7.0/10
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37 user 7 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Con un pie en el cielo 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Tucson Friday 27 July 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9), in Cincinnati Monday 30 July 1956 on WKRC (Channel 12), in both Los Angeles and Bellingham WA Tuesday 11 September 1956 on KNXT (Channel 2) and on KVOS (Channel 12), and in Albuquerque Sunday 27 September 1957 on KOAT (Channel 7); it first aired in Phoenix Sunday 18 November 1956 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Portland OR Saturday 22 December 1956 on KOIN (Channel 6), and in Boston Tuesday 25 December 1956 on WBZ (Channel 4). 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

Referenced in A Coy Decoy (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played when the doughboys ship out
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sometimes Hollywood gets it....
3 July 2005 | by samthemacmanSee all my reviews

Being a preacher's kid is never easy. I was one, and so was my wife. This movie portrays in dramatic ways the humanity and humour of being a preacher's family living essentially on hand outs and never quite having the perfect home for the kids. I can relate to Hartzel, the eldest son. Like him I wished my Dad could have been anything else but a preacher. Like Hartzel I found out in many situations just how much Dad would go through for us.

This movie is nostalgic in many ways. It hearkens back to a time when values like vision, and sacrifice were highly esteemed, and were going the extra mile was not an option but an expected way of life. Sometimes, when I look back, I rewind this video and watch it.

It is a human story, wrapped up in the faith of a man and his family, who laid hold of a dream to make God real in every facet of life, and to show people that God cares about all of us. It is a story of trial and adversity and perseverance and triumph. In the end it is not the glory and accolades of man that matter, but of having lived a life well lived and full to brim.

The cast of this film is perfect and very believable. Some of the characters I have known personally in different churches my father pastored. It is as if they are in every congregation. The issues of never owning a home or being able to decorate as you please, or not having enough groceries, and even the leaky roof over our heads, all resonate. I have lived through them myself. These things really happened to the circuit preachers and those who went and started new churches. These things still happen.

It is a good script, and is not in conflict with the book. The book is well worth the read as well. I have both the movie and the book. It sits amongst my most prized possessions.

You will find yourself laughing, you will shake your head in disbelief, you will get ticked off, but in the end you will find yourself appreciating and loving this very human family that attempts to keep loving and keep living out what they believe, to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself.

This movie will reveal just how much and how full a life can be, and how meaningful it is to serve others. Gayle Sayers the Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears said, "God first, others second, myself third." This is exactly what this movie is about. Getting the priorities right and living life to the full.


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