7.5/10
9,687
72 user 51 critic

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Passed | | 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:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Samson Raphaelson (screenplay), Leslie Bush-Fekete (play) (as Lazlo Bus-Fekete)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Tierney ... Martha Strabel Van Cleve
Don Ameche ... Henry Van Cleve
Charles Coburn ... Hugo Van Cleve
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Strabel
Laird Cregar ... His Excellency
Spring Byington ... Bertha Van Cleve
Allyn Joslyn ... Albert Van Cleve
Eugene Pallette ... E.F. Strabel
Signe Hasso ... Mademoiselle
Louis Calhern ... Randolph Van Cleve
Helene Reynolds ... Peggy Nash
Aubrey Mather ... 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

Taglines:

A Holiday of hilarity...a miracle of mirth - Lubitsch laughter that will send your Spirits Sky High! (print ad- Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Lindsey Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - Feb. 16, 1944) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Randolph Van Cleve was born in 1844. See more »

Goofs

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

His Excellency: Sometimes it looks as if the whole world is coming to Hell.
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Connections

Referenced in Private Practice: Heaven Can Wait (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
Played on Henry's 26th birthday and during the birthday montage
See more »

User Reviews

 
Any other director would destroy this.
3 October 2008 | by bobsgrockSee 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heaven Can Wait See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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