IMDb > Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Heaven Can Wait
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Heaven Can Wait (1943) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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7.5/10   6,024 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Contact:
View company contact information for Heaven Can Wait on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 August 1943 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
He believed in Love . . . Honor . . . and Obey - That Impulse!
Plot:
An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more »
NewsDesk:
(7 articles)
User Reviews:
I can safely say that my whole life was one continuous misdemeanor…Heaven Can Wait See more (55 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Gene Tierney ... Martha

Don Ameche ... Henry Van Cleve

Charles Coburn ... Hugo Van Cleve
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Strable
Laird Cregar ... His Excellency

Spring Byington ... Bertha Van Cleve
Allyn Joslyn ... Albert Van Cleve

Eugene Pallette ... E.F. Strable

Signe Hasso ... Mademoiselle

Louis Calhern ... Randolph Van Cleve
Helene Reynolds ... Peggy Nash
Aubrey Mather ... James
Tod Andrews ... Jack Van Cleve (as Michael Ames)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Florence Bates ... Mrs. Edna Craig (uncredited)
Scotty Beckett ... Henry Van Cleve, Age 9 (uncredited)
Clara Blandick ... Grandmother Van Cleve (uncredited)
Leonard Carey ... Flogdell, Van Cleve's First Butler (uncredited)

Dane Clark ... Elevator Operator (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey ... Miss Ralston, Jack's Secretary (uncredited)
James Flavin ... Policeman (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Gary Gray ... Boy in Park (uncredited)
Alfred Hall ... Albert's Father (uncredited)
Grayce Hampton ... Albert's Mother (uncredited)
Dickie Jones ... Albert Van Cleve - Age 15 (uncredited)
Marlene Mains ... Mary, Age 9 (uncredited)
Trudy Marshall ... Jane Van Cleve, Jack's Wife (uncredited)

Edwin Maxwell ... Doctor (uncredited)
Michael McLean ... Henry Van Cleve, as Baby (uncredited)
Doris Merrick ... Nellie Brown - Registered Nurse (uncredited)

Dickie Moore ... Henry Van Cleve - Age 15 (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Clarence Muse ... Jasper - Strable's Butler (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Day Nurse (uncredited)
Nino Pipitone Jr. ... Jack Van Cleve, as Child (uncredited)
Maureen Roden-Ryan ... Bediliah, Nurse in Park (uncredited)
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Mrs. Cooper-Cooper (uncredited)
Gerald Oliver Smith ... Smith, Van Cleve's Second Butler (uncredited)

Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Samson Raphaelson (screenplay)

Leslie Bush-Fekete (play "Birthday") (as Lazlo Bus-Fekete)

Produced by
Ernst Lubitsch .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Alfred Newman 
Cyril J. Mockridge (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Edward Cronjager (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Dorothy Spencer 
 
Art Direction by
James Basevi 
Leland Fuller 
 
Set Decoration by
Thomas Little 
 
Costume Design by
René Hubert  (as Rene Hubert)
 
Makeup Department
Guy Pearce .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Henry Weinberger .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Walter M. Scott .... associate set decorator
 
Sound Department
Eugene Grossman .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
 
Visual Effects by
Fred Sersen .... special photographic effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Lyman Hallowell .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Hugo Friedhofer .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Natalie Kalmus .... Technicolor director
Georges Jomier .... diction instructor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
112 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Finland:S | France:U | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (re-rating) (2005) | USA:Unrated | USA:Approved (certificate #9073) | West Germany:12 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 11, 1943 with Don Ameche reprising his film role.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the breakfast scene just before Martha (Tierney) comes home to her parents Mr. Strable is served a large second helping of pancakes. Moments later when the camera gives him a medium shot, the stack is gone and the butler refills his plate.See more »
Quotes:
Albert Van Cleve:I assume you're referring to my future father-in-law, who happens to be one of the great meat packers of our time.
Bertha Van Cleve:Yes, Father Cleve, don't you realize that every piece of beef we eat comes from one of Mr. Strable's many, many plants.
Hugo Van Cleve:Does that include the steak I fought ten rounds with last night?
Albert Van Cleve:Grandfather, you don't seem to have any idea of the importance of Mr. Strable. He created the most famous character in American advertising - Mable the Cow.
Randolph Van Cleve:You've seen her, Father, on billboards.
Bertha Van Cleve:That big happy cow smiling at you over the fence and saying in big letters, um... uh... How does it go, uh...?
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Listen to the MockingbirdSee more »

FAQ

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
I can safely say that my whole life was one continuous misdemeanor…Heaven Can Wait, 6 September 2006
Author: jaredmobarak from buffalo, ny, usa

Possibly my first true screwball comedy, definitely my first Ernst Lubitsch film, Heaven Can Wait lived up to the reputation of being a well made, laughter filled time. Sure it is a bit dated at times, but overall I believe the message and events occurring transcend age, probably due in small part to the fact that the film spans eighty or so years. Henry Van Cleve has passed away and knowing that he would probably have too much trouble getting into heaven, he decides to go to the place many have told him to go during life…hell.

I really enjoyed the rapport between Don Ameche (Van Cleve) and Laird Cregar (His Excellency/Satan). Cregar has a lot of charisma and is a nice change of pace from most guardians of the underworld. He has a strict code of rules, not just anyone can receive eternal damnation; one has to have earned it in spades. The fact that Ameche is trying to get in quickly, so as not to have to worry, is great, especially since he has to prove why. Of course as many stories of this ilk show, it's the women of his life that he must speak of to explain why he has sinned. It's a shame that there weren't any intercuts showing the two of them in Hell sitting and discussing Henry's life. The bookends to the film are nice, but it almost seems a shame to have seen Cregar so little.

Based on a play, Heaven Can Wait stands up well as a film. It is very much a dialogue driven movie, yet there are some great visual moments included as well. The script is great, sprinkled with dry sarcasm along with some laugh-out-loud moments and some surreal absurdities. Don Ameche is very effective as the Casanova who can't help himself even when he has the woman of his dreams. That woman, played by Gene Tierney, shows great comic timing to play off of the manipulative Ameche. She is a beautiful actress and can act very well. Tierney needs to play every emotion possible to show the ebbs and flows of their relationship while still retaining the love she has for her husband through all the tough times. Sure the whirlwind chance meeting which leads to their eloping is hilarious, and the rescue from Kansas plays out with almost a slapstick feel—especially between Tierney's character's parents and their funny papers—however, the real shining moment is their final dance together. Their love is displayed for all to see as they twirl in solitude while the rest of the party is seen through the opening between rooms. The moment is both beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

I must say I was a big fan of the film and will seek out more Lubitsch in the future. Trouble in Paradise, available on Criterion DVD along with this film, and probably his most recognized work, Ninotchka with Greta Garbo, tops the list to check out. A great script, talented ensemble cast (look for comic genius from Charles Coburn and his baseball bat in heaven) as discussed, and superb make-up work (Don Ameche as eighty actually looks like he did at eighty, see Cocoon and a more cynical take on his character here in Trading Places) are molded deftly together to create a nostalgic look on life and those that one touches during his time on earth.

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