Jelm ...
Eileen Spence
Peter Caldwell ...
Hartzell Spence
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Storyline

Episodic look at the life of a minister and his family as they move from one parish to another.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Folks, meet a grand FATHER! He's the affable, laffable head of the most delightful family that ever stepped out of America's screens...into America's hearts!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Con un pie en el cielo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the movie, William Spence (Fredic March) announces he has been "called" to the church and will become a pastor in the Methodist Church. His soon-to-be mother-in-law (Mrs. Norris/Nana Bryant) replies that she would have preferred that he'd joined the Episcopal Church. Nice idea, but they were in Canada where, especially at that time, it was the Church of England. The Episcopal Church is predominantly a U.S. institution born out of the American Revolution. See more »

Quotes

William Spence: [to his son, Hartzell] A pastor's family are in a special category. We are uh... Well, It's as if we walked a sort of tightrope. Balancing with one foot on earth and one foot already in heaven.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Happy Times and Jolly Moments (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet
(uncredited)
Music by Percy Wenrich
Played when Hope's hat is saved from the fire
See more »

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User Reviews

A World That Is Gone Forever.
19 January 2003 | by (Whiting, Indiana) – See all my reviews

"One Foot in Heaven" is quite simply one of the most beautiful films that I have encountered. A mainstream film of this sort would NEVER even be considered today; it seems even a bit tame for 1940.

And yet, the world was vastly different then, and the gentle,loving tone of this film reflects a sort of "old-time" morality that seems hopelessly lost today.

This was a major Warner Brothers release and, with Hal Wallis as producer, one expects and gets a very high quality film which lovingly recreates scenes from the life of an ordinary Methodist minister during the first 40 years of the 20th century. No earth-shaking events here--just the day-to-day trials and tribulations, the simple joys and heartaches, the small-town politics and frustrations that reveal humanity in all of its imperfections.

I am amazed that Frederic March is sometimes regarded as a dull actor; he was the epitome of subtle, honest realism, and he carries the narrative of this film in an amazing way, tender, gracious, humorous, a bit stodgy--but always willing to "bend" when necessary, resourceful, loving, and above all, very human.

The movie is filled with an array of Hollywood's best character actors, and the extremely detailed sets, costumes, etc really serve as a "window" to another time and place in our American past.

Max Steiner's extremely pious score is almost a bit much at times, but it nonetheless adds a reverent strength to the proceedings.

And then, there is the final scene, one of the most moving and unique in any film that I know. Once again, the ultimate destination of the plot is nothing earth-shaking---but the concept and staging of the last scene is really remarkable. A simple, old-time street on a gorgeous spring day, the townspeople who have come to know and love their minister all stopping their work and joining the procession through the street as they follow the sounds of the carillon from the new church. Martha Scott, Frankie Thomas, Gene Lockhart, Beulah Bondi, Harry Davenport, Laura Hope Crews--many of whom have locked horns with Mr. March during the course of the film, now join together in the dappled sunlit street, finally arriving at the church where they all lift their voices together in the moving hymn "The Church's One Foundation"... as we see Mr. March himself seated at the carillon, struggling to continue playing it through the tears streaming down his face....

I think Turner Classics has a print of this film (I saw and taped it off of Chicago's PBS station some years ago). Try to see it; like the world it represents, this beautiful film may also disappear forever.


37 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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