Edna marries Texan Sam Gladney, operator of a wheat mill. Edna discovers by chance how the law treats children who are without parents and decides to do something about it. She opens a home... See full summary »
Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, has passed on his love of music to his four early adult daughters - Thea, Emma, Kay and Ann - who live with him and his sister, the ... See full summary »
Change comes slowly to a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century. People grow up, get married, live, and die. Milk and the newspaper get delivered every morning, and nobody locks... See full summary »
The Army nurses on Bataan need help badly, but when it arrives, it sure isn't what they expected. A motley crew, including a Southern belle, a waitress, and a stripper, show up. Many ... See full summary »
Cagney is Danny Kenny, a truck driver who enters "the fight game" and Sheridan plays his girlfriend, Peggy. Danny realizes success in the ring and uses his income to pay for his brother ... See full summary »
Lydia MacMillan, a wealthy old woman who has never married, is invited by an old beau, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, for a reunion with the men who have been in her life to reminisce about the ... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Sara and Kurt Muller and their three children are returning to her mother's home in Washington DC after 18 years in Europe. A Romanian Count living there discovers Kurt's attache case full ... See full summary »
In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »
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 »
[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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"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.
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