6.8/10
1,101
42 user 9 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:

Irving Rapper

Writers:

Casey Robinson (screen play), Hartzell Spence (from the book by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fredric March ... William Spence
Martha Scott ... Hope Morris Spence
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Lydia Sandow
Gene Lockhart ... Preston Thurston
Elisabeth Fraser ... Eileen Spence
Harry Davenport ... Elias Samson
Laura Hope Crews ... Mrs. Preston Thurston
Grant Mitchell ... Clayton Potter
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. John Romer
Frankie Thomas ... Hartzell Spence
Jerome Cowan ... Dr. Horrigan
Ernest Cossart ... John E. Morris
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Morris
Carlotta Jelm Carlotta Jelm ... Eileen Spence
Peter Caldwell Peter Caldwell ... Hartzell Spence
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Storyline

In the early twentieth century, William Spence and Hope Morris Spence are a Methodist minister and his wife. From Central Canada, William forwent his medical school education in Toronto to become a minister, much to the chagrin of Hope's well off parents of Stratford, Ontario. Regardless of the unknowns of their first posting in rural Iowa, the only posting available, Hope married William in 1904. The adjustment to their new life was initially more difficult for Hope, especially their new poor economic standing and having their life not wholly being their own but rather that of their congregation, as William had the focus of this decision on which to drive his purpose. Their life over the next twenty years or so is presented, which eventually includes three children and they being constantly on the move as William gets assigned from one parish to another across the United States. That life is largely characterized by William having a strong mindset, but who will admittedly change his ... Written by Huggo

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has a 100% rating based on 8 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in A Coy Decoy (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet
(uncredited)
Music by Percy Wenrich
Played when Hope's hat is saved from the fire
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User Reviews

How little things have changed in 58 years...
28 April 1999 | by BrianTooSee all my reviews

Of course, it's impossible to tell how much of this story is dramatized and how much is real. And the gothic ideals of what a "church" should be are now very period--as they should be. But what makes this film work is the human nature presented through the characters. I say this because, as a (United) Methodist pastor, I know and have known the very types of characters represented in this film. And as one who sometimes wonders whether I'm fulfilling the mandate of my calling, this film was a welcome and refreshing reminder of maintaining my focus. It is probably a good insight for church members who want to get a glimpse of what life is truly like for a clergy person, then as now (though my parsonage is countless times better than what poor Dr. Spence had to live with!). A recommended dose of reality for the clergy-weary and the clergy-wary alike!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Foot in Heaven See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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