7.4/10
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75 user 53 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

In his conversations with Billy Wilder, Cameron Crowe asked Wilder about Ernst Lubitsch's touch. Wilder replied like this - "It was the elegant use of the Superjoke. You had a joke, and you felt satisfied, and then there was one more big joke on top of it. The joke you didn't expect." In this film, the audience sees Charles Coburn (Grandfather) giving a big pat on young Albert's back. After that, Young Albert goes to downstairs and starts wearing his hand gloves. Grandfather (who is upstairs) takes the glass of water and pours the water on Young Albert's head. 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 Simpsons: Flanders' Ladder (2018) 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
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User Reviews

 
Exquisite Lubitsch's work
11 January 2001 | by pzanardoSee all my reviews

"Heaven Can Wait" lies among Ernst Lubitsch's best movies, and that's largely enough to ensure that it is a masterpiece.

It is the exquisite story of the women-devoted life of a never-repenting Casanova, from childhood through old age, death, and even after-death. We find Lubitsch's trade-mark elegant sense of humor, perfect timing, sharp intelligence. There is also a rather deep, though cheerful, representation of common, typical sides (faults, to say better) of a male character: shallow sentiments, selfish approach to a woman's true love, childish refuse to accept years passing.

The stars Don Ameche, Gene Tierney, Charles Coburn make a superb work. However, a main credit of the film is the cast of incredibly nice actors (willingly?) gathered by the director. The Devil himself (Laird Cregar) is likeable, with his perfect manners and friendly approach! We are unable to dislike even those shrewish old rich women, who pop out along the movie. It's impossible to give the deserved credit to all those wonderfully talented supporting actors. Let me mention the delightful butler Jasper (Clarence Muse), with his role of ambassador between Mr. and Mrs. Strabel.

To be personal, I'm very fond of "Heaven Can Wait", since it was my first encounter with Gene Tierney. When she appeared on the screen I couldn't believe my eyes: "Who, who, who is this girl? I'm dreaming or what? Does this girl actually exist?" Honestly, I felt dizzy for the remainder of the movie.

Only after repeated views of "Heaven Can Wait" I was able to distract my eyes from Gene, and fully appreciate the great merits of this magnificent, highly-recommended Lubitsch's masterpiece.


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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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