7.1/10
802
35 user 6 critic

One Foot in Heaven (1941)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 1 November 1941 (USA)
Episodic look at the life of a minister and his family as they move from one parish to another.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (from the book by)
Reviews
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
...
Elias Samson
...
Mrs. Preston Thurston
...
Clayton Potter
...
Dr. John Romer
...
Hartzell Spence
...
Dr. Horrigan
...
John E. Morris
...
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William S. Hart was the guest of honor at the Hollywood premiere of this movie, since his movie The Silent Man (1917) figures promimently in the plot. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie, William Spence (Fredric 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. At that time, in Canada, the dominant church was the Church of England, not the Episcopal Church. That is predominantly a US 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

The Children's Prayer
(uncredited)
from "Hansel and Gretel"
Music by Engelbert Humperdinck
Libretto by Adelheid Wette
Sung by the Robert Mitchell Choir
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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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