7.6/10
7,604
61 user 38 critic

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 13 August 1943 (USA)
An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (play) (as Lazlo Bus-Fekete)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Peggy Nash
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James
Tod Andrews ...
Jack Van Cleve (as Michael Ames)
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Storyline

Henry Van Cleve presents himself at the gates of Hell only to find he is closely vetted on his qualifications for entry. Surprised there is any question on his suitability, he recounts his lively life and the women he has known from his mother onwards, but mainly concentrating on his happy but sometimes difficult twenty-five years of marriage to Martha. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hell | money | hades | birthday | marriage | See All (223) »

Taglines:

He believed in Love . . . Honor . . . and Obey - That Impulse!


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 August 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El diablo dijo no  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 1983 interview, "A Conversation with Don Ameche", Don Ameche said this movie was his favorite of all the films he worked on. See more »

Goofs

When Henry first notices Martha in the department store at the telephones, a shadow of the camera rig falls across Martha as the scene and camera slides from right to left across the partition between the telephones. See more »

Quotes

Henry Van Cleve: [voiceover] Here was a girl lying to her mother. Naturally that girl interested me at once.
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Connections

Referenced in The Icicle Thief (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(uncredited)
Music by Mildred J. Hill
Played on Henry's 26th birthday and during the birthday montage
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User Reviews

 
Any other director would destroy this.
3 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ernst Lubitsch, the great European director who immigrated to America and changed movies for the better shows his true light touch in this very original yet very charming story about one man's life and the changes and problems he faces. Don Ameche is perfect as the lead character, Henry Van Cleeves, a man spoiled rotten as a child but grows up and learns many things, mostly from his beautiful wife Martha, played by Gene Tiereny. However, the best role goes to Charles Coburn who plays the rough, frank, outspoken yet lovable grandfather who sympathizes with Henry and strives to make his life better.

The kind of material here could have been used to make an epic story on the level of films like Gone With the Wind or Giant. Nevertheless, we see Henry's life in full motion, always moving ahead even when he is helpless to stop it. And Lubitsch's touch has never been more prominent, taking some scenes any other director would have made disturbing or unsettling and giving them a witty and comical feeling. It's a shame Lubitsch died so early or else we could have gotten more of these classic and moving stories.


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