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One Foot in Heaven (1941)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 614 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 5 critic

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

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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Title: One Foot in Heaven (1941)

One Foot in Heaven (1941) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Test your knowledge of One Foot in Heaven.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Spence
...
Hope Morris Spence
...
Mrs. Lydia Sandow
...
Preston Thurston
Elisabeth Fraser ...
Eileen Spence at Age 17
...
Elias Samson
Laura Hope Crews ...
Mrs. Preston Thurston
...
Clayton Potter
Moroni Olsen ...
Dr. John Romer
Frankie Thomas ...
Hartzell Spence at Age 18
Jerome Cowan ...
Dr. Horrigan
Ernest Cossart ...
Mr. John E. Morris
Nana Bryant ...
Mrs. Morris
Carlotta Jelm ...
Eileen Spence at Age 11
Peter Caldwell ...
Hartzell Spence at Age 10
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Storyline

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

Add Full Plot | 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:

One Foot in Heaven  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Raymond Massey was author Hartzell Spence's choice to play his father. 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.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner (1850)
Variations played often as part of the score
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User Reviews

 
A Life
27 April 2001 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

For those who are cynical about the religious life, here's a movie which ought to put some of that cynicism to rest. "One Foot in Heaven" is the true story of a Methodist preacher and his family, and it rings true, not just for the humanity Frederic March brings to his role as the preacher, but for the situations and characters that many of us, regardless of creed, will easily relate to. My dad used to say, A church is its people. I think One Foot in Heaven is a perfect illustration of this truth. Though this is a story about a preacher, we aren't preached at. There's a wonderful scene, with the preacher gently urging his agnostic doctor to start coming to church. He doesn't beat him over the head with a Bible but tries a more "humanist" approach.

Someone else has compared One Foot in Heaven with It's a Wonderful Life. Another film to compare is Going My Way. In fact, One Foot in Heaven and Going My Way were released just a year apart. There are story similarities, like the building of new churches (The Bishop's Wife is another example), but it's interesting to see how religion in the community is seen respectively through Protestant and Catholic lenses.

Then, there's the final scene. In some ways it's corny, but it still moves me. It hearkens to a time when religion wasn't sectarian but seamlessly interwoven in community life, unselfconsciously and unostentatiously. It was before the battle lines between religionists and secularists were drawn, when America had a "civil" religion. Alas, a time past.


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